Tips for Managing Your Reputation After a Data Breach
Reputation management and data breach are two phrases you never want to see in the same sentence. But unfortunately, stuff happens. And while a data breach is never expected, it’s always something to be prepared for.
Losing data is never a positive thing, but the way an organization handles the communication afterwards could make the difference in saving themselves. Organizations who handle it correctly and take the necessary steps are more likely to rebound from unfortunate circumstances, and have a better chance of regaining trust from their customers.
So, what are the steps necessary to manage your organization’s reputation after a data breach? Let’s dive in.
1. Take responsibility.
Owning up to your mistake is the #1 step in managing your reputation after a data breach. Taking responsibility for a breach communicates your integrity to your customers. Companies who put their pride aside and don’t make up excuses are the ones who have the best chances of surviving a data breach. It also indicates that you are in control of the situation, and are capable of fixing the problem. Failing to take responsibility also increases the chance of continued, negative media coverage. If you want to take a deeper dive, check out our recent blog on lessons we’ve learned from other companies data breaches.
2. Communicate with the customers.
It’s important that the breach is communicated to the customer, and quickly. However it’s important to note that while communication needs to be done quickly, the message itself should be done right. This message should include what happened, how it happened, and what is being done to fix it. Transparency goes a long way in these situations, and customers will be less angry knowing you’re taking proactive measures to protect them. Some organizations choose to send this message themselves, while others look to hire a PR firm. Either way, the message should come from top executives in the organization, as it shows ownership and credibility.
3. Talk about what you’re doing to fix it.
The communication we stated above should not be a one time deal. It’s important to keep the customers updated on your progress, so they know you’re taking steps to fix it. In addition to telling your customers what security steps and policy changes you’re implementing, consider extending a gift to affected customers as a way to show them that you value their business. This could be a security related gift like free identity theft protection, or some type of discount or other incentive.
4. Be proactive.
If you didn’t have a crisis plan in place before, now is certainly the time to make one! Taking proactive steps to protect your reputation can limit the fall out of the current data breach, but also help prevent another one in the future. Document everything you can from the breach, and try to connect all the dots on how it happened.
If your small to midsize business is looking for help in reputation management, Thinline Technologies can help! Our business continuity solutions stand ready to help your organization examine your current solution. We can help develop a solution to mitigate risks, protect your firm’s financial assets, and reduce the down time in the event of unplanned disruption. Contact us today!