How a cyber-attack can affect your reputation

  • Izzy PR - Public Relations

Increasingly sophisticated hacking methods mean even the most secure businesses can be at risk. Unfortunately, an attack can damage your reputation.

Sarah Hawes shares how:

Loss of trust
If contacts on your system were compromised, you would be duty-bound to inform your customers. Many could take their business elsewhere.

Even if an attack does not directly affect a customer database, it still sends a message to the public that your systems are not secure which could undermine your reputation and perception of your company.

Future business
Within the public sector, organisations have strict rules about the businesses they work with. An attack would have to be declared and could result in your company being blacklisted.

At worst, all of your systems could be affected and inaccessible. You will need to at least reset passwords and accounts and put new secure measures in place, all of which takes time.

Here are four must-dos following an attack:

  1. Tell affected parties asap
    Don’t be tempted to keep the incident a secret, to buy you time. The sooner those affected are informed, the sooner they can take their own additional steps to protect their information. Leaving them in the dark for longer than necessary will only cause anger.
  2. Go above and beyond
    Offer help directly to customers. Provide contact details and make your team available, offering extra services such as extended business hours or a dedicated webpage/phone number.
  3. Issue an honest public apology
    Even if you don’t have all the details, issue a genuinely remorseful response as soon as you can. Be transparent, explain what has happened and how you are rectifying it. Use simple language and avoid jargon. Provide further updates as soon as they are available.
  4. Urgently review any scheduled marketing or PR activity
    A full-page advert declaring ‘Trust us to look after your family’s assets!’ is not a good look in the days following an attack. Either pull any immediate upcoming ads or replace them with your official response.

Similarly, remove or amend planned social media posts that would now be deemed inappropriate.

Sarah Hawes
Izzy PR

Izzy PR - Public Relations