It is estimated that one cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds, with millions of records being stolen daily. According to IT Governance USA, some of the most common attacks include malware, phishing, distributed denial-of-service attacks, SQL injection, and ‘man-in-the-middle’ (MITM). Take an MITM attack, which involves an attacker intercepting and relaying messages between one party and another. An important client may think they are dealing with you, and unwittingly disclose personal or confidential information to a hacker. The results can be everything from stolen funds to serious illegal activities such as blackmail. If this or other attacks occur to your clients because of a cyber security breach, quick, efficient damage control is key. Follow these tips and ensure that one mistake doesn’t harm your reputation and trustworthiness irrevocably.
The Need for an Immediate Response
Negative feedback travels quickly online, so one thing you cannot afford to do if you receive a complaint, is to sit on your laurels. See a security breach as the same as any other customer service, only far more serious. Research published by Zendesk shows that 54% of customers share bad experiences with over five people, while only 33% share good ones. Moreover, around 90% of customers in this day and age consult online reviews before deciding to make a purchase. When an opinion about your company appears on Complaint Base Business Reviews or on social media, it can quickly be shared on other sites and social media. If a customer tweets about a recent breach, answer them immediately and do both publicly and via direct message. This will cool the anger or tension, and make it apparent that you are fully committed to providing them with a solution.
Breaches as an Opportunity for Growth
Security breaches should always be seen from a solutions-based perspective rather than from a fault-finding or blaming one. This is the perfect time to get your IT team together and to make sure you check all the boxes required to protect client data. Are you currently encrypting all sensitive data? Do workers follow the same cyber security protocols when working on their home computer or mobile devices? How often does your company carry out back-ups? Is your software automatically updated? Sometimes, the problem can be as simple as narrowing access – i.e. all employees do not need to have access to sensitive data. At other times, you may need to invest in more expensive software, as well as in additional efforts such as employee training and awareness.
Communication Channels Should Remain Open
Once you have formulated an airtight security strategy, inform your clients via e-mail, social media, and other marketing strategies. Be specific about the measures you have taken, offering them the chance to ask questions and receive answers in due time. If a serious security breach has compromised sensitive data, you will need to explain how your new software and internal training will stop this from happening again. Extra support staff may be needed at this sensitive time, so that clients can receive phone or live chat support regarding their concerns.
Turn a Negative Review into a Positive One
If your clients are pleased with the new systems and processes you have adopted, ask them to remove their negative review if possible, or to write a new, more positive one. This may just be possible with clients you have a strong, established relationship with. If a client had previously Tweeted about a cyber attack, answer the Tweet publicly, letting the Tweeter and their followers know that the issue has been solved.
Even in the best protected companies, cyber attacks can occur. From e-mail viruses to phishing scams, there are many ways that hackers can access sensitive data that can hurt your clients and your reputation. See a breach as a golden opportunity to make changes that will enable clients to put their full trust in you once again. Act quickly and efficiently, and never let a client feel like a breach is a minor issue.