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Why data privacy should be seen as a business priority

Posted by: Laurence Simons 01/02/17
In recent months we’ve discussed the impact that the GDPR will have on legal professions, both within and outside the EU, in great depth. However the incoming legislation certainly isn’t the only issue facing Data Protection Officers. According to a survey conducted by ALM Legal Intelligence, a staggering 98% of law firm respondents believe that the legal industry is increasingly a target for cyber-attacks.

According to the report “even with threats apparently on the rise, perhaps the most important factor that should drive the law firms out of their relative complacency on the issue of data security is the changing behaviour of their largest and most important clients.”

General Counsels and their law departments are increasingly recognising that firms should be treated like any other vendor in the corporate supply chain, and as a result are including provisions related to cybersecurity in their retention agreements and are considering firms’ data security practices when determining which firms to assign to their panel of external counsel.

Faced with a myriad of security threats, which continue to evolve in complexity and could have incalculable consequences, the legal industry is starting to take notice. According to the 2015 ALM Legal Intelligence Am Law Tech Survey, 77% of law firm CIOs and IT directors are more concerned about security threats than they were two years ago. However that concern isn’t necessarily translating into increased investment. Worryingly 63% of respondents indicated that less than 0.5% of their firm’s gross revenue was dedicated to data breach detection and prevention.

There’s little doubt that law firms are coming to realise the ever growing importance of data protection, however leaders need to recognise that data privacy is no longer an isolated problem but a business priority. The evolving influence of data protection officers can only be beneficial for law firms and in house teams, however unless organisations focus on increasing investment, they leave themselves even more vulnerable to privacy breaches.
Tagged In: Privacy, Security/Data
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