*This article first appeared in Law360 on December 18, 2017.
For well over a year, defense contractors have had New Year’s Eve 2017 circled on their calendars, and not because they love the “auld lang syne” and a good glass of champagne. (Or at least not only for those reasons.) Dec. 31, 2017, is the deadline for when covered contractors must comply with the U.S. Department of Defense’s new Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) cybersecurity requirements. This holiday season contractors are thus making their lists and checking them twice in order to ensure that they will be compliant by the end of the year. And this intense focus is well warranted. The DOD is deeply committed to protecting its information, and the requirements are an important step in that regard.
But for all of the focus on Dec. 31, contractors must also remember that the focus on compliance must remain into the New Year — and beyond. New technologies will emerge. Contractors will buy new systems and hire new employees. And all the while, internal security teams will be trying to stay a step ahead of hackers and “white hat” security researchers. In short, despite contractors’ best efforts, gaps may be identified at any time. Moreover, these gaps may carry with them real consequences — not only the possibility of contract termination, but also the risk of costly and disruptive False Claims Act investigations and lawsuits, with the specter of treble damages, and the possibility of suspension and debarment, lurking. It is thus crucial that contractors continue to be vigilant about the regulations, and take steps to enable them to demonstrate their vigilance and compliance, in order to best position themselves to avoid liability.
On October 26, 2017, the U.S. Department of Treasury released a 176-page Report examining the current regulatory framework for asset management and insurance industries. The Report, titled A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities: Asset Management and Insurance, identifies laws and regulations that are inconsistent with the Trump Administration’s Core Principles for financial regulation as set forth in Executive Order 13772 (Feb. 3, 2017), and makes recommendations to ensure alignment. For data privacy and security, the Report commented on the Insurance Data Security Model Law (the “Model Law”) adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (the “NAIC”) on October 24, 2017 (for more information on the development of the Model Law, see our prior coverage). The Model Law attempts to set a baseline for cybersecurity, although it depends on legislative action on the state level. (more…)
On 10 October 2017, Jamaica introduced into its House of Parliament a comprehensive Bill for privacy and data protection, entitled “An Act to Protect the Privacy of Certain Data and for Connected Matters.” The new law would cover personal data, including data in an “accessible record” such as a health record or an educational record. If passed, the new law will be named the “Data Protection Act, 2017.” (more…)
*Article first appeared in Corporate Board Member on November 7, 2017
At a time when a major cybersecurity incident can cost a company millions, it’s crucial that acquiring companies give cybersecurity the same level of scrutiny as they do more traditional risks and opportunities in the M&A due diligence process. Yet too many deals suffer from superficial consideration of these issues.
Why the disconnect? Unlike other areas where companies face legal and regulatory implications, in-house and outside legal teams often lack well-developed methods to analyze cybersecurity risks, too often considering them technical issues beneath the notice of the bankers and lawyers. In many cases, deal teams lack the skill sets to analyze the issues effectively and cannot even speak the language of the CIOs and CISOs well enough to spot “alternative facts.” Boards need to ensure that they or their advisers—preferably both—have sufficient skills to assess cybersecurity risks and ask the right questions. (more…)
*This post originally appeared in BNA’s Corporate Law & Accountability Report on November 6, 2017.
Cyberattacks and data breaches are increasingly the subject of front-page headlines and can have material effects on our personal lives. And yet, reports suggest that many corporate directors and managers remain relatively unaware of important cybersecurity issues, risks, and strategies that directly relate to their organizations.
For example: imagine that your company has fallen victim to a successful cyberattack and customer data was stolen. In the aftermath, the securities plaintiffs’ bar undoubtedly will be searching for stockholders to(among other things) pursue claims for violations of state and federal securities laws and/or for breaches of fiduciary duty against the company’s board. Are you, your colleagues, managers, and directors prepared to respond to and manage this type of incident and the subsequent litigation and regulatory investigations? Have you documented your diligence in governing cybersecurity risk? For many, the answer may be no.
This article discusses the scope of this problem, how it can directly impact you and your company, and steps you can take now to help prepare for the unknown. It is certainly true that even the best cybersecurity programs cannot guarantee deterrence of all attacks. But such programs unquestionably mitigate the risk of a breach, support organizational resilience, and help control the fallout should one occur.
On October 3, 2017, the Article 29 Working Party (“WP29”) adopted draft guidelines regarding notification of personal data breaches under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) which will require breach notification within 72 hours of awareness of a breach. (“Draft Guidelines”) (The Draft Guidelines appear to have been released for public comment during the week of 16th October). The deadline for comment is November 24, 2017. The Draft Guidelines are available here. The WP29 is a collective of EU data privacy supervisory authorities (“DPAs”). (more…)
*This post originally appeared in Law 360 on October 24, 2017.
We’ve seen it happen time and again. When a company experiences a major data breach or hacking incident, media attention turns to speculation or allegations about the company’s past history of underinvesting in cyber defenses, its supposed culture of cyber complacency, or its history of unaddressed (but, in retrospect, allegedly clear) vulnerabilities. New information may come to light indicating the victimized company suffered previous breaches months, or years, earlier. Rumors of cyber-inadequacy gain currency among current and former employees and, ultimately, regulators and plaintiffs. Sometimes (but not always), these rumors, allegations, supposition and speculation even turn out to be true. (more…)