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Safeguard your data, safeguard your business

29 Mar 17
Chris Graham, Jonny Smith and Patrick Harwood
Chris Graham, head of Watson Burton law firm’s Commercial Litigation, Fraud and Employment team – and member of the Management Committee of the NE Fraud Forum - explores the challenges facing businesses in the cyber security arena.

It’s startling to think that the UK is second only to Columbia on cybercrime’s global league table. Yet that’s exactly the case, according to Kroll’s recent Global Fraud and Risk Report, which stated that 92 per cent of executives at British companies had experienced an attack or information loss in the last year.

Cybercrime is very much in the headlines: last month, for instance, saw the Association of British Travel Agents hit by a hacking incident, putting the records of around 43,000 people at risk.

It’s very clear, therefore, that businesses need to put both technological and legal measures in place to mitigate against the risk of cybercrime and data theft. That risk may come from both external threats, such as hackers, but also staff or former employees who may have a motive to access confidential information. Ex-employees may wish to access data to give their new firms a competitive advantage, while current staff may exploit security loopholes to commit fraud. Any business can fall victim, from large multinationals to SMEs, but especially vulnerable are firms who have developed their IT systems and associated policies on an ad hoc basis.

It’s also vital that businesses quickly access specialist legal advice if a data breach or cyber security incident comes to light. It may be a case of damage limitation, but the sooner action is taken, the better.

Watson Burton’s Commercial Litigation, Fraud and Employment team have comprehensive experience in advising businesses on taking legal steps to minimise the risks posed by cybercrime, and in dealing with actual cases of data theft and breaches of security in companies from a wide range of industries. 

And at Watson Burton, we also practice what we preach. This month, our firm achieved Government-approved Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation. The Cyber Essentials scheme identifies the controls an organisation must have in place in order to have confidence that they are addressing cyber security effectively. To be awarded the Cyber Essentials Plus certification – the highest Cyber Essentials standard available – an organisation’s systems must be independently tested by an external body.

We are the only North East-based legal practice to be listed on the Cyber Essentials website as holding this certification – and we have been named among only 16 law firms in the country to be awarded Cyber Essentials Plus.

Achieving this accreditation is a demonstration of our commitment to our clients’ data security and it also shows Watson Burton’s support of initiatives that are helping to protect operations and business reputation.

If you want to know more about cybercrime, or feel like your business needs a security upgrade, we will be offering guidance and expert advice at our forthcoming seminars entitled Cybercrime and data theft: Understanding the Threat, Managing the Risk on April 25 and May 11 at our Newcastle offices.

For more information please contact Vikki Todd on 07817 015103 or at vikki.todd@watsonburton.com