Crisis Team Helps Counter Increasing Risk and Impact of Cyber Threats with Agency-friendly Digital Ethics, Cyber Law and Reputation Management Services

Crisis Team Named Global Startup of the Week by theCUBE

LONDON, June 5th, 2019 – Announcing the launch of The Crisis Team (crisisteam.co.uk), the world’s first specialist digital ethics and cyber incident communications agency.

The Crisis Team will help in-house and agency teams counter the increasing risk and impact of cyber incidents by providing them with access to an elite team of internationally-renown experts in digital ethics, cyber law and reputation management.

As the Equifax and Marriott incidents have shown, organisations in all sectors are experiencing escalating cyber risk, not just the tech sector. The Crisis Team works with in-house legal and comms teams, as well as retained agencies, to provide expert cyber response resources when they are needed most.

“Organisations are aware of the cyber threat, but most are inadequately prepared. Waiting until a crisis occurs before thinking of crisis management is like waiting until you are drowning before thinking of learning to swim,” said Bill Mew, founder and CEO of The Crisis Team and the world’s top social media influencer for data ethics and privacy. “It’s not worth taking this risk. After all the cost of remediation, regulatory fines, litigation and reputation damage if you don’t get it right, could be immense.”

Nearly two years after suffering a massive data breach and failing to manage the impact effectively, credit bureau Equifax is still paying out for settlements and legal fees.

The costs associated with its 2017 cybersecurity incident have reached over $1.4 billion, including technology investments, professional services, staffing, regulatory sanctions and legal fees. Its reputation has also been tarnished, with its brand is now synonymous with the hazards of data breaches.

“No organisation is 100% cyber-secure. Failing to prepare with crisis simulations and training that put your team under stress in the most realistic possible way, is akin to preparing to fail, as your team simply isn’t going to hold up when a real crisis hits,” explained Mew. “You wouldn’t want a surgeon to operate on you that hadn’t rehearsed or trained in this kind of surgery, and when your life is on the line you don’t want to settle for anyone but the most expert surgeon available. In cyber crisis management terms – that’s us.”

The Crisis Team’s digital ethics services enable in-house teams to mitigate the chances of a cyber incident and its scenario planning and crisis simulation exercises help them prepare so as to minimise the impact if and when an incident does occur. These services are not only available directly to end clients, but can also be white labelled and resold by PR agencies, cyber insurers and others organisations that want to protect or assist their clients, but wouldn’t be able to permanently retain such specialist skills themselves.

The Crisis Team has already received recognition from theCube and SiliconANGLE, which chose to feature Mew and The Crisis Team as the global ‘Startup of the Week’ following the team’s debut at the AWS Summit London.

The team’s services include:

Digital Ethics: advisory services to help organisations adopt a culture of digital ethics and cyber incident readiness – from education and cultural change management to scenario planning and crisis simulation exercises.

Organisations that have a culture that supports business ethics and in particular digital ethics (including data privacy and security), and that are prepared for the worst, are not only less likely to experience a data breach, but are also better able to respond in the event of one.

Cyber Law: working with elite legal services group the ELIAS Partnership to rapidly formulate a legally defensible position for clients that have been or could be impacted by a cyber incident.

ELIAS Partnership’s chairman Dean Armstrong QC is a leading authority on cyber and data law and is head of cyber at 36 Group. 35 Group has a team of five cyber law experts and an extended legal team of 140 based in the UK, EU, Dubai and Singapore.

“We help organisations and senior managers achieve a legally defensible position in face of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) – both before any potential investigation and in the event of an investigation by national Data Protection Authorities (DPAs),” explained Richard Dutton, director of the ELIAS Partnership.

Reputation Management: working with an organisation’s own PR and legal team to minimise reputation risk and mitigate reputation damage.

Data privacy breaches are high on the media radar and will inevitably attract considerable coverage, but unlike in an armed robbery where the thieves would get the blame, in a cyber attack it is the organisation impacted that always gets the blame. The problem is often then compounded by hysteria or misinformation. The Crisis Team works with its clients using pre-established media and analyst relationships as well as its own exclusive network of global social influencers, the FUD Busters, to convey the clients’ messages and counter any such hysteria or misinformation.

“Like it or not, data security risks have entered the Reputation Management and Crisis Communications field – and have become today’s top reputation risk,” added Philippe Borremans, board member of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) and a reputation risk specialist who has worked for organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). “With a clear shift in consumer perception, what used to be an operational risk, is now a clear and present reputation one. It is time to plan for the ‘when’, not the ‘if’ – so make sure your crisis communications plans are up to date and take into account data security and ethics.”

A paper by Borremans and Mew “Brands, Trust and Digital Ethics” was featured in the IPRA Journal.

Traditional crisis management tactics simply doesn’t work in a cyber incident:

“At a time when we are more interconnected and more vulnerable than we have ever been, we are seeing the number of attacks rise exponentially. This is leading to ever more breaches, rising reputation risk and a massive wave of fines and litigation,” commented Mew. Today the biggest threat to most organisations and most brands is a major data leak, outage or breach. It could be caused by a hacker or even by a careless or disgruntled member of staff. And it could happen at any moment. Unfortunately, traditional crisis management agencies are preparing their clients for yesterday’s problems, using methods there are inappropriate following a cyber incident.”

With hefty retainers and overheads, traditional crisis management agencies focus on containment until a story breaks, followed by a swift transition to ‘tell it all, tell it fast’. GDPR mandates prompt disclosure making containment impossible and the ‘mea culpa’ approach assumes that if you show empathy then you’ll gain sympathy. This simply doesn’t work in a cyber incident, where organisations are always held to blame. A whole new approach is required. Impacted organisations need an elite team of cyber specialists that can move swiftly to do everything from advising them on their legal exposure to leveraging global influencer networks to counter any hysteria and misinformation.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:

The Crisis Team (www.crisisteam.co.uk) is a wholly owned operating division of Mew Era Consulting Ltd.

Bill Mew is the world’s top social media influencer for data ethics and privacy. He was formerly global comms leader for IBM’s Financial Services Sector and led IBM’s global response to numerous banking systems outages and cyber incidents as well as to the global financial crisis.

Mew also appears almost weekly on broadcast TV/Radio (BBC, RT, etc) as an expert on digital ethics, data privacy, social media regulation and digital transformation – more broadcast airtime than almost any other UK technologist. He and the team use this platform and their social reach to promote their clients’ issues and agendas and counter hysteria and misinformation following an incident.

Mew will also be providing one of the main keynote presentations at London Tech Week, addressing: ‘Another storm on the horizon: Striking the right balance between digital transformation and digital ethics, and preparing for the next wave of regulation?’

For Media Enquiries:

Bill Mew
T: +44 7808 247932
E: bill@crisisteam.co.uk

References:

Bill Mew has been profiled by various influencer agencies as one of the top global social influencers: Onalytica profiled him as the top global privacy influencer https://buff.ly/2Cq4LMA, as did Kudobuzz https://buff.ly/2LC061S.

NodeXL and the Social Media Research Foundation listed him as the 2nd highest global govtech influencer https://buff.ly/2EiPOjI, and Telensa named him as one of the leading lights in its 2019 Top 50 Smart City Influencers list https://buff.ly/2P1DbLD.

TheCUBE spotlighted Bill Mew and The Crisis Team in its Startup of the Week feature https://buff.ly/2VZZCGZ

Dean Armstrong QC is one of the UK's leading authorities on cyber law. He is also co-author of the first comprehensive textbook on the subject - Cyber Security: Law and Practice https://buff.ly/2Ejs9gu.

See the IPRA Journal article here https://buff.ly/30rUDOJ and download a copy of the paper here https://buff.ly/2AohbDC.

Back from the International Crisis Communications Conference 2019

Back from the International Crisis Communications Conference 2019