The risk of cyberattacks has grown with increased digitalisation. According to a study by Digitalswitzerland, one in four SMEs is affected by an attack. Good preparation and the right response can protect your data and your reputation. These three steps will help you to react correctly across all stages of an attack:
Step 1: Prepare for a possible cyberattack
- Identify key stakeholders: During the crisis, it must be clear who you need to inform.
- Create a schedule: In a crisis, time is a precious commodity. Thanks to the schedule, you are prepared for the procedure and can react more quickly.
- Involve the whole team: Prepare your employees mentally and practically.
- During a cyberattack, management, IT, the legal department, and communications must work closely together to share information quickly and efficiently. Coordinate your approach in advance to increase the speed and effectiveness of your response.
Step 2: Respond quickly and clearly during the cyberattack
- Evaluate the crisis: What is your role within the situation? You should answer this question before preparing the content of your communication.
- Formulate your key message: It should support your communication objective and be repeated throughout your communication. Adapt the message to the various stakeholders and communication channels.
- Respond often and clearly: Your stakeholders should always be informed about the latest developments. Communicate in a way that everyone will understand. Advise, even if you do not have 100% of the information. It’s better to update stakeholders as new information is received.
Step 3: Conduct a post-crisis review and identify key learnings
- Process the events: Given the time pressure during the crisis, you can only analyse the incidents and actions in retrospect. Are there aspects that you would approach differently in future?
- Obtain feedback from employees: Many staff members are active during the crisis. Approach them and find out their perspectives and suggestions.
- Prepare and present the findings and key learnings so that you can optimise your approach if subjected to another attack.
Lina Lanz has worked on communications campaigns impacting Swiss society and business. These include the Covid vaccination campaign for Zurich Health Department and cybersecurity communications for the Swiss Armed Forces. She provides strategic communications advice to local and international clients across Financial Services, Healthcare and ICT.