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Make Protection an Organizational Priority

May 18, 2018

Optimal data protection and security should be an organizational priority.

Read the Keeping Data Covered: Creating a “Breach-free” Climate guide to learn more about optimal responses to a breach.

Cyber security isn’t something business owners or management can handle on their own. Make sure your employees understand what is expected of them in the event of a breach. A climate of confidence is essential here, because without that, you risk employee hesitation about reporting breaches immediately. Make your entire staff aware of their role in dealing swiftly with actual or suspected breaches, so the company is in the best position to minimize damage and initiate its response-and-recovery plan. Other keys include:

  • Understanding what corporate reputation management involves in the event of a breach. That knowledge can be integrated into your cyber security plans and give you a deeper understanding of how prevention can help avoid the need for a cure. Start with your insurance coverage, says Mike Paul, president of Reputation Doctor LLC. “If this happened today, would you be covered? To be able to protect yourself, and to have an attorney who is backed by the insurance company who can go into court to protect you if you’ve had a breach and someone is suing you, is extremely important.”
  • Undertake a risk assessment to determine how much you need to invest in cyber security—and understand that this investment isn’t really optional. “You can’t say today that you didn’t know,” he says. “That will come up in any lawsuit that is brought against you. You do not have the right to say, ‘I didn’t know. I was naïve.’ That’s not how it works.” Neither will it be helpful in the event of a breach to throw one person under the bus, announce that the employee was fired, and say that it won’t happen again. “That’s not going to increase trust in your business, because what we want to hear is that the business is responsible,” Paul says.
  • In the event of a breach, get outside help. Paul encourages companies to bring on board someone outside the organization who can adopt the mindset of stakeholders who have been (or fear they have been) damaged by the breach. As the business owner, you’ll be focused on the impact on your company, and it’s valuable to have on the response team someone who can think beyond that insider perspective.

Of course, the best way to manage a breach is to take steps to ensure that you don’t have to deal with one. But by creating a plan for optimizing cyber security awareness within your company and for dealing with crises should they arise, you strengthen the foundation of trust on which your business relationships and operations depend.

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