NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, DC—Burson-Marsteller has formed a strategic partnership with Ridge Global, founded by Tom Ridge (pictured), the first US Secretary of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania, to focus on enhancing board-level and senior management awareness of the critical need for comprehensive cybersecurity preparation

The alliance includes Ridge’s partner Howard Schmidt, a former cybersecurity advisor to President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush

The partnership provides clients services including: vulnerabilities and operational risk assessments; incident response plan development; stakeholder mapping and relationship development; spokesperson training; desktop and full-scale training exercises and drills; and corporate governance-related counsel, including the development and structure of cyber programs and cybersecurity briefings to senior management teams and boards of directors.

The partnership also offers cyber-attack response support for denial-of service attacks, phishing schemes, data breaches, ransomware and other types of hacks. 

“Cyber-attacks involve costs much greater than the investment required to remediate the incident,” said Ridge. “Cyber-attacks have cost companies their reputations and the trust they have built with employees, customers and their communities. Too many executives still see cybersecurity as strictly the domain of the IT department and fail to recognize cybersecurity as a cross-functional risk that requires close collaboration and alignment with corporate communications to protect the organization’s reputation.”

Adds Michael Law, US CEO of Burson-Marsteller, “The ever-evolving sophistication of hackers and cyber criminals, and the frequency of attacks, show us that business leaders should adopt a posture of when, not if, they will experience a cyber-attack. How a company’s senior leadership responds and communicates after a cyber-attack will affect not only the company’s ability to resolve the issue fully and recover quickly, but also its long-term reputation and bottom line.”