When the sh#t hits the fan: Is your digital limelight-ready?
Professional Services Organizations (PSO) have a lot in common, but one thing is for sure; they all may have to deal with a high-profile client, case, personnel issue or news-related situation. Inevitably, curious minds will want to learn more about how the PSO is connected or involved with whatever the high-profile situation is. The fastest and easiest way that information can be sourced is through a PSO’s website. This heightened spotlight can present several negative eventualities.
- The case or news item at hand may attract hackers or those interested in exploiting vulnerabilities from a security standpoint.
- The volume of traffic to the firm’s website may overwhelm the hosting environment, impacting site availability.
As a precaution, take the time prior to a crisis to make sure your organization has:
- A DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) plan.
- A CDN (Content delivery network) and cached content so that your content will perform well with increased traffic.
- A Georedundant DR (disaster recovery) plan. If you’re able to provide redundancy in multiple geographical locations, it means you can mitigate outages should the primary location fail. For example, if a natural disaster is impacting your primary data center on the East coast, having a DR environment on the West coast will make recovery a faster and easier process.
- A monitoring system and 24x7x365 team, so you can quickly identify traffic spikes and trends.
- An existing security culture that drives adoption of best practices, such as frequent penetration tests, two-factor authentication and added levels of encryption for critical data.
- A client, media and employee communication plan. It is helpful to do practice runs a few times a year, so you’re prepared to easily move into crisis mode when need be.
- A proactive hosting provider who actively monitors, manages and keeps you informed of any abnormal activity relating to your website.
Like so many other marketers and communicators out there, I have found myself in the situation of being knee-deep in a crisis and not necessarily prepared for the storm ahead of me. It isn’t fun, but it is a reality of the business and technology world today. Taking some time to get your procedures in order early can help ease tensions when a snafu happens.
Jen Frost is Managing Director of Marketing at One North. She works closely with the Digital Strategy, Experience Design and Technology teams to develop and enhance One North client communication and exterior messaging strategy. In addition, she provides general marketing direction for One North and promotes internal culture.
Favorite season: Fall is my favorite season. Probably because I used to live in Massachusetts, and it is just beautiful there in the Autumn.
Favorite Chicago spot: The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool hidden in the middle of Lincoln Park.