Wow, this article seriously just made my day.
I will apologize in advance to my friend and CSO writer and Michael Santarcangelo (@catalyst), but this may very well be my favorite article — anywhere — of all time! And, thank you, Tom Hulsey (@TomHulsey), for sharing it with me! As for you, Ms. Kacy Zurkus (@KSZ714), all I can say is, great job on this article!
Why is it my favorite article?
Well, if the title of the article did not give it away (yes, there’s a reason we attorneys are the 2nd oldest profession … we’re pretty close to the 1st …), then consider these snippets:
“Distinguishing the technical experts from those responsible for legal obligations and risks will help companies develop better breach response plans. Understanding the role of an external cybersecurity firm will only help.” (Have I not been preaching the need for breach response plans??? See Why Your Company Needs a Breach Response Plan: Key Decisions You Must Make Following A Data Breach (Aug. 3, 2015) and More Posts)
“But even with a seemingly impenetrable security system in place, you still need an attorney focused on cybersecurity issues. Sure, internal counsel can help you minimize your company’s legal risks. But partnering with an external firm boasting security expertise can also help the CIO navigate through several unfamiliar legal areas, such as compliance with local, state and national privacy laws and security requirements, civil litigation over data and privacy breaches, and corporate governance.” (ahhh yes, music, sweet music to my ears!)
“’The breadth of industries who need this type of counsel has exploded,’ says Amy Terry Sheehan, editor in chief of the Cybersecurity Law Report.” (preach it sister Amy, preach it!)
“Because every company now has data online – including personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets and patent information – Sheehan says, ‘There is an increased need for specialized expert attorneys in cybersecurity and data privacy. Even attorneys who are working on mergers and acquisitions need to know the cybersecurity laws.‘” (I could not have said this any better myself, dang Kacy, you are good!)
“Because time is not a friend in any breach situation, companies that have cyber security attorneys on retainer are better positioned to quickly and efficiently respond to incidents.” (mmm hmm, as I write this, there is a leader of a company who did not know my name or know what a “cybersecurity attorney” was on Monday of this week … today (Thurs. morning), I am his new best friend and he calls me more than my wife does!)
“CIOs are clearly responsible for the technical aspects of cybersecurity, of course, but as Sheehan says, ‘negotiating with the government or a complicated investigation that requires more manpower’ demands the expertise of a cybersecurity attorney.” (exactly — those who are looking back with 20/20 hindsight, following a breach, are not technical people, they are lawyers: agency regulators, state attorneys’ general, judges, and plaintiff’s lawyers — you need a legal perspective for this)
“’To not have a cybersecurity attorney on retainer is foolhardy at best,’ because organizations need somebody who is a specialist in what Thompson identifies as the four main areas of concern: breach scenarios, personnel policies, cyber liability insurance and working with government.” (exactly!)
“Maintaining privilege is paramount in the aftermath of a breach, but understanding the differences between a possible incident, an actual incident or a breach will drive the company’s response. Cybersecurity attorneys work with organizations to develop their incident response plans, which determines who speaks to whom when and about what. ‘The plan should be very basic and the attorney is a key part in designing the plan,’ Thompson says.” (privilege can be a huge issue — and as for those Incident Response Plans, definitely use the KISS method)
“Additional risks exist around response time in the aftermath of a breach. According to Sheehan, ‘You’ll not have valuable advice in advance of a breach, which presents litigation risks, and litigation is becoming much more common – it’s filed immediately after a breach, and counsel is involved in mitigating litigation risks.’” (what you do pre-breach can have a huge impact on how you are impacted post-breach, from a liability standpoint)
There is a lot more delicious medium-rare red meat (filet mignon, to be exact) in this article so go read it — NOW! Why every CIO needs a cybersecurity attorney | CIO.
Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is a business lawyer with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Partner at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.