Crisis PR: 5 tips for preparing your team for data security breaches

by | Jun 10, 2022 | Public Relations

Every employee of your company will be involved in the aftermath of a security breach, no matter his or her department or role. This extends to your PR team. This team has one of the most important roles because it’s the touchpoint for your customers and the community at large. Here are five tips for preparing your PR team for data security breaches.

1. Make sure your PR team is aware of your business processes and investments

Your PR team cannot properly interface with your customers and the media if they don’t have all the necessary information about the breach and the affected products. This means they need to be educated on each product your company uses or sells. For example, if your company uses Microsoft MDR, then your PR team needs to be aware that you use the tool, how it works, the risks involved and what needs to be communicated to your customers in relation to any data breaches.

2. Align PR, security and risk assessment teams

Your PR team members should be well-acquainted with your security and risk assessment teams prior to any data security breaches occurring. These teams should be able to work well together and align their processes, response plans and goals. Security and risk assessment teams can keep PR teams informed of prevention, response and recovery plans. PR teams can help security and risk assessment teams distribute messaging to employees about what they should do if they discover breaches or suspect their accounts are compromised.

3. Give your PR team tools to monitor internal situations and external media

Make sure your PR team is able to monitor as much of the breach response, as well as related internal situations and external media responses, as possible. Being able to do so will allow the team to get an idea of the reputation damage that has already been done and begin developing messaging to reverse, minimize or manage it. They will need to be able to do this in the immediate aftermath of the incident as well as in the long term in order to assess how well they’re managing the incident and how your brand is recovering.

4. Develop crisis communication plans

Your PR team should have access to actionable plans for what to do in case of data security breaches. You can create one basic plan with offshoots for different scenarios or types of breaches or you can create multiple plans for multiple situations from a template. This plan should incorporate internal and external communication procedures and guidance on how to follow those procedures. It should include instructions regarding timing and messaging for each type of data security breach risk. These plans are meant to help you reassure all internal and external stakeholders and take the reins of reputation management in the aftermath of a breach.

5. Provide comprehensive training for all PR team members

All members of your PR team need to be prepared in the event of a data security breach. Every member needs to be provided with comprehensive training during onboarding and then with continuous training as processes and products change or evolve. They need to understand your products or services and the products you use internally at a base level at least. They also need to be educated about your crisis communication plan or plans and their roles in such plans.

Final thoughts

You need to make sure your PR team is as prepared as possible for data security breaches. This way, the team will be able to start working immediately when a breach is detected. Swift reputation management is just as important to a company’s well-being as addressing the breach itself.

Kevin Gardner
Kevin Gardner graduated with a BS in Computer Science. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS, where he helps companies integrate technology to improve performance. He shares his knowledge and expertise not only with his clients but with his fellow bloggers and readers.


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