Today’s news headlines are filled with reports of ever-larger data breaches and cyber security threats to businesses of all sizes as well as to governments. In 2016, known data breaches impacted LinkedIn, Verizon, Wendy’s, government agencies including the Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service, the Democratic National Committee, and industries such as higher education, financial, and healthcare. (In fact, hospitals and similar healthcare providers are often victims of the growing menace of ransomware schemes). In 2015, the top eight known data breaches compromised more than 160 million data records, and data breaches cost the world economy trillions each year. That number is only going higher.
Wide-Ranging Risks to Businesses, Big & Small
If smaller companies think they are at lower risk, almost the opposite is true: smaller businesses may be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and also to the damages caused by a data breach. According to Forbes, a company is more likely to have a breach involving 10,000 or fewer records than a large breach of 100,000 or more records. Each year, one in five small businesses is a victim of cyber-crime; and of those, about 60 percent go out of business within six months of the attack.
For breaches of any size, the resulting risks are both serious and numerous, from the tangible to the intangible: destruction of data, virus infection, long-term malware, business income loss, loss of personally identifiable information (from both employees and customers), loss of proprietary business information (trade secrets and other IP), decreased company reputation, loss of goodwill and customer confidence, cyber extortion, and third-party litigation.
The direct expenses often incurred in cyber-attacks include: forensic expert fees, outsourcing hotline support, notification costs, free credit monitoring concessions, attorney fees to defend lawsuits, and discounts for future products and services. For the direct expenses only, well-known public sources have estimated that the average cost of responding to a cyber-attack is $6.5 million.
Goals of Our Representation: Prevention, Compliance & Preparedness
Using a cross-disciplinary approach, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite’s Cyber Security Team is ready to help your business manage your cyber security risks. Our team has experience in information technology law, employment law, corporate and securities law (e.g. SEC), regulatory law (e.g. FTC), insurance law, and litigation. Our litigation team is enhanced by our Document Control Group, which provides leading eDiscovery and document review capabilities to clients around the country and across the globe.
In working with clients in this area, our representation focuses on prevention, compliance and preparedness.
How We Can Help: Our Interdisciplinary Solutions
Here is an overview of our interdisciplinary approach to helping you achieve your cyber security and data privacy goals. Because each of these areas involves overlapping and intersecting issues, it’s important to pay attention to all of them.