Rising Above the Dreaded Security Breach

Rising above the dreaded security breach. Now there's a challenge. How many companies do you think wish they had cracked the code on that before they found themselves sinking in what must seem like quicksand?

To set the stage a bit more, let's start off by asking ourselves "What do we know about social media?".

Well for one it’s the go-to place for the majority to consume the content that most impacts their perception. And of course it’s also becoming more impactful with each passing day. It’s also where people congregate to commiserate on just about any topic. And as sure as the sun sets in the west, you can bet that any security breach you may suffer will be the social talk of many, many virtual towns. So, maybe, just maybe, social media is our path out of the security breach darkness.

Hint: It is. But it comes at a cost.  


Getting dirty. And loving it!

To have any shot at success, your company needs you to get dirty, purely so that it can rise up. In 

reality, the only brand that really and truly matters is that of the one with their logo printed on your paycheck. They are looking to you to address this very challenge. Thankfully, this does not mean being seen to get dirty, but rather to do so with such creativity, skill, craftsmanship, and work ethic that no one can tell that you have actually been wrestling with a virtual pig or two.

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

George Bernard Shaw

What all those negative social media trolls won’t ever appreciate is that you do, actually, like reading all of those comments. After all, it’s content. And that’s what all of those of us in marketing swarm to. And it’s all just really great data. Because hidden in all the color commentary are nuggets of inspiration. By harvesting that and working it over and over again to our advantage, we can tap into a wealth of information, such as: 

  • Hashtags: What are the hashtags that are being used. And how are they different from platform to platform? And how can we match our own content to our clear advantage? Are there different age groups or other classes that we should be reaching out to?
  • Humor: Hey, did you hear the one about…? If anyone didn’t think that a security breach can’t be funny at times, clearly hasn’t spent much time on social media. Whether it’s a spot-on meme or YouTube video, it’s safe to say that someone out there will find something funny to relate to. Of course it goes without saying that trying to flip anything like that to your advantage will require a fair amount of tact. But done right it can exponentially accelerate the brand recovery time.
  • Engagement: Anyone who posts something on social media is looking for engagement and feedback. It could be a simple “Like” or perhaps a retweet. Or even better, a sentence or two of a reply. Never before social media has such interaction been possible. And to neither recognize or take advantage of it would be a total shame.


Creative. Always.

Creativity | ZecurityAscent

When it comes to the level of content required for restoring an entire brand following a security breach, the ABCs matter. Always – Be – Creative! But such levels of daily creativity don’t come easy, do they? It takes constant dedication to the mission at hand, which means getting that mission clearly drawn up and articulated so that everyone knows what to do.


Call to Action (CTAs) for Marketing

  • Seek and ye shall find: Get to know those in IT/Information Security and solicit all the content they can deliver. If they are putting in a new firewall, have them send a picture of someone putting it in. Perhaps it’s that they just achieved a new line item or milestone in achieving the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Get some picture to represent that as well. And of course, harvest the heck out of anything that is on social media.
  • Hack your media: Armed with all the steady stream of great visual content from your community, put it into equally constant motion. Because you can’t hack the hackers, but you can and should hack YOUR media. And ‘hacking’ your media means that you are going to use it to positively impact your desired outcome. You can bet this is what the top executives and board members who are not from a marketing background already think you do anyway. This is the perfect time to show them just how right they are. And of course how great you are at it.
  • Don’t wait for an actual breach: Any breach will do, even a fictitious one. This is what tabletop exercises are all about. Build an entire playbook and, when the time is right, showcase it to the board and others who might suffer any serious material impact should things go bad. Both the CIO and CISO will be delighted with their comprehensive playbook (courtesy of Marketing), as they now have a new ally in their defensive layered stack. And this time, it’s the right layer (marketing) for what it impacts most (the corporate brand).

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Written by Kevin Peterson

Kevin Peterson is the founder and chief content officer at ZecurityAscent, where he is the combined marketing/cybersecurity thought leader in enhancing your corporate brand before a cyber crisis, so that you can quickly recover after one. His background includes over 30 years in various security-related roles (up to the Fortune 5), of which the majority are as a Silicon Valley security marketing and branding expert. Adding to this is his own professional brand as an author, blogger, speaker, and United States Air Force veteran.
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