In the event of a data breach, companies face substantial damage to their image. How a stakeholder perceives the image of the company is vital to the company — it is everything.
Ensuring Image is Everything in a Data Breach takes Place
Rather than being disregarded as a shallow and trivial issue, realizing that the image of your company can go a long way in understanding how you view your classified data, sensitive and confidential documents and avoid or effectively handle a data breach crisis.
A damaged company image can negatively affect consumer relations; nosedive stock values and erode investor confidence. The business image is also crucial in defining the company’s relationship with various law enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies and legislators.
When a data breach takes place, the destruction done to the company’s image can result in consumer lawsuits and cause hefty fines and settlement expenses.
It could further affect how laws will be defined and passed as a result of the disaster. A damaged image could further impact the retention of the workforce, their confidence and future hiring.
If a company blunders in how it goes about repairing its image, after a data breach incident has taken place, it could also force key management and leaders to step down, as was seen in the case of Equifax.
Every data breach results in some sort of a damage, especially in the relationship between the stakeholders and the affected company. Most stakeholders generally consider the organization accountable and responsible for the data breach, which could threaten the image of the company.
In a sense, the relationship that the company develops with every stakeholder results in its corporate image. Typically, stakeholders include:
- Regulatory bodies
- Board of directors
- Legislative bodies and agencies and others
Every category of the stakeholders mentioned above has varying degrees of concerns in the event of a data breach. But, across the categories, relationships can be harmed, resulting in damaged trust. Generally, there are three factors fundamental to corporate faith. These are:
- Capability: The strength of skilfully performing a task.
- Reputation: Reliable adherence to strong values, such as faith, service, regard, selfless service, character, uprightness and spirit.
- Caring: Authentic interest for the well-being of others.
In the context of trust between a company and its stakeholders, the three factors mentioned above are intrinsically crucial.
Every breached organization typically works hard to maintain and repair its image. Generally, there are five categories of image restoration procedures. These are:
- Discarding: The entity that has experienced a data breach could deny that the incident has taken place, or that they are responsible for it.
- Avoiding blame: The breached entity could strive to avoid accountability. They could claim the event was not under their authority, or it was an accident or that they did not have the data or the ability to control the situation.
- Subduing offensiveness: The breached entity could attempt in cutting down the public’s negative feelings either through:
- Reinforcing – Highlighting positive actions and characteristics of the breached entity.
- Lessening – Assuring the public that the breached event was not as unfortunate as it seems.
- Contrasting – Emphasizing disputes between the breached event and related adverse events.
- Transcending – Placing the breached incident in a separate context.
- Assaulting another entity – Questioning the source of the allegation.
- Recompensing – Presenting compensation in the form of cash or in-kind.
- Corrective action: The breached entity begins to make revisions and modifications to restore the damage; they could also take steps to evade similar situations from taking place in the future.
- Modification: The breached entity acknowledges that they were wrong and asks for the public’s pardon.
All these image repair approaches have been employed in data breach responses in the past. In some cases, they have had a more significant effect than others.
While having the right approach to repair your organization’s image in the event of a data breach is essential, what can help is that if you are making plans to have a strategy in place, while also implementing a proactive data or document security solution to prevent a data breach from transpiring.
Using digital rights management or DRM as a document protection technology can ensure that your corporate or brand image stays secure by protecting your sensitive documents from leakage and piracy, and therefore avoiding a data risk incident from happening. Document DRM integrates encryption, content protection modules, rights management, file tracking, and watermarking in a single offering.
Given the choice of various access controls available, you can rely on DRM to ensure you can safely distribute your protected documents and that the reputation of your image and revenue stays intact.