Cybersecurity: Certain Existential Threat

The consensus is clear: it is no longer a question of if your business will experience a cyber-attack, but rather when and how that will occur. We are far and away the most experienced cybersecurity communication partner out there. And choosing a partner for something like this is a bit like choosing a surgeon. It’s great to have someone with a subscription to the medical journals; far better to have one that has done the procedure – more often and more successfully, than anyone else.

Cybersecurity threats have affected some of the best-known companies and institutions – including the federal government and leading academic institutions. Hundreds of millions of Americans have been adversely impacted in recent years and that trend is not abating. We now see upwards of one data breach reported per day, and the number of affected records is approaching 1 billion worldwide.

Cyber incidents occur suddenly and are most often seen first in the rear view mirror. They pose an existential threat to sensitive personal information, confidential commercial data, physical systems, financial assets, commercial strategies and intellectual property. As the trove of data stored in networked systems continues to grow exponentially, the pace of the threat is quickening and the average scope and scale of the impacts is growing as well. And with each successive incident, stakeholder expectations of breached organizations increases.

When a cyber-attack occurs, demonstrating competence is essential. Changes in media – the ways consumers, investors and other stakeholders access and act on information – make previously successful strategies obsolete today. Ineffective media relationships can lead to a loop of negative coverage. Social media offers channels for engagement, but without the right strategy and messages, those tend to flood with criticism.

Acting to preemptively bolster competence and reputation is the best strategy to weathering a cyber-incident, but effectively preparing for one requires skill, experience, adequate resources, smart thinking and leadership.

We have a proven system to efficiently assess and weight the risks an organization might face so that planning can address real and imminent threats. With a better sense of the threats in play, we work with our clients to develop or upgrade incident response plans and line up the requisite assets so that the organization has a better sense of what to expect. When it’s necessary, we’re able to deploy teams quickly to add internal resources and offer immediate insights for managing through a cyber-event. Utilizing previous experience and proven best practices to inform communication strategies and tactics, we stay engaged for as long as necessary to help guide our clients through the complexities of the response, follow-on investigations, litigation, or regulatory actions.

Cyber incidents tend to produce a string of focusing points months or even years after the initial announcement. Having a responsible partner in place before the incident will exponentially improve the quality of the outcome as well as the cost of the incident.

We’re ready. Are you?

Kevin R. Elliott. Senior Vice President and Director, U.S. Risk+Crisis Communication Practice

Please contact us for more information.