Stakeholder communications during a crisis

October 12, 2018

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When Maersk, a global leader in shipping and logistics, was hit by the NotPetya ransomware attack in 2017, it not only found itself unable to manage day-to-day operations efficiently, but also unable to effectively inform the markets and its stakeholders of its response.

Combined, the financial impact of NotPetya on Maersk is estimated to have exceeded USD$300m. German pharmaceutical giant Merck and delivery company FedEx (through its European subsidiary TNT Express) reported lost revenue of $870m and $400m respectively due to the same attack (source).

If this was to happen to you, and your network was compromised by malicious attack (or it was compromised, or simply became unavailable through a system outage), how would you respond?

Focus on key stakeholders

While your immediate priority is to maintain business operations and resolve the issue, your ability to recover will also be decided by the effectiveness of your communications with key stakeholders.

So, if the worst was to happen to you, here are the four key stakeholder groups that you absolutely must keep informed during any incident.

  1. Customers and partners: You don’t want your key partners and customers to learn about an issue through the press, especially if an incident is likely to impact their own business performance. It’s important to build confidence and provide key customers with the reassurance that they need.
  2. The company board: Your board will be expecting regular updates, and reassurance that you and your team are executing the business continuity plan efficiently.
  3. Press and media: In a world of social media, news travels fast. Depending on the nature of your business, and the severity of the issue, your communications team will need to be on standby to manage press enquiries.
  4. Employees: When you’re busy managing a crisis, it’s easy to forget that your employees expect regular updates too. Depending on the type of the incident it might not even be safe for them to return to work, so having a trusted and always available communication channel is vital.

How do you communicate if the network is down?

Of course, in the event of your network being unavailable, it's likely that your regular communications tools (such as email), will be unavailable too. In the case of Maersk all employee workstations were also compromised and offline.

It’s important that the organization doesn't rely on less secure consumer-grade messaging apps, or personal email accounts during this time. This leads to shadow IT taking over what is already a critical situation.

Remember, there’s a very real chance that your business could be at a greater risk of eavesdropping and information being leaked in an uncontrolled manner; so now’s not the time to compromise on security.

That’s why you need to ensure your business continuity plan makes provision for an always-available collaboration app that sits externally to your network.

Combine complete security with the flexibility to keep your stakeholders engaged.

Wire Red is the most trusted, secure end-to-end encrypted communication and collaboration solution available, and the perfect choice for businesses looking to ensure business continuity in the event of disruption.

It comes with everything you need for crisis communication and recovery, and it’s pre-provisioned, so you’re always ready to ensure business readiness and recovery.

Morten Brøgger, CEO, Wire


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