PwC and F24: Cooperation for Integrated Crisis Management Solutions

Advanced Technologies are Key for Effective Resilience Management

  • Interview
  • 6 minute read
  • 23 Mar 2024

An interview with Dr Alexander Köppen, Jens Greiner, Dr Stefanie Hauer and Dr Markus Epner. The auditing and consulting firm PwC Germany and the leading European SaaS solution provider for resilience, F24, are joining forces in the fields of crisis management and business continuity management (BCM). With holistic solutions, they help companies increase their resilience and remain operational in crisis situations. We discussed the cooperation's background with the responsible parties.

About the interview participantsDr Alexander Köppen is a Partner at PwC Germany, responsible for cyber security strategy & business continuity. Jens Greiner is an expert in crisis management and Director in Forensic Services at PwC Germany. Dr Stefanie Hauer is Senior Vice President Marketing & Communications at F24 AG. Markus Epner, Head of Academy at F24 AG, has extensive experience in security and crisis management.

Today, companies are faced with various crises and risks – whether due to geopolitical conflicts or increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks. To what extent must we rethink the concept of resilience?

Markus Epner: Building resilience and ensuring business continuity has always been important but has gained even more relevance in the current risk landscape. Most companies have already implemented numerous measures and established risk, security, crisis, and continuity management systems as individual areas. However, only a limited number of organisations have merged the widely scattered resilience management systems and disciplines together.

Dr Alexander Köppen: Absolutely right. In our consulting practice, we frequently encounter such professional islands and silos.

At PwC, we support organisations in building the right skills, management structures, and exercises in these areas – and bringing the maturity level to an appropriate standard. The conception of resilience across professional disciplines is becoming increasingly important.

What problems arise from such professional silos for resilience management?

Jens Greiner: There can be enormous friction losses. Risk analyses and preventive measures may be carried out redundantly. Plans and resources are not sufficiently coordinated in emergency or crisis situations, and response to an incident may be ineffective. Knowledge and experience are not systematically shared. Additionally, there's a chance that lessons from previous crises go unlearned, and avoidable problems may resurface shortly after.

Epner: This is why the development of an integrated resilience and crisis response capability is so important. The good news is that there are now advanced, interdisciplinary technologies that can help. However, they are still not used often enough. And where they are used, there is often a lack of organisational structure and framework. Efficient resilience management requires a smart organisational setup and the use of advanced technology.

Is this the central advantage that the cooperation between PwC and F24 brings to customers?

Dr Stefanie Hauer: Our experience shows that the structures and requirements of companies regarding resilience are very individual.

Together with PwC, we can address these individual needs and find tailored solutions. Our goal is to link organisational best practices with effective tool usage – and therefore advancing the areas of risk, business continuity, and crisis management in an integrated manner.

Greiner: And this is also how we’re proactively adapting to the changing threats in today's environment. Companies should establish a 360-degree risk and resilience radar technologically as well as on an organizational level. Traditional approaches and individual technologies in certain resilience disciplines are increasingly reaching their limits. Intelligent technologies like those developed by F24 help to steer risks and make use of data and key indicators for resilience comprehensively. This helps companies foresee risks and disruptions more effectively, allowing them to prepare more precisely and react decisively during emergencies.

Köppen: We live in a time of poly- and perma-crisis. “Resilience-by-Design” is not only vital but also provides strategic advantages. And advanced technologies are essential for effective and comprehensive resilience management. They enable efficient work and significantly help in making informed decisions.

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How can modern software tools specifically support in practice?

Hauer: Our solutions provide support throughout the entire resilience lifecycle – from systematic governance, risk, and compliance management including business continuity measures to training and exercises, and to alerting and comprehensive crisis management. Let's take the example of responding to a cyber-attack: Suppose central systems were hacked, and all internal communication systems are no longer available. Now, a separate and secure platform helps to remain operational in such exceptional circumstances. With our solution, an incident can be activated. Relevant plans and checklists are available and promptly assigned to the respective functions and phases. With a few clicks, the members of the crisis team can be alerted. Even without the usual infrastructure, secure virtual rooms are available to exchange, make decisions and manage the situation. And apart from that, all activities are automatically logged in an audit-proof manner internal or external review by authorities and insurers.

Köppen: In case of emergency, it is invaluable to have everything in one place. 

With the joint offering, we provide coordinated and proven crisis management mechanisms from a single source. This includes providing a secure and cross-departmental technical infrastructure, as well as assistance in developing contents, plans, and structures, and in evaluating and learning from past crises and incidents.

What should Chief Security Officers and other Crisis Managers (especially those responsible for risk, security, crisis management, or business continuity management) particularly pay attention to when building resilience? 

Epner: Utilising technical solutions during crisis situations brings considerable benefits, but it also requires practice. Training and continuous education are crucial and provide two key advantages: Firstly, they incentivise designated personnel to become skilled “tool champions”. Secondly, they ensure that personnel are prepared for crises, enabling them to effectively utilise the tools during emergencies.

Greiner: The past years have shown that hybrid – i.e., simultaneously physical and digital – threat scenarios and corresponding coping mechanisms are becoming more important. This applies to all core disciplines around resilience, crisis management, and business continuity management. The human factor remains paramount. However, technological and data-driven approaches are increasingly gaining importance. Those responsible should definitely leverage this potential for emergency and crisis management preparation.

The interview participants

Dr. Alexander Köppen ist Partner im Bereich Risk & Regulatory bei PwC Deutschland

Dr Alexander Köppen

Dr Alexander Köppen is a Partner in Risk & Regulatory at PwC Germany, leading the Cyber Strategy and Business Continuity Management areas. As the Managing Director of the BSI-certified IT security service provider PwC Cyber Security Services GmbH, he brings his extensive knowledge and over 20 years of experience in strategy consulting, critical infrastructures (KRITIS), and the public sector – with a focus on cybersecurity & data protection.

Jens Greiner ist Director im Bereich Forensic Services bei PwC Deutschland.

Jens Greiner

is a Director in Forensic Services at PwC Germany. With over 25 years of professional experience, he specializes in security, crisis, and continuity management. Before joining PwC, Jens Greiner worked as an Associate Partner at another Big4 firm as a Security and Crisis Management Consultant, as the Head of Corporate Security in a globally operating industrial company, and as an Officer in the German Armed Forces in leadership and training roles (including as a Company Commander). He holds a degree in Business Administration, CBCI certification, and is a Lead Auditor ISO 22301.

Dr. Stefanie Hauer ist Senior VP Marketing & Communication bei der F24 AG.

Dr Stefanie Hauer

Dr Stefanie Hauer is the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at F24 and is responsible for the global marketing and communications activities of F24 in this role. Before joining F24 in 2012, she worked at Kekst CNC, among other places. Additionally, she teaches as a lecturer at the Institute for Communication Science at Ludwig-Maximilians University in the field of practical digital media.

Markus Epner, Head of Academy bei der F24 AG, ist langjähriger Experte für Security und Krisenmanagement.

Markus Epner

Markus Epner is a crisis and security manager with over 20 years of experience in various positions in the industry, including at Lufthansa and Boehringer Ingelheim. Throughout his career, he has worked in various security and crisis teams and previously served as one of the first officers in the Special Forces Command, including deployments in the Bosnia and Kosovo wars. Since 2022, Markus Epner has been employed as the Head of Academy at F24.

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Dr. Alexander Köppen

Dr. Alexander Köppen

Partner, Cyber Security & Privacy Strategy, Risk and Compliance, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 1512 9608-114

Jens Greiner

Jens Greiner

Director, Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 175 3532089