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How to Ensure a Data Breach or Cyberattack Doesn’t Become a PR Nightmare

Reputation can make or break a company, and thus special considerations should be made in the wake of cyber incidents. A poorly handled public response after a major cyber incident can lead to exaggerated sell-off of a company’s stocks and the loss of business from customers. Risk management is the name of the game in cybersecurity, and the risk in public relations should not be overlooked.

 

Rebuilding Trust After a Cyberattack or Data Breach

Cyberattacks and data breaches are commonplace in the news cycle today, and the general population has, to an extent, become desensitized to it. However, news of a company withholding the truth can inflict irreparable damage to their company. The proper play is to be transparent with your shareholders and customers especially when customer data is involved. The biggest fear a customer will have is the loss of private data, a stolen identity, and financial loss. Giving customers quick access to information so they can protect themselves will rest fears and prevent any unnecessary damage to the company's reputation.

 

Follow the Data Breach Notification Laws of the Jurisdictions in Which You Operate

Failing to follow laws on data breach notifications has obvious legal ramifications along with a decrease in reputation. A company should be familiar with the data jurisdiction and data breach laws that apply to them. For a summary of data breach notification laws broken down by each state, reference Data Breach Notification Laws by State | IT Governance USA

 

Social Media

Social media can and should be used as a tool to directly interact with customers and shareholders to address fears and questions. Use posts to provide crucial information that will get to your contact base efficiently. If needed, pay to get that information boosted to the forefront of your audience’s social media feeds.

 

Website

Following a cyberattack or data breach, information concerning the situation should be published on a company’s website. A company's website is a trusted and reliable source of information, so it will often be the first place a customer will look. Doing this will help mitigate any false news and rumors circulating online.

 

Identity Theft Protection

In the case of lost personally identifiable information, a company can offer Identity Theft Protection through a third party to their customers for a period. This simple gesture can go a long way in settling fears and building the first steps in regaining trust and reputation.

 

Take Steps to Avoid a Breach in the First Place

It is important to have a plan in place for handling public relations in the event of a cyber incident. In fact, this should be part of your incident response plan and should be tested regularly to ensure employees understand what role they will have and how to act. However, it is in every organization’s best interest to avoid becoming a victim of an attack in the first place. By investing in security awareness training, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and more, you can mature your cybersecurity program and reduce your company’s risk of a breach immensely.

 

To learn how you can get started reducing cyber risk, contact the pros at TechGuard.

Written by Noland Crane