“When it comes to cyber risk, an ounce of prevention is cheaper than the very first day of litigation,” says Shawn Tuma, a noted attorney specializing in cybersecurity business law with the Scheef and Sone legal group.
The list of legal actions resulting from malware, phishing scams and other intrusive electronic crimes grows daily. This reality shifts the digital battlefront from the realm of the IT department and the boardroom to the courtroom. Attorneys, court fees, and evidence become one’s focus rather than profits, client engagement, and moving forward with sales. In short, the risks of cyber insecurity and mismanagement, at best, invites distraction and at worst results in the downfall of corporations and small businesses alike.
The latest litigant in this legal battle pits one of America’s favorite fast food chains, Wendy’s, against a Pennsylvania Credit Union who is suing the eatery on behalf of their members. The plaintiff’s beef arises from hundreds of thousands of fraudulent purchases that transpired as a result of Wendy’s lax cybersecurity measures from October 2015 to March 2016.
George Rice, a senior director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise – Data security, reports that businesses, large and small, “will find it difficult to defend themselves against lawsuits when powerful data security solutions are readily available on the market.”
After the damage has been done and now with a lawsuit filled, Wendy’s reacted by retaining a security firm to investigate the fallout from this egregious hacking incident. However, just like immunizations and disease, the best cyber defense is a technologically innovative and up-to-date stance that relies on proactivity. In the Wendy’s case, class-action plaintiffs argue that the chain failed to adopt a best practices approach which would have been preventative in nature.
While government relations firms may not be serving burgers and fries, lobbyists do represent clients and retain employees who will demand the protection of their sensitive data. This calls for a reliance on a proven best practices approach on this new cyber frontier.
Cost effective cybersecurity solutions do exist and work to preclude hacking and potentially stand as an affirmative defense against litigation when combined with top-level cyber insurance should a breach occur. While no cyber strategy is infallible, the best way to survive a cyber suit is to avoid the courtroom altogether through a proactive and technologically innovative cybersecurity posture.
Wendy’s customers may no longer be asking “where’s the beef,” but they are asking where’s my data? Unfortunately for Wendy’s, they are asking that question in a court of law.
“Teaming up with ISI over 16 years ago has proved to be one of the best business decisions I ever made.”