You need to be able to navigate reputation management in this age of data privacy and cyberattacks. Your reputation is all you truly have in this world. That’s as true in business as it is in life.
The following is a contributor post from Orbit Media Co-Founder Andy Crestodina. Learn more about Andy at the end of the article.
As your reputation goes, so too goes your business. The people you’re marketing to need to know that you’re reliable and that their money and information are safe with you. If you have a reputation soiled by embarrassing leaks, it’s hard to mount a comeback.
In this digital age, when there’s so much to be said about data privacy and so much money lost to cybercrime every year, your reputation has never been more at risk. In 2021, cybercrime complaints rose 7%, and cybercriminals made off with $6.9 billion.
So how can you keep your reputation safe in this age of cybercrime? Read on to find out.
Why is Reputation Management Necessary?
Simply put, your customers need to be able to trust you. How else are they going to feel safe providing you with personal information?
In the world of reputation management, the perception of security is crucial — if prospects don’t trust your service to be secure, they won’t do business with you. For instance, on this list of the best debit cards for kids, the words “secure” and “security” appear 15 times to really drive the point home. In the financial world, where customers not only give up their information but also entrust a company with their money, emphasizing this makes a lot of sense.
Now more than ever, safety is a chief concern that plays a significant role in how the public perceives your brand. Of course, it’s not enough to just say that your company and services follow stringent security processes — you need to practice what you preach. It is always a good idea to make a detailed FAQ page or content hub about privacy and security on your website. For instance, if you tend to share case studies from your business, customers might worry about their personal information being disclosed. In that case, if you state that the company uses a synthetic data generator for research purposes, you would be able to maintain customers’ trust and build a rapport with your community.
And that also means having a disaster recovery plan in place for when the unspeakable happens and your servers get hacked. If you are the victim of a cybercrime attack and you don’t handle it the right way, you’ll suffer from bad reviews and plummeting profits.
If you have a reputation for unsecured customer data, you risk losing the majority of potential customers, as 74% of internet users in the United States are more concerned with online privacy than ever before.
How Can You Protect Your Reputation from Cyber Attacks
In today’s business world, it might seem like cyber attacks against your organization are inevitable. But there’s a lot that you can do to prevent these attacks from ever happening.
And if an attack does take place, there’s plenty you can do during and after to salvage your reputation.
Implement Concrete Procedures to Prevent Cyber Attacks
Obviously, the best way to manage your reputation in terms of cyber security is to not get attacked at all (or, when you do get attacked, successfully fight it off with excellent security measures).
With the ever-growing threat of cyberattacks and data breaches, having the proper data center infrastructure established in your company is crucial. Before customers hand over any valuable data, they need to trust that you have the proper systems in place to protect it. One way to ensure that you’re running a leak-proof operation is to implement a zero-trust model for your entire company.
Zero trust means that no one in your organization is a privileged user. Instead, they will have to verify their identities every time they log on. This also applies to devices and workstations.
If you’re using an online database to store customer information, you’re going to need a lot of high-end security features that will help you avoid leaks. This could include using a VPN, multi-factor authentication, and adopting the principle of least privilege (providing just the right amount of access for team members so they can perform their jobs).
It’s important to be preventive and get out in front of potential issues that could expose the sensitive information of your customers. Take dash cams, for example. It’s an AI-driven product that might seem to be a risky investment for data security on the service, since it stores video recording in the cloud. But if your dash cams offer protection features like identity blurring, customers can feel safer using them.
Respond Quickly in the Event of a Cyber Attack
In the event that a cyberattack hits your business, it’s possible to soften the blow by dealing with it in the right way.
While the attack is underway, it’s important to inform all your internal stakeholders. You have to let them know how you’re responding and what you’re doing to keep sensitive data secure.
Make sure that you’re keeping track of any systems that are compromised and tracking how this attack started. By figuring out where the hack originated, you can better combat the situation and tighten security in the future to prevent it from happening again.
Keep a log of all data that has been taken or corrupted. You’ll need a full accounting to recover with your reputation intact. This information will need to be passed along to your marketing or PR department for the next step.
Control the Narrative and Don’t Lie After a Cyber Attack
After an attack has occurred, it’s important to have a conversation with your customers and stakeholders in a press conference, blog post, or press release.
What’s important here is to be upfront about everything and not try to hide that this happened. If you’re found out, your reputation will be completely tarnished. In 2016, the ride-sharing company Uber attempted to not only hide a major data breach from the public but it paid the hackers a $100,000 ransom to delete the data.
In this attack, 25 million customers and drivers had their data stolen. After Uber tried to cover it up for a year (unsuccessfully), it was forced to pay out $148 million to settle claims associated with the breach.
As you can see in the image above, public perception of Uber fell sharply after this breach was discovered and hasn’t managed to bounce fully back since.
When something like this happens, people will be upset, and they’re going to have questions. These might not be pleasant questions. Your role here is to answer them and let the public know what you’re doing to ensure that this never happens again.
By doing this, you’ll be able to salvage your reputation and restore the public’s trust in you.
If you want to maintain profitability, you must keep your reputation intact. Business reputations are so vulnerable, with consumer paranoia over data privacy at an all-time high and cybercriminals standing in the wings, ready to pounce.
By following this helpful guide, you can make sure that you’re properly protecting your reputation in the era of cybercrime.
Author: Andy Crestodina
Andy’s the co-founder of Orbit Media, an award-winning 40-person digital agency in Chicago.
Over the past 20 years, Andy has provided digital marketing advice to 1000+ businesses and written 500+ articles on content strategy, SEO, visitor psychology, and Analytics. He’s also the author of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing.