In today’s digital world, cybersecurity has become a major concern for businesses and organisations of all sizes. With the increasing number of cyberattacks, data breaches, and online scams, it’s essential to not only deploy strong proactive and defensive security measures but to have a solid public relations strategy in place. Why? Because a good PR team and strategy can help protect your reputation and minimise the impact of any potential cyber incidents. Keep in mind, even the smallest cyber incident won’t only damage business operations and revenue, but can lead to loss of trust and general client discontent if handled poorly.
As such, we’d like to offer some tips on how to develop a strategy that works for you, as well as explore the value of a strong PR programme for maintaining a good reputation in the space.
Why is cybersecurity PR important?
Cybersecurity PR is crucial because a cyber incident can have a significant impact on both your finances and reputation. Most companies in other industries, such as fashion, music, film and even law, work with well-known PR teams, which help them navigate the media landscape and present themselves in a positive light. The common perception is that these industries require PR more than others, as they typically deal with more crises – however, that isn’t the case.
Cybersecurity vendors and organisations can use PR strategies in similar ways to gain soft power within the media, but also to maintain their image in light of potential incidents.
A single data breach, no matter how small, can lead to loss of customer trust, damage to brand, and monetary losses, including compensation claims and legal fees. By having a public relations strategy in place, organisations can effectively communicate with their customers and stakeholders, minimise the impact of an incident, and restore trust in their brand.
Alternatively, brands experiencing an attack can employ PR agencies to help them manage and mitigate the resulting damage with crisis communications. PR professionals are experts in their fields and are able to help organisations make the right decisions and how to react appropriately. This means being open and honest about incidents and how it may impact customers, while making it clear what the organisation will do to quickly remediate any damage.
On a less urgent basis, PR teams can help organisations establish themselves in the cybersecurity industry as thought-leaders. PR teams can draft articles on relevant topics as well as help out with commentary for breaking news stories. If viewed as experts in their field, organisations have a higher chance of building customer trust and as such, retaining existing customers while working towards new business opportunities.
Tips for developing a cybersecurity PR strategy
- Plan ahead: Anticipate the potential consequences of a cyber incident and develop a crisis communication plan with the help of a specialised agency. Identify the key stakeholders you need to communicate with, such as customers, employees, partners, and the media, and prepare clear and concise messages for each on how you are going to proceed.
- Be proactive: Regularly review and update your cybersecurity measures to minimise the risk of an incident. Stay up-to-date on the latest threats and trends and educate employees on safe online practices.
- Foster transparency: Be open and honest about any cybersecurity incidents, including what happened, what steps you’re taking to resolve the issue, and what you’re doing to prevent future incidents. Naturally, there is good PR and bad PR; the organisations that communicated incidents quickly and openly were more respected by their customers and maintained a more positive image in the media.
- Work with experts: Collaborate with cybersecurity experts, such as IT professionals and PR agencies, to ensure you have the right skills and knowledge to respond to a crisis effectively. By hiring an agency, you will take the stress off your executive team and employees to always do and say everything right. The PR team can be responsible for getting your spokespeople into the media when it matters, and make sure that your company is seen by the correct audiences.
In conclusion, having a solid cybersecurity PR strategy is essential for building and protecting your organisations reputation in the industry. The stronger the PR programme, the more likely your organisation will receive opportunities to be featured in national and top tier media outlets, which in turn can increase investments and even lead to IPO. More importantly, after an incident, being proactive, transparent, and working with experts, can effectively help you communicate with stakeholders and restore trust in your brand.