Cyber security ‘top’ concern for Scottish solicitors

Cyber security is the top technology challenge for Scottish solicitors according to a new survey commissioned by the Law Society of Scotland.

Almost half of respondents (42%) to the society’s first technology audit report indicated that maintaining cyber security was a challenge.

The survey was carried out by Ipsos Mori and is due to be unveiled today at the Law Society’s Technology and Cybercrime Conference in Glasgow.

“This is the first survey the Law Society has carried out about solicitors’ views on and use of technology,” said Helena Brown, partner and head of intellectual property, commercial and data at HBJ Gateley, who is chairing the event and is a member of the Law Society’s technology law and practice committee.

She added: “The findings highlight the positive view most have of increased use of technology and how it can benefit their businesses and the wider justice system, but also draw attention to some of the issues the profession faces in terms of keeping up to date with developments and how to ensure that their data is safe.

“The findings also highlight areas that we will want to explore further. The vast majority of respondents took steps to protect themselves online, such as not clicking on suspect links and using passport protection on their devices, however 35% of those who had experienced a cyber-security issue did not report it to anyone. It may be that some of this relates to scam emails from fraudsters which most of us would simply delete, but it perhaps indicates there is an issue in what and how cyber security issues should be dealt with.”

The overwhelming majority of respondents (81%) had a very or fairly positive view of technology, with solicitors recognising the importance of using technology to improve processes and increase efficiency. In addition, 78% agreed that technology is creating ideas for innovation and new business models for law firms and 73% said technology supports the way clients commission work. Around a third (34%) agreed that use of artificial intelligence systems was reducing costs within the sector.

The data indicated that 92% of solicitors used the internet on a daily basis for business, with 59% also using their smartphones to access the internet for business purposes.

Around a third (32%) said that keeping up with developments could be difficult and significant numbers believed they would benefit from training in areas including data protection (35%) and cyber security (34%).

Speakers at the conference will address issues ranging from cloud technology and cyber attacks to data protection and whistleblowing.

Professor Bill Buchanan from The Cyber Academy, will look at cyber threats including large-scale fraud, data loss and bad security while Mandy Haeburn-Little, Director of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, will advise on mitigating risks and procedures for reducing cyber attacks.

Tim Barraclough, Director at the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, will examine how digital technology can help improve the criminal justice system and provide an update on the current Criminal Evidence and Procedure Review. Tim Musson, managing director of Computer Law Training and convener of the Law Society’s Privacy Law Committee, will discuss the use of big data in whistleblowing cases.

Brown added: “Today’s event is all about raising awareness of cybercrime risks and providing the best possible guidance to help solicitors safeguard their businesses, allowing them to reassure their clients that their data and funds are secure.”