Whenever I run a crisis simulation course I always say there’s only one thing that will go wrong with them: IFT. The ‘I’ and the ‘T’ stand for Information Technology; (the USB with the presentation has gone awry, the projector doesn’t work etc). As for the ‘F’, I think there’s little explanation needed as to what that stands for.
In a real life crisis, however, the “IFT moment” can be far more catastrophic than a faulty PowerPoint.
Recently, controversial “cheating” website, Ashley Madison, experienced just this moment of crisis.
The website, which acts as a dating service for people seeking to have an affair, saw its database of some 37 million would-be adulterers hacked from parent company, Avid Life Media, and published online. If you’ve been thinking a few of your colleagues have been looking a bit worried today, this may be the reason.
This couldn’t have come at a worse time for the company, which was set for a London Stock Exchange flotation to the tune of up to $200 million, which has mysteriously been scrapped by the website’s Chief Executive, Noel Bilderman.
Now you don’t need to be a controversial website like Ashley Madison to attract the ire of so-called “hacktivists”. Fiat Chrysler has just suffered an attack, and of course the likes of Sony and the US federal government serve as examples of even how the most sophisticated security systems can be vulnerable.
Data protection is now a cornerstone in protecting your corporate reputation. The early part of the 21st century will go down in history as the age when privacy became more or less non-existent. Once something is out on the web, even in a supposedly secure database, it is there forever (which is bad luck if you want to play away from home).
So make sure you handle data carefully and have procedures in place to react the near inevitable “IFT Moment”.
Ironically, I had never heard of Ashley Madison (honest), but now I’m tempted to have a peek – for research purposes only of course.