Why Data Breach Transparency Protects BusinessJune 1, 2018
In a perfect world, data breaches wouldn’t happen. Unfortunately, the reality is that criminals are looking for any way to exploit the cybersecurity flaws of your company. Companies using data storage methods relying on big data, the cloud, and the IoT are finding all too often that they are not bulletproof and that a data breach can bring a business to a standstill or worse. However, there is one way to lessen the blow of a data breach.
Disclosing to your customers that a data breach has happened and exhibiting total transparency afterward isn’t just ethical, it’s mandated. Transparency is also the only way to get your business back on track. Being open and honest when answering customer questions about a data breach will help you to regain their trust and protect your business operations.
Below are some ways that transparency protects your business and some tips on how to be transparent in the event of a data breach.
How Transparency Helps Your Business
No one trusts a business that operates in the dark. Maintaining secrecy in your business affairs automatically puts you in the suspicious category in the eyes of consumers. We are living in the days of social media, the cloud, and ever-connected devices where companies now understand the benefits of building trust through transparency.
Consumers are now able to communicate with businesses in real-time publicly through social media. If your business is transparent in its operations, this means that you hold a high degree of accountability. If there is an outcry or wrongdoing, such as a data breach, your business is not able to shy away from righting the wrongs. Consumers will recognize this accountability and will prefer the honesty and authenticity of your company.
Your business will have a much higher chance of surviving a data breach if you have the trust of your customers. In the event of a data breach, your customers will be more likely to stick with you through your recovery plan. As a business, your true colors will show in how you maintain transparency in creating your recovery plan.
The Hartford explains the crucial role transparency plays in a business’s recovery plan, and keeping your customers’ trust in the event of a data breach when they say, "customers want to know that the business entrusted with their vital information has taken responsibility for any problems and is doing everything possible to secure their personal information and fix the breach or attack."
It is in these circumstances that customers will choose to stick with your business or leave. If your company has maintained transparency through these hard times, customers are more likely to understand and accept the mistakes, and your business will weather the storm.
Imagine if your data was stolen from a company you trusted. Now imagine how you would feel if that company offered no explanation as to how the information was stolen, when it was taken, and what the company plans to do about securing your data. It would be incredibly frustrating if a business kept you in the dark about these matters.
It should be an ethical procedure for you to notify your customers of a data breach immediately. However, adhering to new GDPR policies, alerting your customers of a data breach is now mandated in much of business world. Customers should not have to hear that their information has been stolen through a third party.
It is not enough to just notify a customer that their data has been stolen. A genuinely transparent company will provide an explanation as to how the information was taken, what they plan to do about it, and offer solutions as to how their customers can protect themselves in the upcoming days and months.
A data breach can create panic and confusion for many of your customers. Your consumers will appreciate if you went the extra mile to provide ways in which they can gain back control of their data, finances, and privacy.
Your company has the details as to how the data breach happened, so your customers will be looking to you for direction about checking their financial statements, finding fraudulent activity, and disputing a credit report if need be. Guidance in a difficult time such as a data breach will bring some solace throughout the chaos.
No one welcomes an invasion of privacy, but this is the risk we run for the convenience of storage on the cloud and internet-connected devices. Since we are not ready to let this convenience go, and cybersecurity is continuously under attack, it makes sense to have fully transparent recovery plans in place.
Data breaches have happened before and will happen again. It is how you deal with the aftermath that will make or break your business. Transparency throughout the entire process will help your company get back on track and continue forward.
About the Author
Avery Phillips is a unicorn of a human being who loves all things relating to people and their entrepreneurial spirits. Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian.