Aug 20 2013

ILTA 2013: Law Firm IT Security Could Be Key to Keeping KFC’s Secret Recipe Safe

Legal professionals at the International Legal Technology Association’s annual conference have security on the brain.

When companies consider their vulnerabilities, many put their networks at the top of the list. Are firewalls up to code? Has the server operating system been updated with the latest patch?

But few companies stop to consider that the most vulnerable point in their data loss prevention plan might lie outside of their building, in their law firm’s offices.

Last year, word broke about a Washington, D.C., law firm that was breached by Chinese hackers. In a Bloomberg News report about the breach, Shawn Henry, a former executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services branch said, “This is the biggest vacuuming up of U.S. proprietary data that we’ve ever seen. It’s a machine.”

With foreign and domestic hackers plugging away at firms of all sizes, legal IT leaders are on high alert. And the clients they represent should be too.

Imagine this: Hackers break into a law firm that represents KFC and steals the Colonel’s Secret Recipe for fried chicken. Suddenly, copycats pop up left and right, and KFC’s intellectual property no longer provides it the competitive advantage it once had.

“The law firm that has the original recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken had better have very good [security] cause you know what'll happen is somebody in Romania or the Eastern bloc… they will get in there. And you have to be very vigilant of what you're doing,” said Paul Obernuefemann, director of information systems for Lewis, Rice & Fingersh, speaking with BizTech at the ILTA’s annual conference in Las Vegas.

“You have to have a multilayered defense,” he added.

In the case of KFC, it would be impossible for hackers to get the complete recipe from any firm, since it’s locked away in a high-tech vault at the company’s headquarters.

But if hackers were able to snag one piece of the recipe from the law firm and another from a supplier, then there could be an issue.

Watch the Interview with Obernuefemann and other Legal IT leaders below

For more updates from the this year's ILTA conference, check out our hub for ILTA 2013.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsimmonsonca/5357260110/sizes/l/">Gary Simmons/Flickr</a>