data breach crisis pr

A security breach is one of the most dreaded forms of attack against any modern day company. Security breaches not only put the brand and its employees at risk, but also the customers and clients, which the company serves.

This affects the brand’s reputation and its ability to inspire trust. While more people know how easy it is to be victimized bu hackers, how a company handles the situation after the fact speaks volumes.

Prevention is Better than Cure

The best way to prepare for a crisis is to stop it from happening in the first place. Prevention is better than cure. Security breaches can cost a company millions of dollars in damages when simple methods could prevent the breach from happening.

Some simple methods include working with PR specialists to craft campaigns and training programs directed at employees. These should raise awareness of cyber security threats. They should also cover the importance of prioritizing data security, by encouraging employees to secure their credentials and create complex passwords.

Putting monitoring systems in place also help secure company data, as well as prevent the terrible situation of finding out about a breach in the media. One cyber security company noted that 53 percent of the cases brought to it by clients were discovered by external sources. This can make it difficult to encourage customers and employees to trust a company with their personal information.

Keeping personnel on board trained to track suspicious activity on the company’s network, helps catch problems early. Giving the company the chance to make its statement before speculation begins.

Planning for Data Breaches

Even the most proactive companies may still get hacked, so it’s important to have a plan in place, just in case. Otherwise, when cyber attacks occur, companies often blunder in their response to the situation. This lack of preparation may lead to either impulsive decisions, or taking too long to resolve the issue – either of which could make the situation worse.

The Risk of Delaying Action

Taking too long to respond to the crisis makes customers anxious while giving the media the opportunity to fill in the blanks with speculations. This makes it difficult later on to dispel rumors about what happened when it happened, and what the extent of the damage is. People then begin to lose faith in the company – a difficult thing to rebuild.

The Danger of Acting without a Plan

An impulsive and not well-thought out action can also create problems. The public may accuse the company of lying or covering up bigger issues if the original reason given for the breach is later proved false.

Not having a plan in place when hackers strike almost always leaves a company scrambling to clean up the mess. Companies should prepare their IT personnel to handle these situations. In addition to this, they should work with public relations specialists to create crisis communication plans to maintain the trust of employees, shareholders, customers, and the general public.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.