NEW YORK: McAfee, the cybersecurity firm, was hacked on LinkedIn last year, an event that reaffirmed the importance of even the most expert of brands preparing for the inevitably of this threat.

Allison Cerra, McAfee’s CMO, discussed this subject at BRITE 2018, a conference held by The Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School.

“There’s only three certainties in life that I know of: death, taxes and hacks. Luckily, you can prepare for all three,” she said. (For more details, read WARC’s in-depth report: Getting hacked on LinkedIn: Brand lessons from McAfee.)

McAfee itself experienced this reality last year, when its brand page on LinkedIn was hacked. Alongside uploading a lewd image to replace the company’s logo, the digital interloper replaced the company’s description with obscene text.

While McAfee rapidly managed to reclaim control of its LinkedIn page – which had been taken over after the details of an agency staff member with access privileges were compromised – the incident reaffirmed many of its core principles.

The brand, for example, conducted “a full inventory of every marketing third party with whom we did business” that covered password management, administrator privileges and adding extra layers of security authentication.

Additionally, the compromising of its LinkedIn account demonstrated the importance of senior leaders signing off the strategic plans to combat hacks long before they are needed, as every second is vital when a crisis hits.

“You want to have that buy-in well in advance [and] at the ready before you’re ever attacked so that you can quickly execute and mobilise when you’re on borrowed time,” continued Cerra.

Communications, legal and IT functions will need to work together when an emergency of this type arises to ensure a truly cohesive response that satisfies legislative requirements and public concerns alike.

“Your job sitting around that table is to represent the brand – and to make sure you’re representing the message that will be clear, concise and actionable for the users impacted,” Cerra observed.

Legislation dictates when companies must disclose a hack – for instance, if it involves the financial information of customers – and the timeframe for doing so.

But it is important for marketers to consider going above and beyond the legal stipulations, as McAfee did in areas such as disclosure. “Your response plan, however, should mirror your brand and cultural values,” Cerra said.

Sourced from WARC