New Zealand Law Society - Cyber security biggest risk to US in-house counsel

Cyber security biggest risk to US in-house counsel

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A survey of United States corporate in-house counsel has found that data security, cyber security and privacy risks are seen as the most pressing legal issue facing their corporation.

Results from the Kroll 2016 Corporate Risk Survey have been released. Carried out in November 2015, Kroll surveyed 170 corporate in-house counsel about modern risks facing corporations.

While 76% of in-house counsel respondents perceived that their organisation had effective safeguards in place to protect its intellectual property, only 41% reported that their company's Incident Response plan was regularly updated and tested.

Of the respondents, 46% felt that their organisation's budget for data privacy was increasing, while 47% felt it had stayed the same, and 7% felt it was decreasing.

One-fifth - 20% - of respondents said they never discussed data security issues with their organisation's head of technology, while 29% had monthly discussions, 24% quarterly, and 20% every six months. Just 6% discussed it weekly.

The survey asked a series of questions on fraud, with 85% of responding in-house counsel saying their company conducts due diligence for intelligence on proposed business partners in the pre-transaction phase of a business deal.

67% believed their company was more at risk from external fraud.

Responsibility for compliance related decision-making rested with the General Counsel in 40% of surveyed organisations, followed by compliance officers (31%) and the CEO or President (27%).

63% of respondents said their organisation does not have a separate compliance department led by a compliance officer. In 46% of organisations the compliance function reports to the General Counsel or Legal Department, followed by 44% where it reports to the CEO or President.

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