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How to Protect Your Brand Reputation from Cyberattacks

07.16.21 Jane Hillstrom

The world of cyberattacks just got a little closer to home with the recent JBS hack, resulting in the company paying an $11 million ransom to ensure the U.S. beef and poultry food supply wasn’t disrupted.

But a cyberattack can cost you more than just the immediate financial impact to your business. Cyberattacks can damage customer trust and your brand reputation.

The best way to protect your brand reputation is to be prepared for malware and cyberattacks, but what should you do if you get hacked? Begin by answering the following questions:

  • Who was affected?
  • Who can you contact to learn more?
  • Who are your most critical stakeholders? What do you need to tell them, and how will you communicate with them?
  • How will your customers and partners respond to this attack? Will they trust you with their information in the future? How will you reassure them to continue your business relationship?
  • What steps will you take immediately if this crisis worsens? For example, what will you do if your employees’ personal information is for sale on the dark web?

Communicating with your stakeholders to rebuild trust is one of the most important steps to take when a data breach has occurred. When talking about the crisis, it’s important to:

  • Tell the truth and tell it fast. Acknowledge the crisis and don’t shift blame or responsibility to others. Be sure to discuss the speed of your response.
  • Apologize, if appropriate. Speak to purpose over profit. Focus on your mission rather than the cost of the breach.
  • Prepare a statement for media calls. Describe a minimum of two action steps you’re taking to protect your vendors, employees and customers from it happening again.
  • Mention your long-term response plan and your commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Thank your customers and vendors for their understanding.
  • Provide contact information for questions. Set up a call center if your business is inundated with calls. Be sure the people answering the phones have talking points and a Q&A they follow without deviation. Keep a call log.

Cyberattacks and data breaches can be a huge threat to your brand reputation. Let’s talk about building a proactive crisis management plan to help you prepare for a cyberattack or other crisis situations.

Jane Hillstrom
Jane Hillstrom
Vice President