What PR Professionals Need To Know About Cybersecurity

As a PR professional, your role involves managing and protecting the reputation of your organisation or clients. In today’s digital age, cybersecurity actually plays a crucial role in maintaining that reputation. A single cybersecurity incident can have severe consequences, including reputational damage, financial loss, and even legal repercussions.

To effectively navigate this landscape and safeguard your organisation’s image, it’s essential to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge about cybersecurity best practices. In this article, we’ll outline the key aspects of cybersecurity that all PR professionals need to be aware of to mitigate potential risks effectively.

What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, or destruction. It involves implementing a range of measures and technologies to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats and attacks in order to protect any confidential information and resources in an organisation’s digital domain. It’s essential in safeguarding companies, individuals, and critical infrastructures from the risks posed by cybercriminals and malicious actors in the digital world.

What Do PR Professionals Need To Know About Cybersecurity?

It may seem as though cybersecurity is only a concern for an organisation’s IT support team, but it is incredibly important for all departments within an organisation to have a firm grasp on cybersecurity, including PR. Keep reading as we outline below 3 things all PR professionals need to know about cybersecurity.

How To Understand Cyber Threats

To protect your organisation’s reputation, you must grasp the different types of cyber threats it may face. Cybercriminals employ various tactics, including phishing attacks, malware infections, ransomware, and data breaches. Phishing attacks, for example, involve tricking individuals into divulging sensitive information through deceptive emails or websites.

Malware infections occur when malicious software infiltrates computer systems, enabling unauthorised access or data theft. Ransomware is a particularly damaging type of malware that encrypts valuable files and demands a ransom for their release. Data breaches, on the other hand, involve unauthorised access to sensitive information and legal consequences.

Familiarising yourself with these common threats is crucial to develop a proactive approach to mitigating risks. Stay updated on the latest trends in cybersecurity to stay one step ahead of potential attackers. Cybercriminals continuously adapt their strategies, so it’s vital to remain vigilant and understand the evolving threat landscape.

How To Safeguard Sensitive Information

As a PR professional, you handle sensitive information that must be protected from unauthorised access. This information may include corporate strategies, product launches, customer data, or confidential agreements. Safeguarding the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of this information is paramount.

Implement Robust Security Measures

Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Encryption is another critical aspect of data protection, so ensure you encrypt sensitive files and communications to ensure that even if they are intercepted, they remain unreadable to unauthorised individuals.

Update Software

Be sure to regularly update your software and systems to patch vulnerabilities that cybercriminals may exploit. Implement firewalls and antivirus software to detect and prevent malware infections. Back up your data frequently to a secure location, ensuring that it can be restored in the event of a data loss incident.


A final way to make sure your company’s information is safe is to make sure that you and your team are well-educated on cybersecurity best practices. Conduct training sessions to raise awareness about the importance of secure online behaviour, such as avoiding suspicious links or attachments, verifying email senders, and reporting potential security incidents promptly.

How To Respond to a Crisis and Manage Incidents

Despite taking preventative measures, it’s crucial to prepare for the possibility of a cybersecurity threat. Develop a comprehensive incident response plan that outlines the necessary steps to be taken in the event of a data breach, malware attack, or other security breaches.

Define roles and responsibilities within the PR team and establish clear communication channels with other relevant departments, such as IT, legal, and executive leadership. Regularly test and update the incident response plan to ensure its effectiveness. Conduct simulated exercises to assess the team’s readiness and identify areas for improvement. Additionally, establish relationships with external PR cybersecurity experts and legal advisors who can provide guidance and support during a crisis.

The key to effective incident management is swift and transparent communication. In the event of a cybersecurity incident, PR professionals must work closely with the organisation’s leadership and legal counsel to craft accurate and timely public statements. These statements should provide relevant details about the incident, actions taken to mitigate the impact, and steps the organisation is taking to prevent future occurrences. Transparency builds trust and helps minimise reputational damage. 

How Important is Cybersecurity in PR?

Cybersecurity is a critical component of PR professionals’ responsibilities in today’s digital landscape. Understanding cyber threats, safeguarding sensitive information, and implementing effective incident management strategies are essential to protect your organisation’s reputation.

By staying informed about emerging cybersecurity trends, continuously improving security measures, and preparing for potential incidents, PR professionals can effectively navigate the complex and ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape. Proactive efforts in cybersecurity not only safeguard an organisation’s image but also instil confidence among stakeholders, clients, and the public.