02 October 2018

Cybersecurity overtakes artificial intelligence as law firms' tech priority

Fear of reputational damage due to hacking pushes cybersecurity to the top of the agenda for law firms, according to new report.

Defending against cyberattacks has overtaken artificial intelligence as the main technology issue for law firms, and over half of the top law firms are investing in systems changes over the next two years according to the report.

Top priority

Cybersecurity has been identified by leaders of the UK’s biggest law firms as the biggest concern based on how they allocate technology budgets. Artificial intelligence, which has been viewed as the top technology function over the last 12 months, dropped to fourth place on the investment league table. Law firm leaders at the top-50 practices in the country cited client collaboration tools and automated document production as being more important that AI. Cybersecurity is the clear priority with 70 per cent of the top firms reporting that they had suffered an attempted systems hack or related incident within the last two years. Nathan Hayes, the technology director at the law firm Osborne Clarke, told researchers’a breach could be catastrophic for the business, reputationally as well as operationally,’ and ‘reputation is more important on the basis that our clients trust us to provide them with a service and hold their information securely. If we lose that trust then that’s a significant issue so that’s why cybersecurity is a priority.’

Systems investment

The report said that 55 per cent of the top firms said they intended to invest in new or upgraded practice management systems over the next two years. Fifty per cent of the firms said they were planning no or little increase to their internal technology staffs, although 15 per cent predicted that they would increase their technology teams by more than 6 per cent over the next year. The report was produced by HSBC bank with The Lawyer magazine.