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 and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.