Just over a month ago, we raised a glass on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange to a full day of discussions and presentations on Cybersecurity. It was a suitably sparkly end to an otherwise very serious day. While Cybersecurity conjures up images of spies, fast cars and martinis shaken not stirred, the reality is a whole lot more gritty. The consequences of error can be devastating.
Boards of Directors are waking to the challenges of governance in a world that didn’t exist 20 years ago. CEO’s are having conversations about risks that can kill their businesses. Increasingly, the conversation is drawing in General Counsel. Talk of standards and “where the buck stops” is more common. Questions abound and yet the issue has achieved only modest attention in the legal sector. Until now (perhaps).
The legal industry is in the cross-hairs of a perfect storm. Technology is becoming “how law gets done” – not simply an enabling factor like word-processing used to be. The entire world is moving quickly to becoming a fluid digital landscape – a business ecosystem with increasingly less tolerance for legacy technology and non-tech participation. As a largely service industry, law is part of the supply chain for business clients and cannot ignore the risk not only to itself but to its clients of failing to act and defend adequately.
To participate – and to win – in the next decade, law has to step up its digital game. And the Cybersecurity frontier will be a litmus test that none can fail. From ignoring it – to embracing it – change is both inevitable and absolutely essential.