Cyber breaches can result in criminals illegally obtaining customer and partner data and other sensitive information. In other instances, it may not lead to customer information being breached, but rather a disruption of service. This happened in the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack that caused disruptions of service up and down the eastern seaboard.
These are the types of incidents you do not want associated with your brand. They can lead to a loss of trust, or just create a negative association with your brand.
Unfortunately, attacks are on the rise, and are very costly. Last year, the average cost of a data break was $3.86 million, according to CMO from IDG. Almost half od that figure is from system down time and reputational damage. This downtime is what can be the most damaging—its when your customers and business partners may look to your competitors.
Planning and Preparing
CMOs, along with the rest of the c-suite, need to have a plan in place in the event of a cybersecurity incident. It can help mitigate reputational damage as well as deal with the other logistics related to the breach.
Marketers’ plan should include how to communicate with customers and what your firm will communicate publicly—these are key elements in retaining customer loyalty and trust. Your firm should also conduct enterprise-wide exercises to prepare for future incidents.
Finally, CMOs and CEOs should insist on getting “reputation risk reports as part of their cybersecurity and chief risk officer updates.” Transparent organizations that are honest and forthcoming during a cyber breach often bounce back and maintain the trust of partners and customers. Those that are not, will have a harder time.