Responding well to a cyberattack requires tight coordination with teams outside of the communication function, including legal and technology teams. Communication World staff asked George McGuire, an attorney with the firm Bond, Schoeneck and King in Syracuse, New York, who specializes in intellectual property and technology practice, to share the legal perspective on the cyberattack responses, and what legal considerations communication professionals need to build into their crisis plans.
McGuire has represented higher education institutions and private companies in a variety of data breach incidents, and has worked with public relations firms in guiding and drafting press releases concerning these events.
Communication World: What do you think PR and other communication professionals need to know about cybersecurity, and the threat of cyberattacks?
George McGuire: That the threat of cyberattacks is very real, very costly, and potentially dangerous. Also, that cyberattacks are becoming more and more frequent, and that all sorts of companies in a wide variety of industries are at risk—not just major retailers that store vast quantities of credit card data, for example
PR professionals need to know that they and their clients are not helpless against such attacks. Businesses are slowly but surely getting their hands around this threat, and there are a number of best practices and procedures that PR firms and their clients can employ proactively to defend against the threat.
Finally, in assisting a client that has suffered a possible cyberattack, it is critical that constant consultation with legal counsel and the IT professionals/consultants occurs to fully understand the legal and technical issues that lie ahead before putting a PR plan into action.
CW: In your experience, what are the most common types of cyberattacks on companies? What are types of consequences do these types of attacks have on the business?...
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