If the worst has happened to your business and you suffered a data breach—you’re not alone. Fifty-five percent of hacks worldwide happened to businesses. Even worse, 60 percent of small companies that experience an attack will go out of business within six months.
If your business was hacked and you’re attempting to recover, you may notice that customer trust has faltered—especially if their data has been compromised. Here are some tips on how to regain customer trust after being hacked.
Commit to Enhanced Cyber Security
Cyber security should be a primary focus of your business as you move forward. Work with a trusted vendor to raise your cyber security measures and prevent an attack from happening again. Take action and set up security measures, including:
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) to allow your employees to access company resources if they are working remotely or on-the-go.
- Protect machines by installing proper antivirus and anti-malware software.
- Encrypt and password-protect your Wi-Fi network to restrict outside access.
- Install network-monitoring software that will notify you if there are any system intrusions.
- Encrypt company data to ensure it is unreadable by unauthorized parties.
- Secure ancillary devices and systems connected to your network, such as video cameras, HVAC systems, point-of-sale (POS) systems and more.
- Understand who has network access (employees, partners, contractors, etc.), and limit to only authorized individuals.
- Ensure all devices from the router and firewall, to the PCs, cameras, and printers are regularly patched and/or upgraded to ensure that known vulnerabilities are eliminated.
- Assign someone internal ownership of information security, and have outside consultants audit internal controls and systems in place at regular intervals.
Make cyber security a part of your company culture, and train all employees to follow these security practices:
- Use unique and long/complex passwords.
- Secure mobile devices and desktop computers with a password, data encryption, and remote management capabilities.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi.
- Don’t click on suspicious links or emails, and be careful when downloading new computer programs or applications.
- Contact the company’s IT department right away if you suspect your device may be compromised.
Show Your Customers You Are Trustworthy
In 2013, Target experienced a data breach that affected 41 million consumers. Hackers gained access to the retail giant’s network and stole full names, phone numbers, email addresses, payment card numbers and credit card verification codes. Target paid $18.5 million in settlement fees and provided free credit monitoring services to all customers affected by the attack.
You don’t want to experience a major data breach, but if you do, you need to share your company’s new commitment to cyber security with customers. Earn back their trust to earn back their business. Consider the following:
- React quickly and be forthcoming with information. Use your website and social media to reach beyond your regular audience.
- Send a message to your email list, highlighting your pledge to improve cyber security. Include a list of all the security updates you’ve made, and continue to follow up as you meet additional stated objectives.
- Provide a cyber security webinar for your customers that provides tips about how to protect themselves from hackers.
- Credit or identity monitoring services for those affected.
Of course, if your business hasn’t experienced a cyber attack, now is the time to make sure you are prepared. Consider these tips, and use them as a guide to help prevent a major incident.