Public Relations Thought Leadership Strategy

What’s Next in Cybersecurity Communications

By Alex Bacon


Last year saw record-breaking investments in security startups looking to blunt the rise in cyberattacks with novel methodologies, strategies and solutions. With the staggering amount of data being created and stored on on-prem and cloud-based solutions, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity funding saw a historic uptick.

Looking ahead, the ways data is created will continue to grow. Interconnected technologies are forming new endpoints between devices that will eventually connect to next-generation networks such as 5G. This creates an ever-growing attack surface that bad actors will exploit with creativity, or just disruptive brute force. And with the possibility of cybersecurity fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war, companies are seeking information and guidance to ensure their data is safe.

Whether you’re a startup that just closed your seed round or an established cybersecurity firm, there are plenty of opportunities to capture your audiences’ attention by communicating around these issues. Companies are going to be looking for insights on what to expect and how to protect their data from increasingly aggressive attacks across a growing surface area.

Here are four developing trends and key considerations every cybersecurity communicator should give their attention to. Particularly as we enter a new era of cybersecurity.

Communicate the impact of 5G on data security

There is genuine excitement about the possibilities 5G can bring to consumers and businesses. Benefits include faster data transmission speeds, greater capacity for remote executions, and lower latency. The endgame behind 5G networks is to create a more interconnected, smarter, and faster world by connecting an increasing number of devices such as smart home appliances, smart cities, cars, and even medical equipment to a network. Nearly all companies will want to take advantage of the benefits 5G offers. But there will be a huge education and information push about the inherent security challenges in adopting this new technology.

5G’s implementation is going to be disruptive. It may require overhauls of security networks and data governance practices if it’s going to keep critical infrastructure and personal data safe from prying eyes. Your communications team will need to be on the front lines, relaying valuable insights from your thought leaders. What regulations can businesses expect to face? How should they prepare their data security and governance practices for those regulations?

Simplify communications around new data security requirements and regulations

The influx of data from new 5G devices, and even AI-powered ones, will change how cybersecurity companies work with their clients on security posture. It will also likely usher in a new era of regulatory and compliance laws similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). On top of new security, privacy, and data governance regulations, consumers are demanding more transparency and control over their personal data. They want to know how their data is being secured from hackers. To survive and thrive in the new cybersecurity era, companies must consider consumer sentiment in addition to regulations.

For cybersecurity communications professionals, this means your strategy needs to have a heavier emphasis on thought leadership rooted in education. Provide unique insights to your audience about changes in the security landscape, any new regulations that could pass and what they mean, as well as how they can navigate those changes.

This is where you’ll need consistent alignment with your executives and experts to offer the best insights possible for those seeking information on employing data governance.

Add value, not noise, to the conversation

It’s easy for cybersecurity companies to fall into the “ambulance chasing” trap in an effort to sound like thought leaders. Or publish high volumes of blogs and press releases stuffed with buzzwords to boost SEO and draw in website traffic. Avoiding these tactics is crucial because they don’t add anything of value to the conversation. And they can overwhelm, or potentially turn away, your audience.

Instead, add value by providing quality, practical commentary. How can you ensure your commentary addresses the immediate needs or fears of your audience? This requires thorough research and customer interviews to understand audience concerns and identify where the white spaces lie. Then, couple your practical commentary with forward-looking, bold predictions uncovered by the research. The resulting insight will help truly move the needle and address consumer needs head-on.

The bottom line is: There are plenty of voices sharing bombastic, unrealistic advice. Your audience is looking for clear, levelheaded advice that is thoughtful and applicable—be that resource for them. Finding market needs through research can help address industry white space with carefully crafted commentary that your audience craves.

Get your thought leaders comfortable talking about the uncomfortable

No matter what stage your company is in, it’s difficult getting folks to hear, understand, and accept uncomfortable cybersecurity realities. And finding a messenger willing to discuss those realities is a task in itself.

For example, the potential cybersecurity fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war could affect American companies. Russia may feel compelled to respond with a cyber offensive against the West if it continues to provide aid to Ukraine or if sanctions continue.

A properly structured media training outline with mock interviews featuring rapid-fire, uncomfortable questions can help executives and thought leaders get comfortable forming opinions on events such as this. It can also help develop additional talking points that can be used later down the line.

The age-old cybersecurity issues such as ransomware, phishing, and insider attacks will continue to persist, and it requires continued education as these threats evolve. But, we’re about to enter a new era of cybersecurity where these threats will be amplified by new technologies. Is your organization ready to communicate about the challenges that come with it?