PlayStation Network intrusion is not a game

This article was first published on April 28, 2011, at The Online Marketing Mix.

We are used to governments and banks leaking data on a fairly regular basis, but rarely has a consumer electronics giant ever been so exposed as Sony is right now to customer vehemence and legal action.

Sony discovered an intrusion on the Playstation Network on April 19 and subsequently shut down the network – which connects millions of gamers enabling them to play together online.

The network has been shut down for a number of days at a not inconsiderable cost to Sony in terms of both money and the biggest PR disaster possible only months ahead of the launch of its new console the NGP (or PSP2).

An attack as big as this is always going to garner negative publicity, and serves as a lesson to all of us to take security seriously. I’ve blogged about taking responsibility for your personal security online with regards to multiple attacks on Twitter, and about the security of your company data and intellectual property but this is something on another level.

With the potential exposure of the personal details of 77 million customers, Sony is fighting a battle on multiple fronts. It must first secure it’s network against further attack, and bring it back online. It must manage the media scrutiny and customer anger. And finally, Sony must restore faith in its hitherto unassailable brand reputation.

Now is the time for you to assess how you would fight those battles if your website went down. OK. You might not be the size of Sony, but the principle is the same regardless of the size of your enterprise.

Sony is not only losing money and prestige in the present, but is losing millions in potential future revenue – along with it’s dropping share price. Whilst it is easy to sit back and nitpick Sony from a safe distance, if you are running an organisational website of any size you need to ensure you have some form of disaster recovery plan lest you get a call from your customers asking where your website is.

Investing in a secure and regularly backed-up website – and WordPress, along with a few additional tweaks will suffice for small to medium sized organisations – is one of the best forms of insurance against future loss of revenue, and a sure way to protect yourself and your brand from embarrassment.

Learn the lessons of Sony now so you don’t have to fight their present battles in your own future.

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