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Can you Regain Customer Trust After Being Hacked?

 

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We featured a story in our recent newsletter about the British Airways data hack which resulted in thousands of compromised customer records.  This incident affected both their website and app, exposing personal details including credit card numbers.  An even scarier incident happened just one month prior, Air Canada suffered a data breach which not only exposed personal data including payment details but also passport and other travel information of more than 20,000 app users.   Can you imagine the impact this sort of data breach would have on your business's day to day operations and reputation?

Gaining customer trust is a huge ordeal. By offering user friendly websites and applications, you offer products and services to potential consumers 24 hours a day.  What kind of experience are you offering your consumers online?  If your customers are entering their personal information through your web portal or processing payments online, there are many cybersecurity risks to consider.  Convenience does not outweigh security.  Consumers are increasingly wary as incidents like the British airways data hack continue to occur. The bottom line is, whether the data is stolen or breached, the customer is not likely to trust your company after an incident compromises their personal data.  The good news is, you can earn your customer’s trust back!   Here's what you can do:

1. Get Cybersecure!

Cybersecurity service providers can help you conduct a comprehensive risk assessment.  These assessments will expose potential vulnerabilities in your office, data and security plan.  Did you know that you may have a legal obligation to complete an annual risk assessment?  Risk Assessments should be documented and their findings should be kept in a log with the steps for remediation. 

2. Be Aggressive!   

Bring in someone who can test your system for vulnerabilities.Hackers are always finding new vulnerabilities. Professional cybersecurity services use techniques like penetration testing and phishing to identify potential weaknesses and help you fix them.

Hackers pose  a serious threat to your business's data including trade secrets, client lists, personal client data, financial data and other confidential data.  Hackers use techniques like email phishing scams, malware and network hacking to gain access to and steal your data.  Find out how they might be able to get in and stop them.  In addition to testing for external vulnerabilities, you can conduct a phishing test to identify which of your employees are likely to fall prey to a phishing scam. Here are 8 Tips for an Effective Phishing Test at your organization.

As part of your technology roadmap, you can invest in advanced technologies that are taking over cybersecurity these days like artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain technology. Learn more about blockchain technology in our free whitepaper below.

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3.Cybersecurity is ongoing 

There is no one and done cybersecurity step.  Keep your cybersecurity professionals close to stay proactive in preventing a data breach.  Your data is always going to be at risk, so your protection always needs to be checked and tested.  October is Cybersecurity Month, and it's a great reminder to remind your employees and check their cyber hygiene.

4. Honesty is the best policy!

Don’t wait for the news to grip the world with scary numbers of stolen data sets.  Contact your customers right away even if you aren’t sure if their data was included.  Send out those social media admissions before the media blows up about it!  By being the bearer of bad news, your customers know you care and you aren’t trying to hide anything.  Tell them about the Cybersecurity measures you are taking and exactly what you are doing to correct the data breach and avoid a repeat incident.   

5. We’re in this together

Walk through the healing process with your customers.  Offering promotions, discounts or freebies as a "sorry" alone might not be as effective as sharing your hard learned lessons.  Consider hosting an educational webinar about cybersecurity to provide tips for your customers to stay secure no matter where they go online. Educate your customers on recognizing spoofed websites, phishing campaigns and give them the knowledge the need to keep their personal data secure in the future.

 

A data breach or hacking incident is likely to be an embarrassing ordeal for you and your customers.  Keep your cool and maintain pride in your company, employees, products and services. Cybersecurity has become an essential component of running a business.  Prioritize your risk strategy and stay up to date on your action plan for incident response.  Sometimes asking for help is the best way to correct a mistake, don't be afraid to reach out to a cybersecurity professional for help.

Carrin Harris
Carrin Harris

Carrin Harris has an Associates degree in Business management. She has over 12 years of experience working in technology and marketing. She currently works at 24By7Security in the role of Office Manager and Inbound Marketing Specialist.

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