Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainable Development

Responding to a Data Breach. Will Your Organization Be Prepared?

January 13, 2015 at 1:22 PM

Data breaches have become an unfortunate reality of living in the twenty-first century. At some point, most companies, organizations, and governments will fall victim to data theft or loss. The growing volume and sensitivity of information being shared, saved and utilized is increasing demand for greater transparency about how such information is being administered and safeguarded. The recent data breaches and privacy blunders of several major companies and institutions has made cyber security a focal point for legislation and makes clear that no organization is immune to such attacks.

Being proactive is a must. When a data breach occurs, the primary goal should be protecting your institution’s reputational integrity. Institutions with an effective public relations plan in place are better equipped to mitigate any potential damage caused by a data breach. A successful communications strategy, one that addresses all your primary stakeholders, will help restore trust and confidence in your institution’s data security. Having a team of experienced pr experts to help make your words resonate with your customers, employees, and stakeholders can turn what would have potentially been a nightmare into big boost for your brand.

Here are 9 reasons your organization should have a public relations plan in place in the event of a data breach.

PreparationBetter prepared than not. You want to know beforehand who will do what when and how you will inform your stakeholders.

Time ManagementTime is key. Keeping a plan ready will allow you to control the time it takes to release information.

Damage ControlHaving a plan in place will help your organization avoid the pitfalls that comes with media attention and gives you a clear way to manage how the crisis gets communicated.

TransparencyWhen a breach occurs, its best to be forthcoming with information. Your stakeholders should hear directly from you about what has happened, and shouldn't have to seek information elsewhere.

Avoid ErrorsTrying to wing it usually doesn't work. Knowing how you will handle a data breach before it happens will prevent you from saying or doing something you might regret.

Not All Press is Good PressYou can't let bad press define you. Bad things will happened but if you prepare a response to a bad situation, your organization comes across sincere and responsible.

Controlling the MessageYour competitors won’t wait for you to figure out how you will respond. You need to know your message before a breach takes place in order to convey that you have taken the necessary steps to prevent future crises.

Social MediaThanks to Twitter and Facebook, news travels faster than ever. You can use these medium's to your organization's advantage by planning ahead.

Restoring TrustAn effective communications strategy will help you protect your institution’s reputational integrity and remain reliable and trustworthy in the eyes of your stakeholders.

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