The Role of Comms in a Crisis

Last week was Atlanta Cyberweek – hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Baker Donnelson. The week provided insight into the Georgia cybersecurity ecosystem and offered attendees the opportunity to have real-world practice in the ever-evolving cyber security landscape. 

On October 11, I was fortunate enough to participate as a “guiding source” along with Doug Hudson: Coalfire, Dan Schroeder: Aprio, Evan Daniels: NCR and Justin Daniels, Baker Donnelson in a cyber security drill.  Tech Alpharetta invited audience members to live an angst-filled 90 minutes as CEOs of a company that was discovering, reacting to and managing a cyber security incident —without all the facts and ever-increasing implications.

Bad things happen, and incidents unfold in an imperfect way. A crisis often (always) presents itself with little to no warning and never with full facts. If you are in business, plan on something going wrong —it could be an isolated incident or escalate to a full-scale disaster that could impact life or the life of your business. Something will happen.

Be prepared.

Have your crisis team in place. Our panel offered our “CEOs” guidance on legal, communications, tech forensics, risk, finance…easy things. Right? Let the nature of your business determine the resources you need in place when a crisis arises. Have them on speed dial. Have a plan. If you need outside resources, consider a minimal retainer to have vendors at the ready who know your business.  A high-level quarterly touch-base with resources is an investment that can pay dividends when a crisis hits. The preexisting knowledge base will save you hours. And give you a sense of partnership.

72 Hours.

72 Hours is your window. That’s it. And that’s often generous in today’s always-on world. Immediately, you need an umbrella. Shield yourself while you are in rapid discovery mode. Communications can guide you on the channels and initial response – working in tandem with internal and external resources. If you want more detail on the mechanics of how we approach the 72-hours widow, check out Trevelinokeller.com/crisis72/.

Be prepared. Be armed with resources and a process. Sure, you can hope for all to go 100 percent right…but you should plan for something to go wrong.
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