K-Mart. Target. Home Depot. The list of businesses that have been involved in a data breach is mounting and, according to online security experts, the problem is only expected to escalate. How can you protect your business, and what should you do if a data breach does occur? Don’t deny it. Be up front and arm your call center with the information necessary to satisfy customers’ questions. Then, step back and figure out how to keep it from ever happening again.
1. Don’t Try to Hide From the Problem
First, customers have a right to know if their sensitive data has fallen into the wrong hands and, second, denying it causes a public relations nightmare. Face the problem head-on, and be completely honest with all interested parties about exactly what information was compromised and what you plan to do to address the problem. Fortunately, most of the data stolen in these heists is usually inadequate to steal someone’s identity. But, in many cases, customers need to get new bank cards or change passwords.
2. Inform Your Call Center on How to Handle the Issue
Make sure the employees working at your call center have all of the information relative to the breach, and understand how the company is handling the situation. Callers are not just curious, they truly need to know what steps they need to take to protect themselves. In some cases, a pre-recorded message telling callers what has happened and what to do is adequate. Other, more serious, cases will require live personnel to answer the phones and handle questions.
3. Take Steps to Prevent Another Breach in the Future
Determine what caused the breach, and fix the problem. While you’re discussing this with security experts, find out what other vulnerabilities your company has that could compromise you in the future. Perhaps some databases could be kept offline, or maybe you should bring some things in-house that you’ve been storing in the cloud. Be sure your customers know you’re working hard to assure their information is kept safe in the future.
The good news is, most of the companies involved in data breaches are able to manage customer relations and recover fully from the attack.