After seeing organizations the likes of Anthem, Sony, Target, Home Depot – and the list goes on – suffer through a data breach hack crisis, I think it’s clear to state that a data breach hack is a risk that this digital era presents to your organization no matter its size, industry or any other criteria. Unless you’re living under a rock, you’re vulnerable to this risk and, therefore, need to take preventative measures and develop a specific crisis management plan to make sure you, your team and your systems are prepared.
Do NOT make the same mistake that Anthem made
For example, Anthem didn’t take the necessary precautionary measures and it turned out that 80 million of their stakeholders’ confidential information was hacked. What does this mean? It means that these unfortunate people may have to deal with identity theft for the rest of their lives because their most private and confidential information is now being sold on the black market. And, as a result of not having taken the necessary precautionary measures to secure their systems to the most of their capabilities (i.e.: Anthem wasn’t even encrypting their data before the hack), Anthem may be faced with some very serious legal charges in the near future. This is not a situation you want to find your organization in or responsible for.
Recommended read: Your Guide for Data Breach Crisis Communication
Being proactive and minimizing the risk of a data breach hack
I recently wrote a thorough guide to get you started on developing a data breach crisis communication plan. This is a good and necessary start, but it is only that, a start. This is the crisis communications side of things and does not touch on the necessary actions you need to take to secure your systems, meet regulations and – if you really want to do your job well – go above and beyond the simple requirements. I’m not an IT specialist so that’s not my domain. However, once you’ve done all of this (and I hope you’re in the process of doing it because you never know who hackers will target next. Maybe you.) I’d like to get you thinking of another very important and advantageous strategy…
Why not leverage this proactive effort to help you position your organization as a leader and to help you build trusting and credible relationships with your stakeholders? This can prove to be a very strategic crisis preparedness strategy.
Being strategic and proactive – Desjardins Bank gives you food for thought
There are a ton of ways that you can do this, but I wanted to share one particular way that happened to land in my inbox this morning (and if you’d like to learn more about developing this type of proactive strategy, feel free to contact me about it, I’ve been helping organizations do this successfully since last year).
At the top of Desjardins Bank’s (a bank in Quebec, Canada) monthly newsletter today, was the following message with a link (my newsletter comes to me in French so I’ve translated):
“Mobile devices are attracting more and more interest by fraudsters. Check out our infographic to find out what to do to protect your mobile device … and your identity!”
Below I’ve embedded the infographic they linked to. It’s French and I’ve requested an English version, so we’ll see if they have one – if they do, I’ll change it here. But the point is that this bank has done something proactive and useful to help their stakeholders think of this risk and have provided them with useful solutions. By doing this they are:
- Showing their stakeholders that they care enough about their protection to provide them with helpful information in a trendy, share-able format.
- Positioning their organization as a voice of trust and credibility on this issue. Think of it, people who read this newsletter are thinking to themselves “Good to know that they’re thinking of this. My banking information must be good and secure with them.” It’s a psychological effect that can help to give you the benefit of the doubt in a crisis – though of course, you (and they) need to follow through with actually making sure you’re doing what people expect (in other words, ahem, don’t be like Anthem).
Side note: Are you curious about how mobile technology leaves you and your organization vulnerable? If so, I’m getting ready to publish my next ebook, which is a collaboration with Judith Delaney, and discusses everything you need to know about mobile technology: How to keep your organization safe from hacks and how to leverage mobile as a powerful crisis communications tool. If you’re interested in being notified when this ebook gets published, then send me an email and I’ll make sure to add you to a very special list!
The power of a proactive mindset in your crisis management strategy
Being proactive like this is a powerful strategy for crisis preparedness, and this is just one way to do it. If you’re an organization that gathers and retains your stakeholders’ confidential information (i.e.: name, email, address, credit card information, healthcare information, etc.) then a data breach hack is something you absolutely need to be thinking of preventing and preparing for. Once you do that, consider then using your initiatives as an opportunity to build trust and credibility with your stakeholders. Proactively share with them what you’re doing and find unique ways to help them be secure as well. Show them you care and prove to them how seriously you take their trust and your responsibility in keeping their information safe and secure.
This can be a powerful strategy. Let me know if you’d like to work with me on this type of project.
Here is Desjardins’s infographic:
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.