Cyber Security Breach

Not-for-profit agency

Completed: 2018
Services: Crisis Communications, Public Relations, Communications

Are you prepared for a cyber-attack?

This is a prime example of a hard-hitting, quick thinking specialized communications plan. Is your organization ready to deal with a cyber-attack? We are. In under 12 hours, The Adams Agency drafted, executed and delivered a strategic plan for an Edmonton-based non-for-profit hit hard by a serious data breach. We charted both internal and external communication strategies to ensure everyone – from the affected clients to the public to the staff – received the information they needed in a timely and concise manner. The case was further complicated by the fact that the suspected cyber security breach was uncovered by a senior manager several months after it had occurred, and it had not been properly reported to the provincial authorities or potentially affected stakeholders.

Highlights & results

We know exactly what to do in crises like this, and our plans drew heavily on previous experience dealing with cyber breaches. First, The Adams Agency conducted a comprehensive audit of what had occurred, and then constructed a detailed incident timeline so that there would be no more surprises down the road for the organization. 

Full transparency and concise, plain language were key in ensuring staff and the public were brought up to speed on what exactly happened and what needed to happen next.

By clearly detailing how the affected stakeholders were being assisted, and how the not-for-profit was dealing with the breach, the incident gladly received minimal media attention. The client could then concentrate on helping affected stakeholders and staff fix operational gaps and shortcomings to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. The organization’s reputation as a trusted not-for-profit remains intact. 

“We didn’t know what to do and it was clear we didn’t, because when we tried to handle our crisis ourselves, we just made it worse. Thankfully, The Adams Agency came in and took control of the situation. As hard as it was, we needed an outside perspective to make things clear again. It didn’t happen overnight, but thanks to their team, we stopped panicking and were focused. We’ve been able to repair our reputation and re-earn the trust of the public and our donors.”
- Senior Leader
Not-for-Profit, Edmonton Alberta