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Cybersecurity responsibility increasingly shifting to in-house legal teams

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / Golden Sikorka)

Here’s an interesting side-effect of the pandemic and transition to remote working: cybersecurity is increasingly becoming the responsibility of in-house legal teams.

According to a new report, recently released by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and Exterro, cybersecurity has now overtaken compliance as the most important business issue among Chief Legal Officers (CLO).

Polling 1,000 CLOs across 21 industry and 44 countries, the two organizations found that cybersecurity, along with data privacy, is now the main preoccupation of half of them. Compliance, cybersecurity and data privacy, company ethics, risk assessment and government affairs are the functions reported to CLOs most often today.

“As people continue working from home for the foreseeable future, CLOs are increasingly being asked to assume responsibility for their company’s cybersecurity efforts,” said Robin Grossfeld, Senior Vice President, Global Initiatives at ACC.

“This is presenting a new challenge for many in-house legal teams, and one that is helping to redefine their day-to-day corporate roles.”

In the past five years, cybersecurity has been somewhat of a hot potato, with seniors executives offloading responsibility to other departments. While some firms created new positions, like the Chief Data Officer, others gave more power to either Chief Security Officers or Chief Information Security Officers. Lately, security has become a boardroom topic as well, with involvement from all quarters of the C-suite.

In many organizations, cybersecurity has become an integral part of any new product or service, rather than an afterthought.