You have been asked to draft a letter to guests to address concerns about the impacts of possible cyber attacks. This particular letter should reassure guests that the company is taking positive steps to protect guest privacy. The guests’ concerns extend beyond privacy of information in databases. There have been news reports detailing situations where hackers have attacked internal building monitoring and control systems to spy on guests and invade their privacy.
In order to write an effective notification letter, it is first necessary to understand the required perspective for such a letter.
From a technical perspective, this type of attack is a data security problem because the attackers are stealing data by attacking at the point of creation (data at rest) and then along the transmission paths (data in transit). The impact of this type of attack is a loss of confidentiality.
From a people perspective, this type of attack is viewed as an attack on the privacy of guests and is categorized as a loss of privacy.
Managers need to address this problem from both perspectives. With internal technical staff, the conversation would revolve around data security. But, with guests and Guest Relations staff, the conversation needs to address concerns about the possible loss of privacy.
Secondly, we must consider the required “tone” for such a letter. The letter must be factual but, more importantly, it is necessary to show an appropriate amount of empathy and understanding for the recipient’s feelings. Empathy and emotional intelligence are important leadership skills for managers.
Having empathy and/or acting in an empathetic manner (aware of and sensitive to the emotions of guests and customers), allows a manager to respond appropriately when a cyberattack occurs. As you write this letter, you will need to find a balance between addressing the emotional aspects of a cyberattack and the need to develop trust by providing information about a situation which can invoke fear and concern.