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General counsel 'aware of IT risks'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 14/06/13

The story of human progress has an important footnote, which is that every piece of technology that is ever invented is met with a technique that attempts to use it as a way to earn ill-begotten gains. When abacuses were de rigeur there was almost certainly a proto-accountant who diddled his funds by adding a few beads here and there, while forgery and cheques definitely evolved concurrently.

Although computers have made things slightly more complicated, it is equally true that the more sophisticated data storage techniques that have evolved in recent years have encouraged hackers to up their game.

This is reflected by the news that in-house lawyers in the US consider managing and mitigating risk surrounding cyber security, IT strategy and regulatory compliance to be some of their biggest concerns over the coming 12 months.

Data revealed in the 13th annual Law and the Boardroom Study by Corporate Board Member found that hacking, intrusions, and corporate espionage from both internal and external sources are hot topics in the boardroom, with businesses feeling vulnerable on a number of different fronts.

Senior managing director and co-leader of the FTI Consulting Global Risk and Investigations Practice Michael Pace said: "To help companies manage and mitigate this risk, they need to inventory and map their IP assets, secure their data, and test their networks and systems for gaps on a constant basis. Board-level concern is complicated by the fact that IT infrastructure and underlying technologies are fairly opaque to board members."

However, only a third of general counsel remain very confident in their company's ability to respond quickly to a security breach and determine whether confidential data had been compromised.

While many general counsel may yearn for the old days of dodgy abacuses, the reality is that demystifying web security is crucial if legal experts are to stay on top of the current risk climate.