Security Magazine: The Do’s and Don’ts of Communicating a Data Breach

On May 23, 2022, NetSPI Head of Product, Cody Chamberlain, published an article in Security Magazine called The Do’s and Don’ts of Communicating a Data Breach. Preview the article below, or read the full article online.


Data breaches are occurring more frequently than ever before, even when organizations have the best security precautions in place. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2021 Data Breach Report, data breaches rose 68% from the previous year, reaching the highest number ever reported. That said, while a cyberattack may be out of an organization’s control, one thing it can and should control is how it communicates a breach.

Many corporations have developed canned responses to breaches along the lines of “We identified a breach of our systems, and you have been identified as being impacted. Your security is of the utmost importance to us, so we’re providing you with free monitoring.” 

However, more sophisticated and impactful breaches need a more detailed response plan. One that focuses on getting systems back online and defines what steps the organization will take to prevent another breach from occurring. There are three key elements to implementing a successful data breach communication strategy; an incident response plan, consistent communication, and transparency. 

Lean into the Incident Response Plan

An incident response plan is one of the most critical components of the customer notification process, as it enables an organization to acknowledge they’ve fallen victim to an attack, but also take ownership and focus on the customer.

Following a data breach, the customer ultimately wants to know three things: if their data has been stolen, the risk to the data at the time of the incident, and if they need to take additional action with the government or law enforcement to assist in the investigation. 

The incident response plan should provide accurate and timely information that accounts for all these customer questions and keeps their best interests in mind. This plan must be communicated and adopted beyond security and IT teams by a crisis management team that extends across all departments. Every person in the communications chain must report their findings to the executive level for all angles and aspects of the breach to be considered. 

An organization must also proactively work with legal and finance teams to understand which regulatory bodies, government entities, and insurance agencies to notify. Once all information is made clear, the organization can convey the details of the incident to the customer in a quick and straightforward manner, and, in high-profile situations, present the case to the public. 

Read the full article online.

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