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I'm Kelcey Blanks, a 23-year-old public relations/marketing professional. I'm obsessed with all things social media. My family, friends and pup make my world go 'round. Clothes, jewelry and shoes make me happier than a kid on Christmas. And chances are I'm already planning my next meal in my head. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Public Relations: Becoming More Prepared for Security Breaches

It seems as though breaching customers’ privacy is becoming more and more common for companies. I was just one of the many Target customers who had credit card information hacked between November and December of 2013. It is now being reported that over 110 million cards were affected by the breach in security. Information including card number, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, names and address were accessed during the process and could now be affecting one-third of the United States population.

The entire situation poorly affected Target’s well-known and respected reputation that it had with its customers and the United States population. After the breach in privacy, many loyal Target shoppers were forced to go elsewhere for shopping wants and needs, without worry of having their information accessed. A store that was once positioned highly in the mind of the consumer has now sunk to the bottom because of a security violation that could have been completely avoided.

Picture retrieved from Target

But are companies now planning for attacks on security to better their reputation?

Picture retrieved from Media Bistro 

According to a recent report by The Economist, that is exactly what happening. Some companies are viewing breaches in privacy as an unavoidable incident that is bound to happen at some point in the future anyway, instead of trying to do everything it can to prevent it from happening and saving the company and its customers future harm.

The majority of business have recently put in to effect a security plan, to be better prepared just incase something does go wrong. Although it does seem like a smart idea to have a back-up plan for security violations, companies are relying solely on it instead of other planning.

An article of the report on PR Newser expressed that company executives believed these plans would help to improve the reputation if a breach in security were to disrupt the company.

According to the article:
  • Two thirds of execs think that effective responses to such incidents can improve their corporate reputations
  • 60% of orgs polled now have formal response strategies in place
  • Yet, while 73% of orgs feel “somewhat prepared“, only 17% of business leaders surveyed feel “fully prepared” to address breaches
(Information retrieved from Media Bistro)

From a public relation standpoint, it seems in the best interest of the company and its stakeholders to protect them at all cost. A plan to protect both interests should be in tact and set by company executives.

According to the article, though, hackers are not responsible for the majority of violations in security. Twenty-nine percent are due to system outages and 27 percent because of loss of data. So maybe if hackers aren’t the main issue, the company should pay more attention on being responsible with its information and making sure it is safely backed up incase of system outage or power failure.

Planning for emergencies and breaches in security or privacy is a good idea, but the reputation won’t need to be managed if the company remains responsible and smart with its information and customers.


Reisinger, D. (2014, January 10). Yikes! Target's data breach now could affect 110M people. In CNet. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57617034-83/yikes-targets-data-breach-now-could-affect-110m-people/

Coffee, P. (2014, March 21). More Companies Now Plan to Use Cyberattacks to Enhance Their Reputations. In PR Newser. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/more-companies-now-plan-to-use-cyberattacks-to-enhance-their-reputations_b88419

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