Managing a Security Breach

The best time to manage a security breach is right now before one happens. Unfortunately, as hackers employ increasingly savvy methods of stealing information, network data breaches are happening more and more frequently to businesses of all types, putting some pretty high-profile companies and in the news. However, according to a Ponemon Institute and Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, the healthcare industry experiences more data breaches than any other business sector. The Department of Health and Human Services is required to maintain a list of healthcare companies that have had data breaches. In the past two years, 16,435,340 patient records have been illegally accessed. And only it’s getting worse. April saw 46 reported healthcare data breaches, a 48% increase over March and 67% higher than the average over the past six years.

According to the Infosec Institute, the average cost of a data breach experienced by a non-healthcare related business is $158 per stolen record. Healthcare organizations, on the other hand, are hit with an average cost of $355. According to the Infosec Institute, credit card information and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) sell for a couple of bucks on the black market, but Personal Health Information (PHI) can sell for as much as $363. The reason it’s so valuable in comparison is because, while credit cards and other financial sources can be shut down, PHI is largely unchangeable. Cybercriminals use it to target victims with frauds and scams. Other hackers use PHI to illegally get prescriptions for their own use or to sell on the black market.

The Federal HIPAA Security Rule mandates that all healthcare providers must safeguard electronic health records (EHR) by using the appropriate physical and electronic precautions to help ensure the safety of patient health information. Any breach of 500 records or more must be reported, regardless of breach methodology: hacking, accidental disclosure by an employee, lost or stolen laptops or mobile devices, or other unauthorized access.

We’ve Been Hacked! Now What?

Once the horse is already out of the barn, you’re forced into a reactive position. Being proactive is always the better route to take. However, if your systems have been breached, here are some immediate steps to take to help manage the situation and address any backlash or negative press.

The first step is to shut down systems to prevent further damage. You’ll also want to identify exactly where and how the breach happened. A lot of breaches are traced back to email attachments.

Hackers leave a trail of time stamps and code. Your IT department will be able to identify these and assess the entire system. Note: If you use SSL Certificates (which you absolutely should be) you must report the breach to your Certificate Authority.

Managing Public Fallout

The biggest hurdle in getting out in front of a data breach that has already occurred is communication and notification. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have now enacted laws that require both private and government entities to notify individuals when a security breach has occurred. 

As soon as you’ve discovered that your systems have been hacked into, it’s important that you control the message. Don’t let someone else interpret the story, and certainly don’t EVER try to cover up anything. Always be as transparent as the situation allows. A cover-up will always come back to bite you, and it will make your organization appear untrustworthy. It’s as important to inform your internal teams (IT department, any staff with patient contact, PR and marketing department for crisis communications) as it is to broadcast the message externally (email to patients, email to organization stakeholders, an official press release). Depending on the size of your organization or the scope of the breach, you may also want to arrange a press conference with local and/or national media. In this case, it’s best not to attempt to go it alone; let the pros with PR and media relations expertise take the reins.

Basic rules of engagement include:

  1. Accept responsibility if an internal situation or point of failure was the cause of the breach.
  2. Give details and spell out exactly how the breach happened.
  3. Explain the measures that you plan to take to help ensure a similar breach doesn’t happen in the future.
  4. Internally, figure out what you’re going to offer the affected patients (e.g., a year’s subscription to a credit monitoring service).

How to Help Prevent a Breach

Taking a few simple steps can help to keep the bad guys out of your organization. Password security is the easiest one to take. All passwords should be at least 12 characters long and use letters (upper and lowercase), numbers and special characters. IT experts at Georgia Institute of Technology found that a hacker can crack an 8-character password in less than two hours. A 12-character password, on the other hand, would take roughly 17,000 years to crack. It’s also important to prohibit the use of most commonly used passwords such as 123456 or “password.”

Make sure to have Cyber Liability Insurance Coverage (CLIC). While a CLIC policy won’t protect you from cybercrime, it can protect you from financial or business interruption loss due to a cyber attack. CLIC typically covers the following:

  • The investigation:It’s important to conduct a thorough forensics investigation to discover exactly what happened, how you can repair the damage, and how you can prevent a future reoccurrence. Investigations typically involve not only your internal IT department, but also the services of a third-party security firm, and coordination with local law enforcement and even the FBI if necessary.
  • Business losses:A CLIC policy will often include many of the same items that are covered by your organization’s errors and omissions policy, in addition to financial losses because of network downtime, overall business interruption, data recovery and costs resulting from crisis management consulting.
  • Notification services:This coverage includes sending the mandatory data breach notifications to patients and other affected parties, which, as indicated above, are mandated by law in all U.S. states and territories, as well as paying for credit monitoring for people whose information was or might have been breached.
  • Lawsuits and extortion:This coverage includes any legal expenses, settlements and regulatory fines that you may incur as a result of the breach. It might also include reimbursement for the costs of cyber extortion, such as money lost as a result of being hit with ransomware.

Taking these steps will help protect you from an attack as well as help you mitigate the potentially negative impact of an IT security accident. When implemented correctly they will also reflect your organization in a more positive light, showing that you’re reliable, responsible and transparent.


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Are You the Next Rock Star on the Ghidotti Team?

The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

Ghidotti is currently hiring a Media Relations Specialist and Fall PR Intern! 

Media Relations Specialist

The media relations specialist should possess superb project management and organizational skills, as well as excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment.

To ensure success, media relations specialists should demonstrate fantastic time management, great creativity with a keen interest in creating and implementing cost-efficient and effective media campaigns, as well as effectively analyze the impact of campaigns on the company’s bottom line.

By assisting the team in the execution of client activities and learning the basics of services offered across all areas of the agency, the media relations specialist will play a crucial role in supporting client service teams. 

Main Responsibilities

  • Write client and internal correspondence effectively and with limited supervision.
  • Develop content for broadcast, print and online distribution channels to include press releases, media advisories, blogs, e-newsletters and website content with limited supervision.
  • Negotiate with media channels to close competitive deals.
  • Serve as the agency’s media liaison and formal spokesperson, and effectively place client messages and spokespeople in target media outlets.
  • Scan the media marketplace to keep up-to-date on the latest media trends.
  • Successfully plan and execute client activities such as media tours, digital and social campaigns, business missions and/or other special events. 
  • Proactively identify story ideas and work with the supervisor to develop.
  • Successfully manage independently the execution of all client content calendars, which can include media relations pitch calendars, blogs, social content and paid media campaigns.
  • Exhibit competency and efficiency in drafting copy for client marketing materials and/or campaigns, such as website content, e-newsletters, collateral materials, paid media campaigns, etc. 
  • As it relates to social/digital media, regularly suggest ideas, manage the planning, and comfortably execute campaigns on behalf of clients. 
  • Assist in the management of interns, when applicable. 
  • Monitor all campaigns, and report on results.
  • Build long-term relationships with media houses.
  • Easily navigate agency platforms such as Cision, TVEyes, Sprout Social, Sprinklr.


Fall PR Intern

We’re looking for a resourceful go-getter who enjoys fast-paced work in an agency environment and is eager to learn the ins and outs of public relations, media relations, social media management and content marketing.Our team members are expected to complete high-quality work, juggle multiple tasks, keep projects on track, and be accountable for results. The right candidate will be a motivated problem-solver who will thrive in a deadline-driven environment.


  • Writing for social media
  • Posting to social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Creating Canva graphics
  • Brainstorming/Researching Ideas
  • Logging media clips
  • Assisting with video production and Facebook lives for clients
  • Building media contact lists
  • Uploading content to content management sites for clients
  • Assist with client events
  • Media Relations outreach
  • Attend internal meetings and potentially take notes for client meetings
  • Assist with office errands and organization
  • Assist with general project management and scheduling

What We Want:

  • Experience with writing/posting to social media sites and using Canva is preferred.
  • Experience with photography and/or video creation or production is a plus.
  • Creative problem-solver
  • Organized and able to prioritize work under pressure
  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • You are resourceful.
  • You are humble.
  • You know what needs to be done because it just comes naturally.
  • You are accurate with an attention to detail.
  • You follow instructions.
  • You have a life outside of work that you love and nurture.
  • You love learning new things.
  • You ask questions when appropriate and know how to Google the simple things like your life depends on it!
  • You treat our clients and your team members with respect.
  • You are funny.
  • You are caring.
  • You are a good friend and co-worker.
  • You are creative and think of brilliant ideas in your sleep.
  • You are resourceful. It’s so important that we’re mentioning it again!

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

    Whether instructor-led, web-based or sharing during Fireside Friday, we are always learning more!

  2. Community Engagement

    We love the state of Arkansas. Our team enjoys outings to locally-owned businesses and pride ourselves on community involvement. In addition, employees are often offered free tickets to community events to get out and enjoy life with friends and family.

  3. Team Building

    Quarterly adventures for the team!

  4. Winter Recess

    We shut this place down at the holidays so we can all rest, relax and reinvigorate for the new year.

  5. Summer Fridays

    We get an early jump on the weekend every Friday during the summer.

  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

    Along with your PTO, you also get VTO to use to support your favorite charity or organization.

Does this describe you?

To apply, please submit the following via email to

  1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume 
  2. References: 2-3 minimum
  3. Tell us how you heard about this position