• Home
  • /Learn
  • /How to Communicate a Cybersecurity Breach
background image


How to Communicate a Cybersecurity Breach


The growing sophistication of hackers in exploiting flaws is reflected by the rise in cyberattacks. Despite enterprises' best efforts to fortify their systems against intrusion, sensitive data still falls into the wrong hands. When a security breach occurs, it's important to act quickly and communicate the incident properly to limit the damage. Here are some steps you can take to ensure an effective response. 

Steps to ensure an effective response

  1. Inform your employees: Information should be shared with all employees, especially the customer-facing personnel. Ensure your staff is thoroughly informed to prevent confusion or the spread of false information. This step is crucial as most customers will get in touch with their connections for details. Employees should be given scripts with a summary, approved comments, and cues on when they should transfer the callers to a central hub.  

  2. Inform your customers: It is crucial to notify your customers about the cybersecurity breach as early as possible, especially when client data has been stolen. Being accessible and prepared to address their queries is crucial in reassuring your clients. Press releases frequently cannot convey the situation and reassure stakeholders about the mitigation efforts. However, saying nothing can be more damaging. When customers hear it directly from you, it helps retain their trust and prevents panic. Respond swiftly and proactively if someone else discovers the breach.

  3. Pay attention to the media: If a cybersecurity breach leads to data loss, keep a close watch on mainstream and social media to get the market's pulse; especially keep tabs on potential rumour-mongering by your rivals. This step will equip you to draft an appropriate response and nip the attempts to damage your reputation.

  4. Have a communication plan ready: Draft a plan that would take care of all aspects of response in the event of a cybersecurity breach. Ensure that an effective communication plan is part of the plan, which details all the steps from when a breach gets reported to the point it gets addressed. The communication plan should be examined by compliance and legal advisers. 

  5. Update your company website: A website update should display the most recent information and direct communications. This strategy promotes information sharing among internal and external resources. Set up an FAQ page and provide a phone number in your message.

  6. Prepare your PR team: Make sure to connect your spokespeople with media allies. A cybersecurity breach is difficult to spin positively, but you may assure the public that you are making every effort to make things right. Issue regular public updates, assuring further timely alerts as the inquiry develops. 

  7. Have a discussion with the team: Discuss what you have discovered. Once everything is over, talk about how the breach happened. Issuing comprehensive and detailed situation maps will help security professionals and other companies to gain insight and work towards beefing up their security perimeter. Review your strategy frequently. Don't merely jot down your communications strategy and then disregard it. 

  8. Create an internal communications strategy: Creating an internal communications strategy is vital for preparing your staff for attacks. Consider setting up a private, secure platform for communication that establishes an action plan to be followed in the event of a cyberattack. You can also decide to use platforms that your staff members use to broaden your communication techniques. Innovative communication techniques might also be effective. Consult your communication team to see how you can provide cybersecurity guidelines more effectively and creatively. 

Wrapping Up

A cybersecurity breach can be a PR nightmare if not handled correctly. By being proactive and transparent, you can mitigate some of the damage and even turn it into an opportunity to improve your company's image. Following the steps above will help you get started on the right foot.

Wondering what else you may need to do in the event of a security breach? Read more here.