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A Lesson in Crisis Communication

The worst nightmare for any software vendor became reality for our client: A hacker was going to expose a major security vulnerability at the highly-publicized Black Hat conference. To make matters worse, there was no patch in sight.

Black Hat publicity wasn’t the only concern. A top security agency planned to alert all government organizations about the product flaw later that week. With 30% of North American sales coming from the public sector, this crisis had potential to drastically influence current and future revenue.

We tapped our Worldcom partners immediately; within an hour, we received offers from more than 15 crisis communication experts to lend a hand. We sought advice from five specialized agencies worldwide.

Before close of business that same day, we delivered a comprehensive strategy that outlined how to address the problem with the hacker, security agency, customers, prospects and the media.

Results

We convinced the security agency to delay its report until a patch was ready. Press coverage was almost non-existent and our client was able to navigate the situation with customers and partners without seeing any major negative ramifications.