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11/2/2017
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Only 35% of Corporate Attorneys Prepared for a Data Breach

New survey from Grant Thornton shows pervasive concern about cyber risk.

CHICAGO, November 2, 2017—Only about a third (35 percent) of top corporate attorneys feel their organizations are prepared for a data breach, according to a survey from Grant Thornton LLP and Corporate Counsel magazine. In addition, 59 percent are very concerned about data security issues.

The Grant Thornton 2017 Corporate General Counsel Survey also found that more than half (58 percent) of legal departments are highly involved in responding to organization-wide data security risks, and nearly a quarter (23 percent) of legal departments have a primary responsibility for cybersecurity issues.

“Proactively managing cyber threats is becoming more important each year, as businesses are estimated to lose $3 trillion to cybercrime by 2020—a figure which has tripled from $1 trillion in 2016,” said Vishal Chawla, national managing principal of Risk Advisory Services for Grant Thornton. “It’s an issue that is clearly keeping corporate attorneys up at night.”

Survey respondents cited a number of barriers to cyber risk readiness. Most notably, more than a quarter (28 percent) named overburdened IT security teams as a factor, while 17 percent pointed to a lack of crisis management and incident response skills.

Still, most corporate attorneys report that their organizations are going on the offensive: Nearly seven in ten report that their organizations have increased spending to improve cybersecurity.

The vast majority of organizations are adding data security policies (72 percent) or augmenting existing ones (62 percent), while 59 percent are implementing monitoring programs. Additionally, 47 percent are turning to outside advisors.

“Keeping up with the latest cyber threats is a real challenge,” added Erik Lioy, national managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Forensic Advisory Services. “Skills that are required today may or may not be sufficient tomorrow.”

Grant Thornton advocates agility. “The agile enterprise will be better equipped at all levels of the organization to turn risk into a competitive advantage,” concluded Lioy.

The firm also recommends that businesses move from thinking about risk in terms of management and compliance to thinking about it in terms of holistic solutions. According to Chawla: “A holistic approach aligns leadership and defines an organizations’ cybersecurity operational risks – as well as its cyber risk appetite and management plan.”

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