• Data security 'a key concern' for legal firms

    Information security is a major concern for many solicitors, with more than a third wanting more training in how to protect data

    Information security is a major concern for many solicitors, with more than a third wanting more training in how to protect data

    Information security is a major concern for many solicitors, with more than a third wanting more training in how to protect data

    • The rise of technology is expected to be highly positive for legal firms, but this will bring with it a range of challenges, with keeping digital data secure a top concern.

      This is according to a recent study commissioned by the Law Society of Scotland, which found that more than four out of five solicitors in the country (81 per cent) have a very or fairly positive view of technology, with widespread recognition of its potential to improve efficiency and boost processes.

      This is despite the fact that resources to assist with this are relatively cheap and easy to implement, and councils that do suffer a breach run the risk of fines of up to £500,000.

      However, more than four out of ten (42 per cent) agreed that maintaining security is a challenge that must be addressed.

      More than a third of respondents also stated they would benefit from specific training in areas such as data protection (35 per cent) and cyber security (34 per cent).

      Helena Brown, partner and head of intellectual property, commercial and data at HBJ Gateley and a member of the Law Society’s technology law and practice committee, commented: "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."

      She added that while the vast majority of legal professionals took steps to protect themselves when they are using technology, 35 per cent of those who had experienced a security issue did not report it to anyone.

      The study found that 92 per cent of solicitors use the internet for business purposes on a daily basis, while almost six out of ten (59 per cent) also use their smartphones to access the internet for professional reasons.

      As well as issues such as malware, solicitors dealing with confidential data also need to be aware of the dangers of 'visual hacking', where data is exposed by being visible to others on a computer or smartphone screen. This may be particularly relevant if they are accessing business data on their smartphone while commuting, for example.