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Protecting Confidential Client Data

Ken Gaebler

Encrypted Secure Enterprise Messaging for PR Agences

Most PR agencies trade in sensitive client information, with PR staff getting early access to new product announcements, IPO insights, executive comings and goings, crisis information and a host of other confidential client items.

At Walker Sands, our B2B tech PR agency and digital marketing firm, we take our confidentiality obligations very seriously. Accordingly, we are in the process of piloting NetSfere Secure Enterprise Messaging to ensure that any messages we send internally are fully encrypted and secure.

Secure messaging is rapidly becoming a best practice for PR firms for obvious reasons: when PR agencies don't use an enterprise messaging system, it puts the agency and clients at risk.

Consider a situation in which PR firm team members use email, consumer-focused chat or SMS applications on their personal devices with their personal accounts to conduct firm business.

As a rule, these solutions are not encrypted. That means that sensitive data, such as a draft press release for a public company earnings announcement or login credentials to a client extranet, can be sniffed out by cyberhackers.

With these types of breaches, there is no smoking gun. Hackers can lurk for months and years and collect sensitive data. Imagine how rich a hacker could become if they had access to earnings announcements, gathered from an unsecure PR firm, before the rest of the market.

The NetSfere product offers free cloud-based messaging up to 10 users, so we are piloting it with a small group internally.

There are many nice features we like about this product, and we are likely to expand it to the entire agency soon.

This is part of a larger effort to ensure that we are a secure PR firm.

After all, in this modern era, each day brings news of a new high-profile security breach.

Those are headlines you don't want to be at the center of. Accordingly, you'll want to make sure your PR firm isn't unwittingly working to secure those types of negative media placements on your behalf, simply because they didn't take basic cybersecurity precautions.

Is your PR agency secure? Before you choose a PR agency, make sure they are taking the right precautions with your sensitive data.