Posted on: October 5, 2017

No one is immune to the threat of a security breach. Even major companies like Equifax, who recently experienced a data breach that could potentially harm millions of consumers, can be hit hard by cyber threats that leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Right now, the credit giant is scrambling to pick up the pieces of what happened as it combats major damages to its reputation, attempts to alleviate public concerns, and works to rebuild.

What if something like this happened to your business? Even smaller organizations can be seriously impacted by data security breaches, and there’s nothing worse than waiting until such a breach happens to try to figure out what to do. Taking the time to anticipate threats and come up with a plan of action for how to address a potential breach now will help you and your team stay calm, stay on top of what’s going on, and minimize damages in the future.
Remember, even a rumor of a security breach could lead to a communications breakdown and crisis. Your customers and the public will take whatever rumors they have been fed and run with them, creating a panic that could negatively impact your business and reputation. Again, careful planning can help you avoid disaster. Here are the steps to follow for coming up with a data breach communication plan.

Step 1 — Start by designating one person within your organization who will be in charge of handling a crisis situation and who will form the crisis communication team. Create clearly outlined roles for each team member and define the parameters of how they may communicate in real-time in such a situation.

Step 2 — Have your team take a thorough inventory of all data assets and potential risks. From here, you can assess the impact that a data security breach would have on your business. This process should enable you to determine where you are most vulnerable so that you can run simulations that will allow you to practice early monitoring and detection, as well as how to make early status reports about the situation.

Step 3 — Figure out exactly what you will be legally obligated to disclose in the event of a security breach. Discuss both brand reputation and legal implications in order to determine the best way to communicate information to the public. Should your communication approach be proactive or reactive? These decisions should be made here.

Step 4 — Work to understand who your biggest advocates are and take measures to build positive relationships with media sources and market influencers. In the event of a security breach, you want to know who you can trust to best represent your brand when making a report concerning a potential security breach within your organization.

Step 5 — Evaluate your team’s communication skills and determine who is best suited to be a spokesperson for your company in a time of crisis. Make sure that you have individuals who are not only able to provide expertise from a technical standpoint but who are also able to be personable and trustworthy.

Step 6 — Make a plan for what types of messages or information will be revealed to the public and when. It’s not wise to disclose information until all of the facts are known, so be sure to set boundary conditions that must be met before moving on to the next step of disclosures.

Data security breaches are scary, but knowing how to handle one can help you navigate the situation in a way that will help you maintain your brand image and quickly be back in business. Of course, preventing a data security breach from ever happening is even better. The team at Uncommon Solutions can help you find data security solutions that will provide you with the highest degree of protection. Give us a call to learn more today.