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Three Things Agencies Should Do to Protect Their Client Info
By: Mike Bush
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When you spend a lot of time in Tech PR, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll carry at least one security company on your client roster. It might be for IoT, Enterprise technology, financial services, or any other number of applications…but the reality is that the security space is booming, and that means most tech firms have some experience in the space.

One side effect of working with with security companies is that, as flacks, we need to learn about the space. Where are the weakest links in an enterprise? How might a cyber attacker gain entrance? Etc.

That’s why the only thing surprising about this story, in which criminals plead guilty to stealing press releases before they were public and using the information to inform trades, is that this isn’t more common.

In agencies, we deal with our clients’ financial information, product roadmaps, IP, hirings (and downsizings), legal concerns and strategies, and a boatload more.

It’s a quick reminder that for all of the times we’ve written about the value of strong passwords, and making sure companies take the proper steps to protect their assets, we need to make sure we’re doing the same.

For folks who haven’t written pitches and scare campaigns, here are three things your agency should be doing to make sure that your client info is better protected:
  1. Require your team to use strong passwords. Look no further than the top passwords from the Ashley Madison hack to see that people use really, REALLY dumb passwords (link is NSFW). As an offshoot of this, use different passwords for each of the accounts you have. Your computer login should be different than your Cision password. This way, if one of your passwords falls into the wrong hands, you haven’t given up the keys to the castle.
  2. Follow your IT department’s rules. This may sound obvious, but we all know how much easier Google Docs can be when you’re team editing, right? Well, if your IT team says “don’t use a particular thing,” it’s probably because they believe there is a vulnerability. You tell your clients to trust you because you have the experience…with matters of IT, trust the professionals.
  3. Put a passcode on your cell phone. We all have our company email being sent directly to our phone, and at some point or another, we’ve all left our phone more than five feet away from us. Don’t be the guy or gal who loses their phone and then needs to explain to their client why a product that’s supposed to launch next month is being talked about.
There are tons (and TONS) of other pieces of advice that flacks should follow. Ask your IT department for advice on how to better protect your ass(ets).

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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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