Belfast law firm Cleaver Fulton Rankin has become the first legal practice in the city to set up a specialist cyber risk unit aimed at tackling online crime.
The moves comes as recent government research showed that seven out of 10 large businesses were hit by a cyber-breach or attack in the last year, yet only half of all firms have taken any recommended actions to identify and address vulnerabilities.
Only a third had formal written cyber security policies and only 10% had an incident management plan in place.
As a result, government is urging businesses to better protect themselves from cyber criminals.
The 10-strong team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin will work with clients to manage the risks around cyber-attacks and also help manage crises should they happen.
“We appreciate that cyber-attacks are very costly to a business and can do irreparable reputational damage,” said director of IT and finance Patrick Fleming.
“With our combined legal expertise and experience of working with accountants and insurers, we can take a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that clients receive the most comprehensive sound commercial advice on cyber issues, be that training and awareness of cyber risk; ensuring that technical security in contracts is sound; right through to loss and damage claims in the event of a cyber-attack.
The firm also takes its own advice on managing cyber risk and has become the first NI law firm to be awarded a UK accreditation in recognition of its high standards of cyber security.
“It should give clients comfort that our own cyber security systems have received this level of accreditation, and that we can properly protect their information,” said Mr Fleming.