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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2019
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‘Proactive’ Publix seeks PR help in event of data breach

TAMPA — Publix, where shopping is a pleasure — and data breaches are planned for.

Besides bringing in trainloads of produce and groceries, the state’s dominant grocery giant has just issued a request to bring in something new: Proposals from public relations firms to help out with PR in the event of a customer data breach.

There’s no data breach going on now, said Publix spokeswoman Nicole Krauss. Rather, this is a “proactive measure Publix is taking.”

That prudence follows a string of high-profile data breaches at some of the nation’s largest brands: Target with 70 million accounts was recently breached and Home Depot had 56 million customer cards compromised.

Last week, news emerged that the nation’s largest bank, JPMorganChase, suffered a data breach by hackers, possibly based in Russia, which compromised accounts of 76 million households and 7 million small business accounts.

Publix operates 1,082 locations in six states across the South and Southeast, and ranks as one of the 10 largest supermarkets by volume. The company’s request for proposals says it “would like to understand how a PR company could provide assistance preparing for, and during a data breach, e.g. advice and assistance with messages.”

That could include a “proactive review” of Publix customer relations and “rapid response scheduling in the event of a confirmed breach. Publix prides ourselves in the relationships we build with our customers and associates and as such will require a company with outstanding communications skills and experience.”

Such PR campaigns can be especially delicate, as word of a breach often leaks out of a company in news reports before the company is ready to disclose what its security teams have found. The company is requesting that proposals be submitted by Oct. 15.

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