DMH Stallard is an award winning law firm providing strategic and operational legal advice. From corporate finance and M&A advice, to resolving commercial disputes or putting safeguards in place, their lawyers focus on delivering success to help clients protect and grow their businesses. Joanna Potbury, Associate at DMH Stallard details the increasingly prevalent world of cybercrime.
At DMH Stallard, we have a team of technology law experts who can advise and assist clients in developing commercial strategies and security policies to protect their businesses from cyberattacks. Our lawyers also have significant experience in taking action through the courts to protect your business and employees, and secure compensation where applicable. Our core value is that our clients are our business, and we therefore strive to give our clients exceptional advice and support throughout the firm.
In a constantly evolving world, businesses need to keep up with the technological needs of their companies, and cybercrime is perhaps one of the biggest emerging threats to any business. Cyber criminals are sophisticated, and are becoming more and more so. Their techniques are continually evolving, and the risks to businesses small or large are real. The internet is growing daily, the use of electronic communications is the norm, and even more information is being held in cloud services.
As such, there couldn’t be a more inviting time for cyber criminals to attack businesses. With technology evolving at a lightning pace, unless businesses can keep up, they will be susceptible to attacks and will be considered as easy targets. It is therefore increasingly important to ensure that systems are in place to prevent attacks. Not only must steps be taken to ensure that businesses are protected (prevention is better than cure), but also to ensure that if the worst does happen, that businesses have strategies in place to enable them to react quickly to minimise damage.
Not only do businesses face the attack itself, but possibly more damaging is the impact to the business in the following year – businesses who have suffered attacks have reported damage to their financials as well as their reputation. They may also be liable to prosecution and/or fines for the loss of data as well as to civil liability from third parties whose data has been taken. It is critical that firms have plans in place to protect data, systems and client information.
Moreover, businesses also need to be aware and alert to the risk that cybercrime in the form of data theft may not always be an external threat but may come from within the business itself from disaffected or departing employees. Our team at DMH Stallard has acted in several cases where employees have taken business critical and confidential data to use for their own purposes or for rival businesses in competition with their employer.
With all of these aspects in mind, there is no doubt that cybercrime is a real threat in today’s digital world. Our top 5 tips for businesses looking to protect themselves are:
1. Install strong anti-virus software and ensure that it is kept up-to-date; 2. Appoint a key individual within the company (or a committee) who is responsible for IT activities across the firm; 3. Provide training for and update staff on a regular basis regarding the threats of cybercrime, the impact it can have on the business, and measures which they can take to prevent it (such as changing their passwords and ensuring confidential data is kept secure with access limited to only those who require access to it); 4. Ensure that third parties that the company deals with are also cyber secure; 5. Develop a strategy and plan which sets out who should be notified if a breach occurs, and what steps should be taken to rectify it.
Today at DMH Stallard we employ more than 250 staff. We believe in teamwork, innovation, and success, and pride ourselves in delivering a level of service far better than clients would expect from a law firm. Our staff are key to our success. A commitment shared by everyone in the firm to look after our clients and build long term relationships with them will help us to continue to grow steadily and be recognised nationally, internationally and regionally. Our staff recognise that clients are our business, and they are dedicated to their success.
Looking further down the road, there are many challenges facing us in our industry. In an ever changing market, cybersecurity, digitisation of the courts, and a need to introduce more agile ways of working to meet client demands are top concerns for law firms in 2016. DMH Stallard LLP have preempted these trends in the market and are already implementing measures to ensure that we remain leaders within the industry and continue to deliver our clients’ goals and objectives effectively every time.
Despite these challenges, DMH Stallard continues to go from strength to strength with two mergers completed in 2015. The firm has never been bigger or more profitable, and is an incredibly exciting place to work. We are proud to work with some of the most innovative and successful organisations in the country, including major financial institutions, FTSE listed companies, private equity backed businesses and high profile public sector bodies. We are also delighted that the firm continues to be recognised with industry awards and in 2016 was awarded the Corporate Law Firm of the Year and Deal of the Year (transactions under £10m) at the prestigious Insider South East Dealmakers Awards.