By now many of you have already heard that Buffer, the service that helps you share content to your social media accounts, was hacked Saturday afternoon.
Hearing of another big company or service being hacked is an all too frequent occurrence these days so it would be easy to hear about this and move forward because we were not impacted by it.
However, there is reason to look at this hack because Buffer, in the process of dealing with a breach of their systems which impacted over 1 million users, has shown other companies exactly how to handle such an incident.
It all started yesterday afternoon when Buffer’s Founder and CEO Joel Gascoigne jumped on Twitter within an hour of the hack being discovered and let everyone know that it happened and that they had paused all sharing through the service while they started their investigation.
As they started their work others from Buffer were monitoring social media and responding one-on-one to individuals who were reporting initial issues with spam postings and sharing. They were letting them know immediately what had happened. No hidden agenda’s or subterfuge – the fact they had been hacked was laid out publicly and fully as soon as they discovered it.
About two hours after the hack was discovered Joel posted an update on the Buffer Open blog site and provided a little more information on what they had discovered and initial steps they had taken. He also revealed the extent of the hack based on their investigations to insure users that no Buffer passwords or billing and payment information had been compromised.
In the same post he apologized, just like they had been doing on social media from the time it was discovered, for the hack and how it was impacting users and their companies.
There were subsequent updates posted to the same blog post four more times yesterday afternoon and evening. The final update at 8PM (Pacific) indicated that all posting was working once again. Less than about 12 hours from hack to restoral of services.
Even early on a Sunday morning Joel and his social media team are on social networks talking to users and re-assuring everyone things are on track now for the service.
There are currently 152 comments on Joel’s running blog post about the incident but you would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of negative comments. The response from users has in fact been overwhelmingly positive on all social media channels with Buffer.
Buffer has proven that transparency and information in the face of an event like this is the way to go to assure your customers that you are handling things.
No one likes getting hacked but in the process of being hacked Buffer has established a new standard of how to handle it on all fronts.
I am sure they will tell you that they would have preferred to not set this new standard on how to handle a hack at all however, in doing it the way they did their customers have gained an entirely new level of confidence in the company.
Since I am a paying Buffer customer I can attest to that confidence.
Well done Buffer.
Update Monday 9:00 AM: Buffer posted three more updates over the course of yesterday to continue keeping users informed about their follow up actions to Saturday’s hack. There are now over 265 comments on their blog post and they are still overwhelmingly positive. Quite impressive the way the community of Buffer users have responded to this. It also appears a new catch phrase has been established – Keep Calm and Buffer On.