How Should Your Business Respond to a Crisis?

When Ashley Madison, the infidelity website, was attacked by hackers in 2015, there were millions of users around the world who were understandably anxious. The business, which acts as a middleman for married people who want to have affairs, had all its customers’ data stolen. The information was then released online. Names, passwords and addresses were just some of the data that was made available for public viewing.

Although it was a very bad time for the users of the website, the company faced a crisis of its own. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission), a US agency, decided that the business did not take enough preventative measures to protect the users before and after the hack.

Whilst Ashley Madison has since told the BBC that the company has overhauled all their systems, it brings up the question for other businesses, and how they plan to respond to a financial scandal, cyber-attack or other issues.

Act Quickly

The UK government confirmed in 2016 that almost two-thirds of some of the largest companies in Britain had experienced a cyber-attack within the previous 12 months. This means that any business that has an online presence must be prepared in case a hacker breached their system.

IT experts agree that business owners can make their websites secure, but it is virtually impossible to make a website 100% secure. Fortunately, Page Group, an UK employment agency knew how to react when the company’s data was compromised in the cloud storage. The company alerted its IT vendor and the team was able to quickly review the problem and provide solutions for the next course of action.

Always remember to put the needs of your customers first.

Provide Concise and Clear Information

Crisis management experts say that it is essential for a business to respond very fast to a crisis. Although the crisis has a pace of its own, as a business owner, you must move faster. This may mean that you need to use to verify some email addresses on your list so you can contact customers.

Companies must be honest about the crisis that is affecting the business, especially if the company is at fault. This is usually the case with financial scandals. Provide information to the customers about what happened and the protocols that are in place to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future.

Who is in Charge During a Crisis?

In December 2015, the Jorvik Viking Centre in York suffered a major flood. The flood was the centre’s biggest ever crisis. The flood caused severe damage to the centre. The director of attraction stated that employees worked very hard to make sure all of the precious artefacts were removed before they were damaged.

The moral here is that every company must have a team in place that can quickly assist, provide advice and handle the different elements of crisis recovery. Due to the diligence and quick reactions of the staff, the centre is scheduled to reopen in April 2017.

Chief executives, business owners and IT experts should always remain vigilant when it comes to cyber security. They must also consistently invest in security and privacy safeguards.


Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on

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