What do I mean by a “full-bore CISO?” For the larger firms, I mean a heavily credentialed and experienced data security expert, the type who comes with a 6- or 7-figure price tag, and whose background is from the likes of the NSA or companies in comparably sophisticated leagues. (I didn’t say this would be cheap, but neither is dissolution as a going concern.)
And another thing: Whatever your CISO recommends needs to have the same force as if it came from the Managing Partner and Executive Committee. No worming around it or taking an appeal.
I have another theory—the even less flattering one—about why Law Land is vulnerable: Partners who think they know better and are too smart or can’t be bothered. I can, without meeting any of the offenders lurking within your firm, assure you with a high degree of confidence of their response were you to challenge them on their security hygiene: They would lecture you with certitude and an air of finality that they know better and that nothing could possibly go wrong.
Secretaries, paralegals, and most of your partners and associates wouldn’t do that. Only the Super Egos will. But as usual, that’s who you need to watch out for.
I have zero knowledge of what might or might not have happened at Cravath and Wachtell, and the point of this article is that we all need to belatedly start to take this stuff with dead seriousness, but I can’t help but point out that my ego-driven exceptionalism theory is fully consistent with the most elite firms being vulnerable—they house the most super-sized egos.
It’s been said that the biggest “or” in the English language is the one in this phrase: “knew or should have known…”
By that standard, you have no further excuses.
Regular readers know that I’m fond of data, so here’s some.
Courtesy of the ingenious “Information is Beautiful” site, here is a diagram of:
- Every known data breach since 2004
- Involving at least 30,000 records
- In the financial services, healthcare, legal, and tech sectors
- Resulting from hacking or an inside job/leak.
The size of the bubbles corresponds to the number of records stolen and, for present purposes, you can ignore the blue and orange colors. (Orange represents what the “Information is Beautiful” folks think is a particularly interesting story.)
Don’t say you couldn’t see it coming.