The American Lawyer's Tech Survey Finds Big Law Concern Over Security Breaches, Some of It Client-Driven

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NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ALM's The American Lawyer finds fear of security breaches, some of it driven by explicit client concerns, to be the new hot button issue among top information executives polled in its 18th annual Am Law Tech Survey, reported in the November issue and online at americanlawyer.com.

Of the 87 technology directors and chief technology officers responding to the survey of Am Law 200 law firm, the 200 largest in the U.S., fully 86 percent are more concerned about cyberattacks than they were two years ago. Asked to characterize the cyber threat, 37 percent cited outside data break-in concerns, 26 percent worry about insiders taking intellectual property, and 21 percent fear "not knowing if data has been compromised." Anecdotal evidence suggests that clients are amplifying law firms' concerns by conducting on-site data security reviews and asking them to complete security questionnaires, sometimes at the RFP stage. Government financial and health care regulators are also driving firms focus in this area.

On the bright side, technology execs have become much more comfortable about lawyers accessing the firm network with their own phones and tablets, largely thanks to improved mobile device management systems, which 87 percent of the surveyed firms have deployed.

All report their lawyers use iPhones, 86 percent have Android users and 45 percent Windows Phones users. A decrease in BlackBerry users is predicted by 71 percent of respondents. Tablets have been slow to catch on, with only 8 percent of firms supplying them to lawyers. Nearly nine out of 10 firms say less than half their lawyers – often far less – use tablets at work, whether their own or firm-supplied.

Among other findings of the Am Law Tech Survey:

  • Technology managers are largely happy with top firm management, 93 percent of respondents saying they agree or mostly agree with recent decisions impacting their area. Also, 46 percent report their capital budgets increased this year, a fifth by over 10 percent, and 49 percent are enjoying fatter IT operating budgets.
  • While 69 percent of reporting firms use cloud computing to some extent, few trust their most sensitive information to it. Only 5 percent use the cloud for document management and 12 percent for storage. E-discovery and litigation support are the most popular applications.
  • Social media are used by 84 percent of respondent firms. Of these, 93 percent are on LinkedIn, 71 percent on Facebook and 67 percent on Twitter.

Full survey data are available for purchase in searchable, sortable Excel format from ALM Legal Intelligence at almlegalintel.com/Surveys/amlawtech.

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CONTACT: Media Contact: Fred Rackmil Rackmil Associates 212.412.0044 or fred@rackmil.com

Source: ALM