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May 24, 2017
By John P. Torres and Kenneth C. Citarella
Applying some basic legal skills can be really helpful for law firms as they move forward with their cyber security priorities. Lawyers tackle new matters all the time and no two cases are alike. There are factual issues to master, legal research to conduct and a plan to prepare to guide the transaction of litigation. Making assumptions, even when based on past experience, can be a serious error for a lawyer. A fresh case requires a fresh mind.
That same attitude can successfully guide a law firm on the path to cyber security.
Start with being certain you understand the facts of your cybersecurity “case”. Cyber security is all about protecting the information that sits within your computer network, including the equipment in your office(s), cloud storage and portable devices. So, a law firm has to master the following sets of facts:
Achieving a deep understanding of the facts of your cyber security “case”, will naturally expose some of the vulnerabilities you face. They will mean even more to the “expert witness” you should retain to help you win this case. Just like in any case in which real expertise is needed to help present and interpret the facts, you need a cyber security consultant on your side. Ideally, retain the expert as early as you can while assembling the facts and allow him or her to guide and assist with the process.
Now that you know the facts, you can proceed on to the equivalent of your legal research, determining the best operational and technological steps to improve your cyber security.
John P. Torres has extensive investigative and security experience. Previously, he served as the Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Washington, D.C. and Virginia. His background includes more than 27 years of experience providing investigative and security management for the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, including serving as the Acting Director and the Deputy Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Kenneth C. Citarella has more than 30 years of experience investigating and prosecuting white collar crime and computer crime. Previously, he had a distinguished 28-year career as a prosecutor in the Westchester County, New York District Attorney’s Office. A pioneer in computer crime prosecution, Mr. Citarella obtained convictions for computer intrusions, malicious software attacks, a software time bomb, spamming, digital child pornography, and the use of the Internet for child exploitation, among other cases.