Understanding Cybersecurity from a Legal Perspective

January 14th, 2021

As cyber threats become more sophisticated and complex, so do the legal ramifications of a cyber breach. Many organizations are questioning how they might navigate a potential legal storm if, in an unfortunate case if a cyber breach, sensitive data falls in the unsafe hands of a cyber thief.

Laws now dictate that customers and vendors need to be notified if their information is suspected to be compromised or stolen. No only will the incident need to be reported to the authorities, but any industry or government-specific regulations will need to be followed. If your company does not have an incident response plan to handle a cyber breach, it may be time to consult with an attorney specializing in cybersecurity. An attorney will guide you around what organizational obligations surround a cyber incident, how and when to communicate details, compliance regulations within your location and industry, and how to legally protect yourself in the case of a breach.

Rob Simopoulos, Co-Founder of Defendify, interviewed data security and privacy attorney, Sid Bose, on The Hilt podcast about the legal side of cybersecurity. After breaking down some of the complexity surrounding the legal issues caused by a cyber breach, Sid outlined steps companies can take today to help them prepare for potential legal issues in the future:

  • Take a proactive approach, rather than reactionary, to cybersecurity.
  • Have an incident response plan in place to minimize risks of further compromise and operational downtime.
  • Meet with a specialized attorney to understand what is legally required for your industry.
  • Examine cyber insurance plans with an attorney to ensure it is robust, appropriate to your industry, and meet your organization’s needs.
  • Build and maintain a healthy cybersecurity posture to prevent breaches from occurring in the first place.
  • Ask vendors and partners who have access to your network to perform a third-party risk assessment.

Be Cyber-Smart

Part of being cyber-smart is understanding the legality of cybersecurity. Having an awareness of the liabilities and legal elements of your cybersecurity program is an essential component to not only meeting compliance, but reducing further risk of expense, reputation, and loss of business opportunities. A strong cybersecurity posture and legal foundation keeps your business protected and prosperous.

For more information of the legality of cybersecurity, listen to The Intersection of Cybersecurity, Law, and Business with Attorney, Sid Bose, and watch his presentation: The Legal Side of Cybersecurity: How Growing Businesses Can Protect Themselves.

More on the Legality of Third-Party Assessments

A third-party cybersecurity assessment allows you to thoroughly and adequately vet current and potential partners to ensure they have a strong cybersecurity posture before giving them the keys to your data. As shown by Delta Airlines’ lawsuit against their chatbot provider, it is essential to understand who you are partnering with and giving access to your network.

In Delta’s case, the poor security practices of its chatbot vendor had caused a data breach that exposed customer information, even after the vendor signed a contract stating that they complied with standards. With a robust third-party assessment, this incident may not have occurred.

Legally, it is the onus of a company to ensure their business partners have healthy security practices in place before giving them access to data. If their client’s sensitive information is leaked due to poor due diligence on their part, they can be held legally responsible.

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