Posted by Paladin on October 25, 2017
With the latest identity theft disaster by Equifax, transparency in business is a hot topic. Many agree that Equifax didn’t handle their situation in the best possible fashion. Many clients felt betrayed and unheard. While you can’t please every single person, when a large number of your clients are upset, you must take action. Are you prepared should sensitive information get hacked from your computer network?
Have A Plan
One can’t prepare for every possible bad situation. However, have a plan for handling information breaches and other scandals that make your company look less than pleasant. Avoid losing clientele or shareholders through smart preparation. All top executives should sit down and envision the best responses while checking in with the marketing team on appropriate language. Naturally, include the legal team. They prevent you from saying the wrong thing or making promises you can’t keep.
The last thing in the world you should do is hide a breach or scandal. This is why you need an adroit public relations operation. A skilled PR professional can be an invaluable source of insight amid such sturm and drang. Overall, people make mistakes, and people run businesses. Will people be upset in the beginning? Absolutely! Will they stay mad if you own your mistake and work to correct it? Maybe they will, but not necessarily. The general public is fairly forgiving towards companies who are candid, forthright and willing to work at correcting the faux pas. Your social media team should issue all of the CEO and CFO statements and maintain connections by providing updates during the aftermath. Keeping your people in the know on the processes that are happening will allow them to regain trust with your company.
Fix the Issue
For all the transparent acts you can do, fixing the problem is of course top priority. For a security breach, repairing damage should be instantaneous. If you are dealing with a scandal, investigations should be taking place. Starting them prior to announcements is ideal. Once the public is aware, keep the public abreast of findings and resolutions. Again, utilize your PR resources. One of the biggest complaints with the Equifax scandal is that people don’t feel like the company fixed anything or earnestly sought the best interests of their clients. They appeared far more concerned with trying to mitigate any litigation risk against the firm. When it comes to security breaches, there has to be measures taken to try and stay ahead of hackers. When it comes to scandals, having precise policies and protocol for reporting is top priority. If something fell through the cracks, it’s time to tighten it all up.
Review Policies and Protocols
It is essential that all employees understand company policies regarding keeping information safe. Quite a large number of breaches are due to innocent looking emails that are phishing scams. When people are too comfortable with the emails, they tend to overlook small telltale signs that can clue them in that something isn’t right. Some departments are also prone to get hit more often than others. Accounting departments are at the top of the list as well as top-level executives. A good IT crew stays on top of possible malware threats and should be routinely updating staff when something suspicious is present and educate everyone on how to avoid phishing scams.
More seasoned employees may have first had experience dealing with scandals and other damaging events. Younger employees may have a deeper understanding of social media platforms crucial to any modern PR strategy. Your business can only succeed when both generations can work as one. Learn how with Paladin’s latest white paper on managing a multigenerational workforce.