Build Better Defenses
October 29–30, 2017: Training
October 30–November 1, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Weathering the storm: The art of crisis communications

Jen Ellis (Rapid7)
11:20am–12:00pm Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Who is this presentation for?

  • Everyone can find value in this presentation.

What you'll learn

  • Understand the key elements of successful crisis communications


It’s a widely held belief in security that at some point most organizations will fall victim to some kind of breach or significant security incident. Jen Ellis outlines the considerations for successful crisis communications to help you weather the storm, covering the key tenets of good communications strategies, from preparation to dealing with press and everything in between.

Communicating well in a crisis is a huge challenge, but it can make or break the outcomes for you, your organization, and your customers. Handle it well, and you can build your personal credibility, that of your company, and earn your customers’ trust. Handle it poorly, and you’re likely looking at a media maelstrom—and potentially lawsuits or government involvement.

There are many aspects to getting the communication right. It’s not just about handling media, as it is often perceived. It starts with your core stakeholders: those involved in the incident response, execs and board members, and other key players inside your organization. You also have to consider your company’s wider internal communications so you can adequately prepare your organization’s front line. And then there is the broader community. Media, regulators, and other third-party institutions can certainly have a huge impact, but they are just one set of stakeholders that need to be considered and with whom you need to communicate.

Topics include:

  • Preparation
  • Timing
  • Transparency
  • Monitoring and adapting to changes in the situation
  • Prioritizing reassuring and protecting those affected
Photo of Jen Ellis

Jen Ellis


Jen Ellis is the vice president of community and public affairs at Rapid7, a leading provider of analytics for security and IT operations. Jen’s primary focus is on building productive collaboration between those in the security community and those operating outside it and helping security researchers, technology providers and operators, and various government entities understand and address cybersecurity challenges. She believes effective collaboration is our only path forward to reduce cybercrime and protect consumers and businesses. She has testified before Congress and spoken at a number of security industry events, including SXSW, RSA, DerbyCon, ShmooCon, SOURCE, UNITED, and various BSides.