When it comes to data breaches these days, it’s no longer a question of if, but when. And when confidential and sensitive information is exposed to prying eyes, this can cause members of your organization or the owners of said information to panic or worse: your clients may leave/stop patronizing your product/service altogether. If handled poorly, the general public may also develop a negative perception about your organization – and that is never good for business. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
Proactively update your stakeholders about the incident
Do not make the mistake of letting your stakeholders find out about the data breach via a third party source as it may make it seem like the situation is worse than it actually is. It is best to proactively inform your stakeholders about all they need to know about the breach and what your organization is doing to remedy it. This approach to handling the situation will foster an environment of trust and accountability that you’ll need as you go through solving the crisis at hand.
Be consistent and transparent
Devising a planned and coherent crisis communication plan, which includes who the spokesperson will be (if any) and what media channels will be used to disseminate consistent and specific information, is imperative. By being transparent about the incident – how it happened, its duration, how much information was compromised – you’re keeping customers informed in a language that they can understand that your organization is completely aware of what systems were affected.
Be sure to inform your customers about what information was hacked and communicate possible risks as well as how they can protect themselves from the consequences of the leaked data. Address their concerns first before you start worrying about your stock price.
Strengthen your system
The data breach is an indication that your current system is not secure enough. Improving your system and letting your customers know how it will be different from the faulty one is essential.
Has your organization ever experienced a data breach? How did you handle it and what lessons did you learn?