PR pros should pay careful attention to the hacking of AshleyMadison.com, the online dating service marketed to people who are already in a relationship, writes Matthew Schwartz, Group Editor, PR News.

Schwartz states that according to KrebsOnSecurity.com, large caches of data stolen from the site have been posted online by an individual or group that claims to have completely compromised the company’s user databases and financial records.

Schwartz adds that this particular security breach “holds some valuable lessons for communicators. As recently as November 2014, AshleyMadison.com’s PR team was pitching Noel Biderman, the company’s president-CEO, as an expert to talk about the importance of customer data security. According to Mashable, the company called itself “the last truly secure space on the Internet.”

“In the wake of the security breach, PR pros should enhance their relationships with their IT counterparts. The worst thing PR pros can do is assume that the company’s data is impenetrable or that, in the event of a hack, IT will quickly have the situation under control. When a security breach occurs, it’s going to be PR—not IT—that’s under the gun, and communicators need to be prepared.

“Taking preventative measures to avoid a security breach goes a long way” and his article offers a few action items to consider.

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