Taking Ransomware Mainstream
Veritas Technologies is the established global leader in the world of data protection. Veritas approached TEAM LEWIS earlier this year, seeking support to build awareness outside of its traditional target audience of IT.
Its goal was to directly target business leaders to demonstrate how its solutions solve modern-day business challenges relating to data insights, cloud computing, data compliance, and cyber-attacks, specifically ransomware.
TEAM LEWIS was tasked with developing a global, creative media relations program that would fulfil the following objectives:
- Position Veritas as a company whose technology can help businesses protect and recover from ransomware
- Develop a thought-leadership platform to engage with C-level executives
- Generate media coverage beyond the traditional technology publications
Ransomware is malicious software that hackers use to restrict access to computer data until the user pays a ransom for its safe return. Ransomware used to be something that only affected a few unlucky people who were forced to pay a couple of hundred pounds to unlock their encrypted laptops. Nowadays, it’s a £10 billion-a-year industry, as cybercriminals have switched from targeting individuals to organisations. Dozens of attacks are reported daily, with organisations locked out of their files and forced to pay, on average, £95,000 to regain access. Media coverage is often limited to attacks, their causes, repercussions, and resolutions. This is mainly from an abstract technical point of view.
TEAM LEWIS identified that there was little conversation around the more emotive issues relating to ransomware and what consumers think. Therefore, TEAM LEWIS recommended research into what the public thinks about ransomware. After all, everyone from heads of business to heads of government, to heads of terror groups, have had their say – but what does the person on the street think about ransomware?
TEAM LEWIS recommended research into what the public thinks about ransomware. After all, everyone from heads of business to heads of government, to heads of terror groups, have had their say – but what does the person on the street think about ransomware? These insights would give Veritas a platform to share a more human message about ransomware resiliency.
In collaboration with research partner 3GEM, TEAM LEWIS carefully developed a series of questions that would give useful insights to help drive coverage and thought leadership opportunities. These included:
- Should businesses and governments negotiate with cybercriminals and should they pay ransomware ransoms?
- How much should businesses and governments be prepared to pay if data is held hostage?
- Who should take responsibility if a company is hit by a ransomware attack and how should they be punished?
The research survey questioned 12,000 consumers in the UK, US, China, Japan, France, and Germany. The results of the survey provided the team with plenty of fascinating insights that would capture the attention of mainstream media across the world and two news releases were developed for global use.
As PR agency record in the UK, TEAM LEWIS delivered the media strategy for this research programme in the UK.
Taking the template releases, the team studied the UK data and adapted the news to incorporate local statistics, highlighting any differences from the global trends.
Our first step in our media strategy was to develop an exclusive pitch based on the consumer angle and sell it on, under embargo, to one of our key media contacts at Press Association (PA), the multimedia news agency from which many media outlets across the UK source their news stories. LEWIS’ relationship with PA and the strength of the pitch angle ‘Send the CEO to Prison’ inspired PA to run the story on launch day. This led to a widespread pickup in mainstream media titles including ITV, Daily Mail, This is Money, and Metro.