Reasons why cybersecurity has never been more important

How to deal with cybersecurity concerns?

It is simply impossible to escape it: we are facing a new digital world. Developments in recent years have clearly demonstrated the need to retain awareness of this changing world and its consequences. The arrival of digitalization has opened our eyes and minds, due to the ease of data gathering and its colossal distribution throughout our digital world. Are we able to keep track of all digital developments, or do they pass us by?

At the same time, digitalization became a threat to the protection of sensitive information and made our society vulnerable in many ways. Digitalization runs the risk of cybercrime, where every business could become a victim of a data breach for example. Many incidents have occurred around the world, many with major consequences for businesses and customers. Online data contains a large amount of privacy sensitive information, where data breach involves massive risk factors. Consequently, attention for cybersecurity can provide a serious and significant contribution to your business by avoiding potential risks.

Despite this, due to unforeseen circumstances, your business may be vulnerable and at risk of being hacked for example. Personal and privacy sensitive data are in many cases compromised as a result of incidents. In crises like this, it is extremely important to act fast and efficiently. Crisis communication is more than ‘just an option’. In terms of an effective crisis communication strategy for managing crises, communication is fundamental to maintain your business’s reputation.

Does a standard solution exist?

Either way, it would be desirable to prevent cyber attacks by guaranteeing strong protection for your business. Effective cybersecurity allows you to be well-protected against cyberattacks and threats of the digital world. It is unnecessary to emphasize that protection is not always sufficient. However, the crucial point is being aware that a lack of a strong crisis communication strategy is potentially ruinous.
To answer the above question, whether you prefer to hear it or not, a standard solution does not exist for every crisis. The extent and significance of a crisis are hard to predict, which makes it impossible to implement a crisis communication strategy generically.

Obviously, certain elements are indispensable in crisis communication and its strategy. Crisis communication hardly differs from other forms of communication, except that it has to be carried out at high speed and with extreme precision. For exactly this reason, preparedness is most essential to be ready before, during, and after the crisis. In other words, good preparation is essential and therefore the main line of crisis communication.

The key to crisis communication

In terms of cybersecurity, the prevention of cyberattacks sustains the desired situation. However, avoidance of crises is not continuously imaginable, which is simultaneously an important reason to prepare for potential major future risks for your business. So, the first key to crisis communication is being well-prepared by having a strong crisis communication strategy. This is indispensable, especially while speaking of rescuing your business and its reputation.
However, crises are characterized as unidirectional, as there is no possibility to return. This creates a huge risk of losing control over the situation, which is obviously disastrous for your business. Once happened, it is essential to retake control over the situation to preserve your company’s reputation and reduce negative affect. During crises, therefore, efficient and strong communication is significant, just as much to act quickly and decisively. Although certain strategies are known, customization of a respectable strategy is essential.
The next key to crisis communication is (re)acting, where clear and efficient communication into the outside world is crucial. Acting quickly with extreme precision is required to contain the situation and retake control. The final key to crisis communication is to repair the situation, where consequences can be minimalized due to the extent of good preparation.

This article aims to raise your awareness about the first and most important key of crisis communication: preparation. On the other hand, it is also important to be conscious of the potential risks and major consequents of cybercrime. Due to the really fast developments, it is recommended to reflect on all digital developments of this time. It is valuable to be aware that the main line of crisis communication is to be properly prepared, where the communication structures and commitments are specified and determined. Therefore, good preparation includes identifying current issues and monitoring potential crises. In other words, being prepared through having a communication strategy ready, contributes to preventing crises and therefore to keep them under control. We can support your company as a strategic partner and developer for crisis communication plans, training programs, and media preparedness. Our members use their expertise to help clients get ahead. Want to know more about this topic or our expertise? Please do not hesitate to contact our members, who are more than willing to share their experiences.

The author Sandra Woudsma is working as a consultant at the Dutch CCNE partner Van Hulzen Communicatie.

Avoiding the snowball effect

Aoibhinn Twomey, Account Director with Fuzion Communications (Ireland) and former Head of Communications at Dairygold,  about the snowstorm Beast from the East and the immense risks and consequences to the logistics and operations. How to reach farms to collect milk when the rural roads were impassable, what of the milk that couldn’t be collected? How to support suppliers when they needed their Co-Operative most? Not to mention, the day-to-day operations of the international business, the welfare of hundreds of staff, its processing and manufacturing sites, retail stores etc.

Underestimating the importance of communications in continuity planning and situation management is one of the biggest risks to a business that can have serious and long-term consequences to safety, operations, reputation, staff morale, you name it.

Please read the full article here.


Warum das Coronavirus ein “Wicked Problem“ ist

Poverty, climate change, demographic change – the coronavirus belongs to a group of global problems known as “Wicked Problems”. Our Belgian partner PM – Risk Crisis Change describes what the phenomenon of the wicked problem is about, how society reacts to it and what we should actually do in his latest blog post (available in English and Dutch).

Since the number of corona infections in Northern Italy has skyrocketed at the end of February, the virus has been spreading rapidly in Europe, but also in other parts of the world outside Asia. In the first few days, companies were particularly concerned that their own operations would be named in connection with corona-positive employees and that the brand’s reputation could suffer. But the focus of crisis prevention and communication is shifting more and more. The more the number of infected people increases the less the focus will be on individual companies.

What does this mean for crisis communication?

  1. External communication is primarily about making no mistakes, demonstrating empathy and a willingness to engage in dialogue, but also credibly underpinning with measures that the health of employees is a high priority. As long as the decision-makers follow the recommendations of the authorities, they are also on the safe side in their communications.
  2. Internal communication is highly sensitive these days. People’s nervousness will continue to rise and it is therefore important that circulars, postings and intranet contributions reach and reassure employees. Examples from the past few days show how great the fear is. There are companies in which disinfectants are stolen or colleagues are stigmatized who come to work with a cold. More than ever it is therefore important to put time and care into internal communication. Companies need to convey the feeling that they have things under control, without trivialising, and that they are seriously addressing the concerns of their employees.

In addition to the communicative dimension, manufacturing companies in particular face another challenge: Is it still possible to ensure the ability to deliver even if the situation continues to deteriorate? When trade partners ask, it is also important to provide a comprehensive account of what is being done to protect against infection and prevent crises.

Daily reassessment of measures

The spread of the coronavirus presents the entire world with completely new challenges. There are hardly any blueprints and checklists for the pandemic that need to be worked through in crisis communication according to a schedule. This makes it all the more important to act intelligently and situationally and to reassess one’s own communication strategy and action planning every day.

Camera crews filming outside the company headquarters, a mass of media enquiries and employees with a pressing need for information – when new viruses like the coronavirus run rampant and pictures also appear in the main news stories of a deserted Chinese city home to millions of people, stress levels rise in internationally active businesses and crisis units. Because epidemics like SARS or the coronavirus can completely disrupt operational processes. They can lead to temporary site closures, as in the case of the Bavarian automotive supplier. Against this backdrop, many questions arise within crisis management, including:

  • How does working alongside health authorities actually work? Who speaks to whom and when? And who has authority over whom?
  • What do we do when the virus is directly associated with the company?
  • Which course of action do I choose: only implement what has been arranged in consultation with the authorities? Or do we go above and beyond, taking additional measures that will be advantageous to our public image?
  • How best to include affected employees?
  • And how do we handle what experience shows will be a tidal wave of media interest?
  • What do pandemics actually mean for customer relations?
  • And what if the crisis team is sent into quarantine?

Crisis prevention is half the battle

In crisis communication, it is common knowledge that crisis prevention is half the battle. But are companies actually prepared for crisis situations associated with epidemics? Probably not, because events like the coronavirus are rare. Crisis management generally has more experience with crises such as classic product recalls, serious industrial accidents, or economic issues involving site closures or job losses.

Nonetheless, simple rules also apply to pandemics and can be mapped with clever crisis prevention:

    1. Categorise: what does an identified virus mean for operations? In other words: who is affected by and who is involved in the crisis situation?
    2. Responsibility: who is responsible for communication with which target group? In other words: who communicates with employees, authorities, the media, customers, suppliers and third parties, in which way and how often?
    3. Monitoring: how do we immediately know who will comment on the crisis and how, and above all, which tone they will take? How do we catch false alarms? Online monitoring tools provide assistance here.

Whenever the health authorities are involved in a crisis situation triggered by a virus, a company doesn’t necessarily maintain control of its communications. For this reason, companies should run through these kinds of cases with the authorities in good time. The current coverage of the coronavirus has brought the fact that health risks for employees present their very own crisis topic to the attention of those responsible for communications. In the actual crisis situation, adjusting to this crisis scenario means having more time available for crisis communication. In the age of global goods flows and an increasingly networked economy, crises like the coronavirus or SARS will recur. For this reason, clever crisis prevention is useful in limiting potential reputational damage, giving the crisis unit the assurance it needs to be well prepared and avoiding any blunders in the actual crisis situation.

Pollutant input into the Jagst river: E&Z assumes crisis management

Which measures lead to a successful crisis communication and how to build up a reputation protection?

After a fire accident in the Schwäbisch Hall district, a 17-kilometer pollutant plume drives along the Jagst, one of the ecologically richest rivers in Baden-Württemberg. Within the following three days it will reach the adjacent district of Hohenlohe. Politicians, resident fishermen, conservationists and the population are upset and worried about the Jagst. The media provide nationwide reports and status updates about the actions taken by responsible politicians to prevent the worst case. Read more