When your organization is the victim of a data breach by cyberattackers, the last thing your IT department is thinking about is the contract implication of the attack. Proactive legal teams, however, can be a real asset during data breaches, provided they know how to help their technical colleagues.
Below are the three areas of clarity and assistance that legal can lend to IT.
When your IT assets are virtually on fire, your cybersecurity team is worried about communicating the damage internally to halt the attack and prevent it from recurring. In far too many cases, external communication to clients, partners, regulators, law enforcement and the media are very far down the IT team's to-do list.
Your own Service Level Agreements and Privacy Policies likely require notifying affected clients in a very specific time frame, and including very specific details in the notification. Industry regulatory bodies may have similar requirements, as will your insurance carriers. That means the IT team needs some help from legal to stay compliant in a crisis.
Knowing who has to be told how much and when is a complicated task, but the legal team can help by preparing a list (hopefully a spreadsheet) of all clients, where each client's notification deadline and minimum notification information is clearly spelled out.
A similar list for regulators and insurers should also be on hand (and probably should top the overall checklist).
Your client contracts and SLAs may also include promises of compensation for interruptions in service or exposure of user data. When it comes to service interruptions, your technical team will need to identify precisely who had downtime and exactly how long it lasted. For data breaches, the IT staff will need to identify not just the affected clients, but likely the specific user accounts breached and the types of data exposed.
That list of clients prepared for notification purposes should also have columns for types of data that need to be collated for the finance team, so they can make arrangements for proper compensation.
Between the costs of compensation and the depth of notifications required for different clients, it's pretty easy to come up with a "scoring rubric" that helps the IT team prioritize the accounts to secure and repair first. All things being equal, you want to limit the damage for clients that have the highest rates of compensation, and work to collate needed notification data for clients that you're contractually obligated to notify soonest.
The Technology That Legal Needs to Help Tech Teams
To generate this super-critical, cost- and sanity-saving list for your technology teams, the legal teams need some technology of its own. Modern AI solutions can parse and categorize contracts at the speed and scale of software, giving your legal staff a simple, straightforward method for identifying the contract language that drives this data breach impact list.
LinkSquares offers the AI tools that can read, organize, and extract the needed data from all your client and insurance contracts to get this crisis priority list built in no time.
If you're ready to make the legal department an IT ally in times of data trouble, contact LinkSquares today.