The possibility of a cyber breach weighs heavy for most executives and entrepreneurs. According to a Ponemon Institute 2014 Annual Study (U.S. Cost of a Data Breach), a data breach can cost as much as $201.00 per compromised record. The costs can be staggering and many times unaffordable for the average business.
With the number of resources and templates available for creating a breach response plan, business continuity plan or crisis management plan, the process can be overwhelming and confusing. As with managing any potential risk, it is better to have a written plan than no plan at all. But even the best resources fall short when it comes to protecting the reputation of a business.
Every cyber incident preparedness checklist should include who to contact in the event of an incident. One of the first calls should be to an experienced crisis management team and/or PR firm familiar with breach response. As the executive team, investigatory agencies and technical support teams are managing the breach, who is communicating with employees, stakeholders, and the news media who may be eager to tell your story? Has the messaging been appropriately scripted? Does the spokesperson have the necessary media training to effectively handle the messaging and barrage of inquiry? How is moral being affected by the incident?
Dealing with a breach is one of the most stressful and very real situations any executive team will face. Managing a breach often requires outside resources working as a part of the leadership team to help the business emerge in a position where it is able to thrive, not be forced to close its doors due to reputational and financial damage sustained.
Before a breach occurs, know who you can rely on to help manage the breach, protect the company’s reputation and assure stakeholders of the resiliency of the business, its leaders and its professional advisors. What should you do now? Conduct a crisis audit; prepare a comprehensive incident response plan; review and practice the plan; and make sure your crisis team is in place. It is imperative to have policies and procedures in place so your team can turn short-term adversity into long-term advantage when a data breach strikes.
For more information on how to build, strengthen and defend your reputation, contact Fallston Group at 410.420.2001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.