3 ways PR teams can help clients mitigate data breaches

by | May 16, 2023 | Public Relations

According to the Ponemon Institute and IBM Security Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, “Eighty-three percent of organizations studied have experienced more than one data breach, and just 17 percent said this was their first data breach.”

If so many companies have experienced multiple data breaches, it’s only a matter of time before organizations that haven’t experienced one yet will. Are you ready to ensure the damage doesn’t run deep for your client companies?

If these three practices aren’t a part of how you help your clients mitigate data breaches, adopt them today.

3 ways PR teams can help clients mitigate data breaches

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Communicate quickly and honestly

A new product launch, expansion, or partnership? You can sit on the details until the right time. However, when a data breach happens, it’s best to communicate about it swiftly. As soon as your client company notifies you that there’s been a data breach, you should be drafting a communication to the public.

As they work to stop the bleeding internally, you should be working to disclose what’s happened to customers, partners, and the rest of the public in a way that doesn’t incite panic. Be honest about what’s happened. Share as many details as you can about the incident.

Then, wrap it up with what the company is doing to rectify the crisis. Also, highlight how people can keep up with the situation and contact information should they have questions or concerns.

Share the communication with the appropriate media outlets and ask the company to distribute it to the proper internal teams.

Advise clients on how to ramp up data security

Once you’ve opened up communication about the data breach, it’s important to work with your client on how to amp up data security. When you work with them on how they will secure their organization’s data better, you’ll feel more confident reassuring the public that data will be better protected in the future.

Reducing human error should be at the top of your advice list. Human error is the cause of 85 percent of data breaches, according to Tessian’s Psychology of Human Error report. Whether it’s clicking on a malware link or sharing information with someone they thought was a part of the company, humans are at the core of most data breaches.

When it comes to data security, a discussion of reducing human error in the workplace goes hand-in-hand with a brick-and-mortar workplace safety discussion. They’re two sides of the same coin. On the cybersecurity side, consider the following tips:

  • Use automation tools
  •  Identify where human error occurs the mos
  • Educate the staff on data security protocols
  • Foster open communication with employees
  • Require every employee’s space to be organized and tidy

Talk about other specifics on how to improve data security too. Encrypting all devices, establishing good password hygiene, and running regular security checks should all be part of the conversation.

Discuss increasing cybersecurity employee training in detail

In addition to the above suggestions for amping up data security in your client company, you must cover improving employee cybersecurity understanding.

Part of the reason that employees make mistakes that lead to a data breach is that they lack an understanding of cybersecurity.

For example, they didn’t know what a phishing email was so they didn’t know how to spot the signs of it and therefore clicked on the links in it. Or a cybercriminal was able to hack an employee’s workspace because they didn’t have a strong enough password.

One of the best things you can do to help your client companies mitigate data breaches is to encourage them to increase cybersecurity employee training. The likelihood of a data breach taking place will reduce significantly when employees are properly educated on cybersecurity and common threats.

The focus of their cybersecurity training should be what cybersecurity is, why they must take it more seriously, what the most popular cybersecurity attacks are, and how to prevent them.

Also, offer advice on how to make employee cybersecurity training stick, such as:

  • Including cybersecurity training in the onboarding process
  • Making it more enjoyable with shorter courses and interactive content
  • Tracking how employee awareness of cybersecurity has improved over time
  • Tailoring training to specific cybersecurity incidents that have happened in the workplace

Final thoughts

There were 1802 cases of data compromises in 2022, impacting the lives of over 422 million people. As companies become more digitally rooted, data breaches are sure to continue. PR teams that understand how to mitigate data breaches are best prepared to help their client companies in the future.

Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.


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