In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Recently in eDiscovery & Legal Tech Category

After AI, How Valuable Is Your Company's Data?

Economists say data is the new oil.

It suggests that data is the world's most valuable resource. And if your company has it, then you may be sitting on an untapped source of money.

Like an oil rig, it could be a gusher. Or it could blow up in your face. Here are some precautions to consider before you start drilling.

IP Issues for Startups in 2018

With every new year comes a new startup. Then another. And another.

It's the heritage of American industry to start a business -- from a $1 mousetrap to a $1 billion ABCmouse. With all that history, you would think entrepreneurs would have learned something about how to trademark and protect intellectual property.

That's where in-house counsel has to be creative. This is about helping startups avoid IP issues in 2018 and beyond.

There's risk involved in any and every form of data management. Even the tried and true paper hard copy is susceptible to loss, theft, damage, and that's not to mention deterioration over time. It's no surprise that companies have increasingly been going digital, and even going a little bit further and integrating cloud technologies.

When it comes to that last part, there are several risk factors that a corporate counsel or in house attorney would be wise to consider. You can read about a few below, along with potential solutions.

It seems that at least a few times per year, there is some major hack of a major corporation. This month, the big hack involved the massive credit reporting agency, Equifax, which is quite frightening given the nature of the information the company processes.

The Equifax hackers made off with over 140 million American's information, including their names, birthdates, addresses, social security numbers, and potentially some driver license numbers. A smaller group, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, also had credit card information and documents stolen as well.

While no company wants to be hacked, not having up-to-date cybersecurity can be an invitation to hackers.

The Legal Cost of Deleted Text Messages

In litigation, a deleted text message could cost your client the case.

It could happen when you least expect it, even before opposing counsel demands that you preserve any evidence. And when your client is a company, it can be like herding cats to notify all the employees to save their text messages.

With courts handing out monetary and even terminating sanctions for deleted text messages, it pays to have an eDiscovery plan before a lawsuit happens. Here are some cases and studies to consider:

eDiscovery Mistake Leads to 'Nightmare' for Wells Fargo Lawyer

Ever had that nightmare where you pushed the wrong button and suddenly your career was over?

That's gotta be the real-life nightmare Angela Turiano is having. In an eDiscovery response, Truiano accidentally turned over confidential client information to opposing counsel.

But this wasn't just some embarrassing email; it was confidential information about thousands of Wells Fargo's wealthiest clients -- names, Social Security numbers, and billions of dollars. If only there were an undo button.

Corporate Work Available: Encryption Required

Peter Beshar, general counsel at Marsh & McLennan Companies, won't shake hands with just any lawyer.

When it comes to email with outside counsel, he requires an "electronic handshake." It's a form of email encryption, which verifies the domains of two companies communicating with each other.

In a cyber-sensitive world, it's an idea that is catching on at many law firms that want to ensure client information is secure.

AI Increases Cyber Risks for Companies

Data, the affable android of Star Trek fame, had a lesser-known brother named Lore. In the fictional universe, they were identical on the outside but very different on the inside. They were incalculably intelligent, yet as different as good and evil.

Similarly in the real world, artificial intelligence has great potential to improve the legal condition. But this blog is about AI's dark side.

Big data is making it increasingly easy to gain insight from unstructured information, to use satellite imagery of big box parking lots to predict stock performance, say, or to identify potential human traffickers based on bank deposits. And companies can also turn those analytic abilities inward, looking for insights into the data their own employees create.

But what ethical restraints should be placed on such data? When is using employee data a valid management strategy and when is it a step toward an Orwellian corporate dystopia?

Is Your Work Data Secure? Tips from IBM's Security Officer

Shamlaw Naidoo, chief information security officer for IBM, says that personal behavior is the first line of defense against cyberattacks.

"As consumers, we make the difference," she told an audience at a recent American Bar Association Techshow. "The world we live in is changing. Give yourself the benefit of taking all the steps you can."

Naidoo offered her remarks in the presentation, "Beyond Encryption: Protecting Your Assets Everywhere and All the Time." She urged cybersecurity basics -- setting up strong passwords, updating patches on computers and personal devices and ensuring encryption during internet communications.

She also talked about the problems lawyers will face in near future, as clients demand more protection for their data.