NEW YORK: FleishmanHillard and risk-management firm Kroll have formed a strategic alliance focused on cybersecurity and data-breach-risk mitigation.
The two firms agreed to the alliance to meet a steadily growing demand from companies of all sizes for advanced, cyber-related preparatory services, said Jeff Ignaszak, Kroll’s VP of global marketing and communications.
Kroll will focus on enterprise network security and threat detection, incident investigation and response, and notification of consumers affected by a breach. Fleishman will provide strategic communications, crisis management, and reputation recovery services.
"When a data breach happens, the IT department or chief information security officer may call someone like Kroll to come in and stop the flow of data outside the system, and someone in the PR department might call a firm like Fleishman to help them protect their reputation," said Ignaszak.
He added that Kroll has been a client of Fleishman in Asia and the US for six years.
"[Fleishman and Kroll] were working with the same client, but were brought in through different doors," Ignaszak added. "The whole idea behind the alliance is that we walk in through the same door together."
While a cybersecurity crisis was generally once handled by a chief information officer, Ignaszak added that now the entire C-suite is getting involved, as evidenced by recent headlines on data thefts from Target and Snapchat. Chief compliance officers are being asked to weigh in on how their organization is complying with their own internal policies, while CMOs are pitching in from a reputation-management perspective.
"This exposure is legal, reputational, financial, technical, and immediately global," said Bob Winslow, Fleishman’s head of global practices and products. "Having a consistent framework is a necessity to clients, whether working with Kroll and Fleishman in Hong Kong, Germany, or in New York."
The companies have outlined a predefined set of services for pre-event threat reduction, including a cyber risk assessment. Using a tabletop exercise, Kroll takes clients through their readiness for cyberattacks. Fleishman then gauges the client’s communications readiness and reputational risk in a cyberattack scenario. Based on the findings, the firms then work with a client to help it respond rapidly and effectively should a breach occur.
In the event of a data breach, the alliance can also provide investigation, remediation, and crisis-management services.
The companies are also using the alliance to provide additional value for existing clients, added Winslow.