Is your company’s PR ready for a cyberattack?

By Wendy Bulawa Agudelo

3 tips to help you prepare

Have a PR response system set up ready in case a cyberattack happens.

News headlines are regularly peppered with fear-instilling stories of data breaches and cybersecurity threats that riddle us to the core as we consider how our personal and private information is vulnerable to hackers.

These same issues should concern companies even more. Large corporations like Uber and Equifax have already fallen prey to cyberattacks, and health care is the most hacked industry to date. Cybersecurity is no longer an issue exclusively for individuals who fear identity theft. It’s a rampant concern for companies as well. In addition to customer data, company trade secrets, patents and proprietary algorithms are vulnerable.

Axia Public Relations encourages its clients to regularly review and update their crisis communications plans. As more headlines spotlight cybersecurity concerns, adding steps and protocols for a cyberattack is prudent. For those that don’t have a cybersecurity plan in place, here are three steps to consider as you prepare:

1. What methods will you use to communicate to your audiences?

The most important element in a crisis is communication. What details will you share? What channels will you use to deliver those details? Will your team use social media, and if so, which platforms? Who will staff your communications effort? Is the media list current? Do you have assigned spokespeople? You should consider all of this as you outline a crisis plan.

2. Do you need to involve legal counsel and law enforcement agencies?

If your crisis involves illegal activity (e.g., theft of protected data or threats to your business or members thereof), it may be prudent to involve law enforcement at the local, state or national level. Include contact information for at least two individuals from each organization. Additionally, if your company maintains a relationship with a law firm, include key contact information for legal representation or counsel.

3. What are your legal disclosure obligations?

Publicly traded corporations and those with global operations or multiple offices should consider legal disclosure obligations. Many states have different policies and each industry has its own set of rules. It’s incredibly important to have a keen understanding of corporate disclosure obligations as it may or may not limit the information you publicly share with your key audiences.

Now is not the time to perpetuate a climate of fear. Instead, encourage preparation within your company. Should you need a hand in setting up your first plan, Axia Public Relations can help. Our firm has managed numerous corporations amid crisis and have established best practice guidelines in place to immediately provide any business with a protocol to manage a crisis both ahead of, or in reaction to, a crisis.

For immediate guidance in creating an effective crisis communications plan, download Axia’s complimentary e-book "Managing Public Relations in a Crisis" today and incorporate the above steps to outline your own corporate crisis framework.

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Wendy-color.jpgClients love Wendy’s compelling writing. She has nearly 20 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and nonprofit public relations. She serves on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force and is a culinary enthusiast and champion for the special needs community. Wendy has worked with Axia Public Relations since September 2014. Learn more about Wendy.

 

 

Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: Public Relations, Featured, Crisis Communications

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