Role of Crisis Communication in Cybersecurity
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Role of Crisis Communication in Cybersecurity

  • Incident Response
  • Crisis Communication

Posted on: August 31, 2021

Role of Crisis Communication in Cybersecurity

While addressing a crisis, it is important to ensure that the communication and notification pertaining to the crisis is properly conveyed via the right channels before incorrect information starts to propagate. For instance, if a breach occurs, security teams need to determine its cause, data exposed, affected assets, and impact incurred. Ultimately, all of this information needs to reach the audience in the form of crisis communication and notification.


What is Crisis Communication?

Crisis communication is defined as the aggregation, management, and dissemination of relevant information to tackle a crisis. It involves systems, protocols, and technologies that enable an organization to successfully communicate in the event of a risk or threat. 

Preparing beforehand allows an organization to quickly and effectively communicate with relevant personnel and audience during a crisis. Sharing information with relevant people allows an organization to quickly resolve the situation, protect assets, employees, and customers, and ensure business continuity.


What is Crisis Notification?

Crisis notification refers to sending out quick alerts to either all or a select few employees or to members of an information-sharing network such as ISACs/ISAOs during an emergency, such as a major vulnerability revelation or systemic malware outbreak. It can be done by alerting employees via real-time notifications and conducting conference calls for incident response.

In the event of a cybersecurity emergency, it is important to ensure that the crisis notifications sent are relevant to the recipients. Not everyone should receive every crisis notification during an emergency as the time taken to respond will increase if every employee is flooded with immaterial information. Ideally, your system should be capable of targeting particular individuals and teams to ensure that the most critical information reaches significant people.

Significance of Crisis Communication and Notification

Organizations of all sizes, across all verticals, face an increasing number of cyber threats. Due to the immediate reaction of the online media today, it is more imperative than ever for companies to quickly respond when a crisis occurs. Crisis communication is important to connect a wide range of stakeholders, such as the crisis management team, employees, first responders, security personnel, and government officials with each other. During a crisis, communication should be in real-time. This ensures that employees and other stakeholders receive the most updated information in the form of crisis notification in an emergency situation. 

Another important aspect of crisis communication is that the information should be accessible from any location. When employees are away from their desks or office location, emails and manual phone tree systems prove ineffective for crisis communications. In such cases, using mobile technology is more effective as it moves along with the user. By using a mobile-enabled information sharing platform, you can receive threat alerting and any other crisis notification regardless of your location and improve your situational awareness. The mobile delivery channel allows organizations to strengthen their defense by providing real-time crisis notification.

To be able to quickly respond to cyberattacks, deliver steady communication to all the stakeholders, and take prompt actions, it is important to have a crisis management plan in place.


Key Considerations for a Crisis Management Plan


Preparedness 

An organization can tackle any form of incident or crisis if it is well prepared with its resources. Preparedness requires an organization to review its crisis framework, assess its end-to-end response, security controls and procedures, and governance capabilities. As part of a crisis management plan, organizations must design relevant playbooks to support their leadership and technical teams in responding to serious incidents.


Response

A poor response can even lead to a crisis. For improved response, organizations must support their response and recovery teams with skilled crisis managers who can lead teams and processes for effective crisis management. Crisis managers can advise the team on key considerations for response and how to implement organizational values and strategies for quick and effective recovery.


Recovery

An organization must be able to recover itself after a crisis. Post-crisis steps must include the root cause analysis, degree of impact, action timelines, investigation, containment, strategies, and decision making for recovery.


Being Crisis-Ready

In order to be crisis-ready, organizations need to proactively identify, mitigate, and monitor both existing and new risks and threats, ensuring that the required tools and technologies are in place. They must realize the gaps in their security posture and accordingly address them thereby, continuously strengthening their crisis capabilities. Moreover, they must train their employees as well as crisis responders and assign them roles and responsibilities to define response priorities. Last but not the least, it is imperative for them to encourage their organizational culture, promoting remedial actions and informed decision-making in the event of a crisis. 


Conclusion

It is important for organizations to leverage situational awareness platforms that can help employees and relevant audiences receive crisis notifications in real-time in any location, at any time of the day. The crisis management team can quickly disseminate relevant information throughout the event of any crisis. As a result, employees in different roles in an organization will be equipped with relevant information to take necessary actions. This helps in emergency response, protecting people, keeping all the assets safe, and minimizing lost productivity.

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