3 Reasons Pandemic Preparedness Can’t Wait

As a senior security leader working during the recent pandemic, you know how difficult responding to the crisis was. And you aren’t alone in your evaluation. 

When surveyed, 61% of American executives responded that they had been underprepared for the pandemic. They said they reacted to the crisis after the fact by building pandemic teams to interpret disease data and to direct corporate action. Their data sources were not transparent and senior security leaders were suddenly charged with being infectious disease specialists. Or they had to locate reliable data and expert analysis in a hurry.

Now that the crisis has subsided, you might ask, “Now what should I do?”

It’s simple. You can’t wait for the next crisis to plan your next response. Action now can give you a decided advantage next time. And, unfortunately, experts predict that there will be a next time, and it may be soon.

3 Reasons You Can’t Wait For The Next Pandemic To Prepare

Lack of Preparation Now Can Handicap You Later

Ed Yong has been writing for many years about the “panic-neglect cycle” to explain two contradictory actions that occur in a crisis. He describes how people and companies tend to confront a crisis with everything they have – only to fail to plan for the next emergency. And in a recent article for The Atlantic, Yong warned that the U.S. is currently “zooming” through this cycle.

Without a looming threat, it’s so easy to ignore the warnings. When the next crisis emerges, however, some of your rivals will have prepared, giving them a tremendous competitive advantage. Companies that don’t prepare will have to build response teams from scratch – again.

Here are three reasons you can’t wait to prepare for biorisks:

1. No One is Coming to Save You

As a senior security leader, it’s your responsibility to protect enterprise assets. We learned to our dismay during the pandemic that no one is coming to rescue companies or individuals. We’re on our own.

Your job includes protecting physical structures, assets and network capabilities, but it also means you are responsible for keeping your employees safe. They are the key to business continuity. Their well being is the number-one priority, and it is essential to the economic security of employees and the company. 

If you fail to plan, however, you are exposing the company and its employees to a variety of hazards. Planning now will help protect your entire enterprise.

2. The Next Crisis Could Be Significantly Worse

In the summer of 2021, the Center for Global Development hosted an event to address global preparedness for future pandemics. Experts at this event warned that spillover events – instances of infectious diseases that spread from animals to humans – are increasingly frequent, and there is always the potential for deliberate release of harmful viruses or bacteria.

Unfortunately, we can expect the chances of pandemics to continue rising. Experts at this event predicted that within 25 years, the odds of another global pandemic are between 47%  and 57%. COVID has turned out to have a low mortality rate, under 1% of those infected died from the disease. The next pandemic could easily kill a greater percentage of those infected, as has happened in the past with the 1918 flu and other outbreaks.

Pandemics, however, aren’t our only concern. We can expect other biorisks to increase and accelerate because they are driven by climate change. Biorisks are affected by environmental factors like temperature, air quality, storms, fire and floods. A report from the McKinsey Global Institute warned,  “We find that India could become one of the first places in the world to experience heat waves that cross the survivability limit for a healthy human being sitting in the shade.”

India may be the first place to cross the survivability limit, but it won’t be the last.

3. Early Action Can Make a Real Difference to Enterprise Security

After the 2003 outbreak of SARS in Singapore, a study of emergency care concluded: that “… defense against infectious disease threats [must become] a daily operational necessity rather than an unfamiliar contingency plan activated only during recognized events.”

That’s for an outbreak that killed fewer than 100 people. You can imagine what their recommendations would be for emergency rooms and global companies in a larger outbreak. You can’t rely on “unfamiliar contingency plans” that you only activate during recognized events. Advance preparations coupled with early warnings will allow you to provide the best response possible. Planning for biorisks is becoming as important to companies as planning cybersecurity responses.

Prepare for the Next Emerging Biorisk with PHC Global

Biorisks are the new reality. Preparing now will allow you to make educated, low-regret decisions in time to provide the maximum amount of flexibility for your organization – if you can see those biorisks coming. And you can help develop a company culture that anticipates future crises.

PHC Global can help you prepare with a software-as-a-service platform powered by artificial intelligence. PHC Global synthesizes large quantities of data to identify and surface the intelligence that matters most to you. You can access the intelligence using Pharos, our stand-alone platform or with an API that connects our data to your system.

In addition, PHC Global experts contextualize risks and help determine when a threat requires immediate action. Their expertise is available to you through alerts or through direct consultation.

Threats to your company are increasing, and managing biorisks is a relatively new function for security personnel but is as important as cybersecurity. PHC Global can provide the intelligence you need to prepare for emerging biorisks and take appropriate action. If you’d like to learn more about biorisks and how PHC Global can help your company, view this short introductory video.

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Dave Komendat retired as the Vice President and Chief Security Officer for The Boeing Company, a role he held for 14 years of his 36 years within the security profession. Komendat was responsible for the company’s global security and fire protection policy and procedures, site security, executive protection, supply chain and aviation security, structural and aircraft fire protection, government and proprietary information security, classified cyber security, strategic intelligence, international security, business continuity and disaster preparedness, Global Security Operations Center, and security background investigations.


Komendat was also the lead Boeing interface for both national and international security policy engagement with numerous government and industry advisory groups. He represented Boeing as past co-chairman and current board member on the Domestic Security Alliance Council, past President of The International Security Management Association and served as a member of the Threats and Information Committee for the Overseas Security Advisory Council.  


Komendat is the founder and President of DSKomendat Risk Management Services, he also serves on several company advisory boards and holds board leadership roles with several non-profit organizations whose missions are to protect people globally, including Hostage U.S. and The International Security Foundation. Dave is also a Strategic Engagement Advisor for the Office of Private Sector within the FBI. In 2018, Dave was awarded the Director’s Award for Exceptional Public Service by FBI Director Christopher Wray.


Komendat graduated from California State University at Long Beach and also attended and completed the executive development program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Dr. Carter Mecher serves as the Medical Advisor for the Public Health Company. 


Prior to joining PHC, Carter served as a Senior Medical Advisor for the Office of Public Health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In this position, Dr. Mecher played a key role in the COVID-19 outbreak response. 


From 2005 to 2011, he served as the Director of Medical Preparedness Policy at the White House Homeland Security Council and National Security Staff. He was a principal author of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan. In this capacity, he helped set policy and devise strategies to mitigate the consequences of a pandemic and promote pandemic preparedness. 


Before serving at the White House, Dr. Mecher was the Chief Medical Officer for the Southeast VA Network in Atlanta from 1996 to 2005. In this role he oversaw the healthcare delivery for veterans in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. 


Dr. Mecher is a co-author of Lessons from the COVID War, an in-depth examination of the U.S. response to the pandemic. In addition, he is featured in Michael Lewis’ book The Premonition.


Dr. Mecher received his medical degree from Chicago Medical School and completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in critical care medicine at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center.

Dr. Joe DeRisi is a Scientific Advisor to PHC. He is one of the early pioneers of DNA microarray technology and whole genome expression profiling; he is nationally recognized in the field of genomic epidemiology for designing a first-of-its-kind initiative for COVID-19. Joe currently serves as Co-President of Chan Zuckerberg BioHub and is a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at University of California, San Francisco. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Stanford University.

Dr. Sumiko Mekaru is the Vice President of Research and Innovation at The Public Health Company. Dr. Mekaru is an epidemiologist operating at the intersection of traditional epidemiology and technology and leading cross-disciplinary teams to solve challenges in public health. Prior to joining PHC, Dr. Mekaru was a Life Sciences Strategy, Policy, and Operations Expert at Booz Allen Hamilton where she recently led the development of COVID-19 forecasting models for disease transmission, resource utilization, and critical events for the Department of Defense. Dr. Mekaru has also led health technology teams at Epidemico and Boston Children’s Hospital, creating innovative health surveillance tools. She has published extensively on infectious disease outbreak monitoring, modeling, and surveillance. Dr. Mekaru holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University and a PhD in epidemiology from Boston University.

Justin McIntosh is an experienced professional with 10+ years in management and 8+ years in software engineering. Currently, he is the Vice President of Operations at The Public Health Company. His journey began in college when he co-founded Safe Site, a utility services company, which expanded to operations in three states with over 300 employees. After a successful exit, he founded Docusite, a construction risk management application, diving into software engineering. Despite challenges with Docusite, Justin’s passion for technology led him to various roles before landing at The Public Health Company.


In his current role, Justin is tackling the challenging task of improving operations in a remote environment. He is dedicated to his role and is always open to sharing experiences and insights. He is committed to nurturing effective teams, improving operations, and shaping innovative solutions. His focus is on creating a positive, growth-oriented environment and mentoring emerging leaders, reflecting his commitment to collective success.

Lori Sutton is the Vice President of Marketing at The Public Health Company. She is a strategic marketing visionary and global brand leader with 20+ years of progressive experience in B2B/B2C SaaS software marketing in large enterprise and SMB markets. She has expertise in leading strategy development, overhauling brands, launching products and driving growth in target verticals. Prior to joining PHC, Lori was the Vice President of Marketing and Growth at SMS-Magic, where she led the global GTM strategy, orchestrated a brand overhaul, developed new messaging and positioning and launched revenue generating campaigns. Lori held marketing and management roles at Model N, Bullet Point Network, Saba and other SaaS software companies where she focused on marketing strategy, business objectives and analytics to drive revenue.

Lori holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, an Executive Education in Corporate Strategy at Harvard Business School and continues coursework at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Craig Katsuyama is the Vice President of Administrative Services at PHC. He brings extensive experience building companies from the ground up and was instrumental to the launch of IEX Group in 2012, which challenged the status quo of financial markets and created an entirely new stock exchange that works for all investors. Craig spent the last eight years at IEX where he built and oversaw the accounting and finance teams before transitioning to help establish IEX’s Event Stream business, a data messaging platform that applies IEX’s core technology to areas outside of finance. Craig graduated from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Economics.

Dr. David Fisk is the Chief Medical Officer at The Public Health Company. Prior to joining PHC, Dr. Fisk served as an Infectious Disease Specialist at Sansum Clinic.  He serves as the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Cottage Health, leading the infection control team at Cottage, working with physicians and hospital leaders on the COVID Incident Command Center to ensure the highest level of preparation and care for patients. In early March 2020, before the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Santa Barbara County, Dr. Fisk advised that the virus was already spreading locally before community members were observing symptoms.


Dr. Fisk completed his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and his Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Diseases fellowship at University of Michigan Medical Center. He is board certified in Infectious Diseases and a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Chris Latko is the Chief Technology Officer at PHC. He joined as a Principal Software Architect where he played a key role in building out the platform. He has over 25 years experience in the technology sector holding positions at companies he started, Fortune 500 companies, and a multitude of startups both in the United States and Japan. He has spent the last decade designing, refining, and reimplementing architectures for hypergrowth startups such as Boxfish, Paxata (acquired by DataRobot), Banjo, and Globality. Chris earned two patents for designing a streaming data ingestion/data normalization platform.

Kendall Burman serves as PHC’s General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining PHC, Burman held leadership roles at Alloy, a data and technology start-up for the progressive political market. Burman previously served as the Deputy General Counsel for Strategic Initiatives at the Department of Commerce and as Associate White House Counsel and Special Assistant to the President in the Obama Administration. She was also a counsel in the cybersecurity and data privacy practice at Mayer Brown and served as Chief Staff Counsel for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.


Burman is a graduate of Bowdoin College and received her J.D. from the University of Chicago where she was an editor of the law review. She was also was a fellow at both the New America Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Dr. Charity Dean is the CEO, Founder and Chairman of The Public Health Company, a venture-backed Silicon Valley technology startup. 


In August 2020 Dr. Dean founded PHC, envisioning a commercial-grade global biosecurity platform to empower enterprises to manage biorisk at scale. Dr. Dean’s obsession with building a new solution was born out of 24 years in public health and the recognition that Silicon Valley innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning could birth this entirely new capability. Two years later PHC PharosTM is a game-changer for numerous businesses providing real-time, dynamic risk management across their global footprint and assets. 


Dr. Dean founded PHC having served as the Assistant Director for the California Department of Public Health where she was part of the executive team under Governor Newsom running the COVID-19 pandemic response. She co-founded and co-chaired California’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force and under her leadership, California went from ranking last in the nation for testing to first in three months. In 2019, Dr. Dean served as Acting State Public Health Officer overseeing 4,300 staff with an annual operating budget of $3.5 billion. 


Before her move to statewide office, she served as the Public Health Officer for Santa Barbara County and oversaw a myriad of disease outbreaks and biological threats; she also served as attending physician for TB, HIV, and homeless medicine at the Santa Barbara Health Care Centers. 


Dr. Dean was awarded Physician of the Year in 2018 by the Central Coast Medical Association and honored as one of the Women of the Year by the California State Legislature.


Dr. Dean is a co-author of Lessons from the COVID War. Her work during the pandemic is the focus of Michael Lewis’ book The Premonition. Dr. Dean has shared her insights about the danger of biological threats and the changes we must make before the next crisis in a number of interviews and podcasts.


Dr. Dean holds a Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Oregon State University.

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