Top Belfast law firm Cleaver Fulton Rankin has become the first legal practice in the city to set up a specialist cyber risk unit aimed at tackling the growing scourge of online crime.
Recent government research showed that seven out of ten large businesses were hit by a cyber-breach or attack in the last year – yet only half of all firms have taken any recommended actions to identify and address vulnerabilities. Even fewer, about a third had formal written cyber security policies and only 10% had an incident management plan in place. As a result, government is urging businesses to better protect themselves from cyber criminals.
The ten-strong team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin will work with clients to not only manage the risks around cyber-attacks, but also help manage crises should they happen.
Patrick Fleming, CFR’s Head of IT and Finance said: “We appreciate that cyber-attacks are very costly to a business and can do irreparable reputational damage. We don’t want any client to become yet another statistic, so with our combined legal expertise and experience of working with accountants and insurers, we can take a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that clients receive the most comprehensive sound commercial advice on cyber issues, be that training and awareness of cyber risk; ensuring that technical security in contracts is sound; right through to loss and damage claims in the event of a cyber-attack.”
The firm also takes its own advice on managing cyber risk and has become the first law firm in Northern Ireland to be awarded a UK wide accreditation in recognition of its high standards of cyber security.
The IASME Governance Standard is recognised as the best cyber security standard for SMEs by the UK Government, and it based on international best practice, on how a firm deals with physical security, staff awareness as well as data backup.
Patrick concluded: “We regularly hear about expensive data breaches and system failure in companies’ IT security and regrettably this threat is set to increase as hackers get more and more sophisticated. It should give clients comfort that our own cyber security systems have received this level of accreditation, and that we can properly protect their information. It is very likely that the IASME Standard will be a future prerequisite when tendering for government work, so we are delighted to be a ‘first’ for Northern Ireland, and ahead of our competitors in this regard.”