Implementing robust customer communications during a cyberattack

Implementing robust customer communications during a cyberattack

Megan Hogg

Megan Hogg

A cyberattack occurs every 44 seconds. These attacks target businesses as much as individuals -almost one in three businesses (31%) are now threatened by hackers at least once a week. Such threats can cause reputational damage, but business leaders need not be alarmed. Implementing rapid reactive customer communications can allow organisations to circumvent potentially severe reputational damage in the immediate aftermath of a breach.

As cyberattacks increase in frequency, businesses must mitigate accordingly

Cyberattacks are an almost inevitable part of operations for tech-driven organisations. Evidently, security precautions are implemented to mitigate the impact of these attacks, but hackers are smart. Sometimes even the strongest of environments can be breached, and leaders need to be prepared.

For example, in 2021 one of the most notorious cyberattacks in history occurred. A vulnerability was exposed in Apache Log4j, a Java-based logging utility used ubiquitously within businesses. Hackers used the logger to control victims’ computers remotely, for purposes such as sending spam, cryptocurrency mining, and ransomware attacks. Once the vulnerability was exposed, more than 100 attacks were occurring per minute.

Some of the biggest names in tech were affected by the Log4j vulnerability. Microsoft released extensive customer communications on the topic, with others such as Amazon and Google Cloud following suit.

Top tips for customer communications during a crisis

In the event of a cyberattack, the last thing businesses want to be doing is scrambling to create a reactive comms plan. Leaders should therefore ensure that a robust communications strategy is already in place and can be executed seamlessly, should an attack occur.

Firefly’s top tips for customer communications during a crisis include:

  1. Implementing honest and simple communication. Language should be kept as clear as possible and remain consistent with the business’ existing house style.
  2. Reassuring customers that the attack is under control. Messaging should include coherent steps on how the business intends to proceed, ensuring that customers feel that their data is still in safe hands.
  3. Balancing an appropriate cadence of customer communications. Customers should be updated regularly enough that they feel supported, but not so regularly that they begin to panic.

If a cyberattack is well handled, it can be an opportunity to shape a business’ reputation as resilient in the face of a crisis. Leaders who prepare and execute effective customer communications during such times are those who will retain a loyal customer base, despite a cyber threat.

Read more about managing reputations through a crisis.

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