Learn why all law firm members, not just IT experts, have a stake in cybersecurity and a role to play.
Corporations large and small have been dealing with internet security and cybercrime for some years now, but law firms have come relatively late to the table. According to Roy Zur, a cybersecurity expert speaking at the International Bar Association (IBA) 2017 Annual Conference in Sydney, Australia, “The legal market is way, way behind in understanding the threats.”
Law firms handle and host a significant amount of confidential client data, particularly data that can be used to influence and move markets. Therefore, a law firm with a substandard approach to cybersecurity might be the weak link in an otherwise ironclad corporate information supply chain.
Creating a culture of cybersecurity can be a challenge, of course — in large part because lawyers tend to believe this area is the domain of the IT experts. However, experts warn that lawyers and employees are the greater risk because hackers exploit human as well as digital vulnerabilities.
So successfully defending a law firm client’s data has proven conclusively to be a team sport. Everyone has a stake in cybersecurity and a role to play. There are roles for firm leaders as well as marketing, HR, finance, IT and, of course, the lawyers.
The sad truth is that an advanced hacker with advanced tools and sufficient funding will gain access a target network. The security mantra today has therefore changed to “identify, protect, detect, respond and recover.”
To aid in this transformation, artificial intelligence is now being deployed in the cybersecurity world. Humans cannot react quickly enough, while machines can absorb and make sense of huge amounts of data, far beyond a human’s capacity. And now the machines are beginning to teach one another. Corporations investing in cutting-edge technologies and processes are demanding that their law firms appreciate the importance of cybersecurity and devote sufficient time and energy to maintaining proper security protocols.
Law firms that embrace this brave new world have a competitive edge. Clark Hill chief marketing officer Jim Durham, a member of the LMA Hall of Fame, welcomes the opportunity to compete on the strength of the firm’s cybersecurity prowess. He shares, “It’s a distinct advantage when we can tell clients and potential clients that one of our lawyers literally wrote the book on cybersecurity.”
Jim will be presenting on a panel at the College of Law Practice Management’s annual Futures Conference, hosted by Suffolk University Law School, in Boston on October 25-26. This year’s theme? “Cybersecurity: This Way There Be Dragons.” Jim’s panel at the conference will discuss how law firms can leverage their investments in information security into a market advantage. Other sessions at the conference will similarly delve into tackling law firm cybersecurity — and why everyone has a stake in it.
For law firms with the right approach to cybersecurity, smooth sailing is ahead. For others, truly, this way there be dragons.
Timothy B. Corcoran, a co-chair of the 2018 Futures Conference, is a past president of LMA and a principal of Corcoran Consulting Group, based in New York with a global client base. He is also a Trustee and Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. A former chief executive officer, Tim guides law firm and law department leaders through the profitable disruption of outdated business models. A sought-after speaker and writer, he also authors Corcoran’s Business of Law blog. Tim can be reached at Tim@BringInTim.com and +1.609.557.7311.