How to Handle Your Brand’s Data Breach

Ronn Torossian
3 min readFeb 28, 2024

In today’s super-connected world, it’s not about “if” but “when” a data breach will occur. The culprits range from mastermind hackers to simple human error. It’s a tough spot for any organization, and how they respond can either secure their future or jeopardize it.

Tackle the breach

Every moment counts. Immediately lock down affected systems, shut off access, and fix vulnerabilities to prevent further data leakage. Call upon internal IT teams and cybersecurity whizzes to quickly limit the damage.

Assess the impact

Launch a thorough investigation to grasp the nature and scale of the data breach. Pinpoint what data was compromised, how many people were affected, and the potential risks involved. This teamwork spans across departments, including legal, IT, and public relations.

Alert authorities and individuals

Depending on the breach’s severity and governing regulations, fast and open communication is key. Alert legal authorities such as data protection agencies and law enforcement as per legal requirements.

Talk straight with affected people, explaining the data breach, what data was exposed, and the actions being taken to reduce risks. Offer support like credit monitoring or identity theft protection to show the company’s dedication to their welfare.

Champion transparency

Downplaying or concealing information can chip away at trust. Be forthright and honest, even when it’s tough. Share regular updates via press releases, website notices, and social media, using plain and clear language. Sidestep technical jargon to ensure everyone grasps the situation.

Promote еmpathy and аccountability

Recognize the disruption and potential risks for those affected. Show real regret and take ownership of the data breach. Highlight the company’s commitment to learning from the incident and boosting security measures to ward off future breaches.

Provide support

Do more than just talk the talk and offer tangible help. This could include credit monitoring services, identity theft protection, or password reset assistance. This goes a long way in minimizing potential financial harm and showing a commitment to their security.

Conduct a root cause analysis

Don’t just slap on a band-aid. Understand why the data breach happened. Undertake a thorough internal audit to identify weak spots in the systems, processes, and employee training. Look over logs, access controls, and security protocols to find the chinks in the armor.

Boost security measures

Deploy sturdy security solutions based on the investigation’s findings. Consider strategies like encrypting sensitive data, multi-factor authentication for user access, and routine security audits and penetration testing.

Review and refresh data practices

Take a hard look at the data collection, storage, and access policies. Limit the data the company collects, store only what’s needed, and enforce stringent access controls. Stay compliant with relevant data privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA.

Invest in employee training

Keep employees in the know about cybersecurity best practices and data security protocols. Education on phishing awareness, secure password management techniques, and reporting suspicious activity are crucial for building a strong security culture within the organization.

Engage legal counsel

Depending on the breach’s nature and severity, legal advice could be necessary to navigate data privacy laws and possible lawsuits. Talk to lawyers who spe

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Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is Chairman & Founder of 5WPR, one of America’s leading & largest PR Agencies and the Author of the best-selling PR book: "For Immediate Release"