Most firms lack cybersecurity crisis management playbooks, GCs reveal

Cybersecurity is GCs’ top area of concern for 2017. So why aren’t they more prepared?

Most firms lack cybersecurity crisis management playbooks, GCs reveal
Most firms do not have cybersecurity and data privacy crisis management playbooks, general counsels reveal in a just-released study.

In the recently released 2017 General Counsel Report from the Consero Group, only 18% of the GCs surveyed said their firms had the said playbooks, and only 17% are in the process of making one.

This is despite the American and British general counsels being most worried about data privacy and cybersecurity risk, with 50% of respondents identifying it as the top area of risk for the current year.

This is followed by operational risk with 36%, bribery and corruption risk with 29%, supplier risk with 27%, labour and employment liability with 23% and whistleblower concerns with 13%.

Nonetheless, 60% said that their companies are prepared to defend against such attacks. The survey found that 25% of GCs report their companies experiencing a cybersecurity breach in the past 12 months. Among the GCs, 55% were very involved or involved in cybersecurity and data privacy matters and 38% reported being just somewhat involved.

Meanwhile, GCs identified compliance and ethics management as their top area of focus this year, with 54% of respondents indicating the area as their top focus, followed by labour and employment with 29%, outside counsel management with 27%, litigation management with 18%, intellectual property management at 7%.

If legal departments are constrained this year, GCs see access to budgetary resources as the top reason, with 41% picking it as a concern. Next are lack of buy-in from senior management and talent gap within the legal department, which tie at second with 19%, followed by regulatory compliance matters with 14%.

Spending will increase in 2017, 44% of GCs surveyed said. The same percentage expected spending to be flat, while 12% said it will likely decrease.

Most legal departments handled by GCs surveyed handled half to three quarters of legal work in-house. The survey found that 47% of respondents said that 51% to 75% of legal work is conducted in house, followed by 30% who said in-house teams handle 76% to all legal work.

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