5 ways PR firms can enhance security

by | Oct 18, 2019 | Analysis, Public Relations

No business is immune from the cyber security threats that exist in today’s business world. The threats seem to be growing by the day, which leaves everyone wondering how to proceed.

However, some companies face greater risks as a result of the work they do—and public relations firms certainly fall into this category.

You can’t afford to take a wait-and-see approach to cybersecurity. Once you’ve been compromised, it will most likely be too late. The majority of companies that experience serious data breaches and attacks are forced to close down operations within a matter of months. There’s no reason to think your PR firm will be the exception to the rule.

Greater security means taking a look at the big picture and addressing any and all vulnerabilities. In particular, we’d recommend taking the following steps:

1. Conduct security awareness training

Contrary to popular belief, unprotected technology isn’t the greatest threat to a company’s cybersecurity—it’s the employees. On the flip side, employees are also the first and greatest line of defense against attacks. And it’s for both of these reasons that organizations must conduct security awareness training.

Each PR firm will need to come up with its own unique training program that addresses relevant areas of concern, but you’ll almost certainly want to touch on potential threats like spam, phishing, spear phishing, malware, ransomware, and social engineering.

Security awareness training isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing investment that requires repetition and practice. As you continue to emphasize it, more employees will learn to take these issues seriously.

2. Implement better password protection

Hackers still prefer to conduct security breaches the classic way: By cracking passcodes and entering systems through the front door. They do this because they know how weak most businesses are with password protection.

Research shows that 4 in 10 companies manage passwords manually, while 44 percent of employees believe passwords have a significant negative impact on their productivity. In other words, passwords are being used inefficiently and, as a result, they aren’t providing the protection and value they should.

You can directly enhance your company’s password protection by using technologies like two-factor authentication and/or biometric-based systems that read fingerprints, eyes, or even voices. This lessens the user-side friction and increases the chances that employees take passwords seriously.

3. Rethink how you send confidential information

In the PR world, much of the communication you have with clients is confidential. Any slip up in security could damage relationships and/or create legal problems for your firm. But with the right technology, you can significantly reduce the risk of being compromised.

Standard mail isn’t secure for obvious reasons. Traditional paper-based faxing is inefficient. The solution is online fax, which is a fast, easy, and secure method of sending and receiving faxes by email. Give it a try and see what you think.

4. Implement BYOD policies and rules

There’s no stopping employees from bringing their own smart devices to work. In 2019 and beyond, the only feasible approach is to develop a robust Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that protects your business from being exposed via one of these devices.

“The key to getting your employees on board with BYOD policies is building a trusting environment,” MXOtech, Inc. explains. “Too much restriction can make them feel like you’re infringing on their personal freedoms. Instead, educate them on the realities of BYOD and give them the power to use their devices responsibly.”

5. Use a VPN

With employees using their own devices and accessing these devices in a variety of places—including public spots like coffee shops and parks – you can’t afford to rely on unsecured networks. Instead, use a VPN service to insulate your employees’ internet activities from unnecessary threats. Here’s a list of some of the top VNP providers for businesses.

Do you have a security plan?

It’s not enough to hope for the best. Cyber criminals target small businesses and large organizations alike. (If anything, they prefer smaller companies because they’re typically less fortified.) Now’s the time to develop a proactive plan that enhances your security and puts your PR firm in a better position to withstand unpredictable threats. What are you waiting for?

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is a freelance tech and computer writer