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Data Security and Technology Top the List

AlixPartners recently surveyed more than 200 executives worldwide and found that the majority consider data security a major concern. And most of those organizations are taking proactive measures to protect against data breaches. Louis Dudney details findings from the AlixPartners latest poll.

Corporate legal and compliance executives have always had their hands full, but today’s global economy and ever-expanding technological advances have created a more complicated environment in which to manage risk. To understand more about the top issues facing these professionals, AlixPartners recently polled 239 legal and compliance executives in companies representing more than 20 major industries in North America and Europe.*

There’s no doubt that the thought of a major data breach of consumer financial and personal data (and the ensuing lawsuits) are what keep corporate counsel and compliance officers awake at night. We found that 58 percent of survey respondents believe data security is an “important” or “extremely important” issue, and more than one-third say they would pay a premium for the highest standard of data security in e-discovery matters. Over one-third of legal and compliance execs said that they have implemented new technology in the past year designed to mitigate data security risk, while an additional 58 percent have kept levels the same.

Litigation costs continue to be another top concern, with 92 percent of respondents saying spending on litigation has either stayed the same or increased in the last year. Meanwhile, 90 percent said their internal litigation departments have either increased in size or stayed the same size, indicating no respite from internal cost pressures.

Our survey also showed that cross-border disputes have become more common. The number of disputes across country lines has increased or stayed the same in the 12 months preceding the survey, according to 91 percent of respondents. Contract disputes, employment disputes and regulatory matters were the most common types of disputes reported. Meanwhile, 46 percent of respondents say they were involved in at least one cross-border arbitration case in the year preceding the survey, compared to 44 percent in our survey last year, and only 8 percent say they expect such cases to decrease in the year ahead.

More than half of corporate and compliance executives participating in the survey said that the proactive management of risk was “important” or “extremely important” to their company, second only to controlling costs and data security. Identifying compliance program gaps, providing education and training and performing regular compliance audits were cited as steps most often taken to reduce the risk of potential litigation. Meanwhile, nearly half of respondents said that their companies have used consulting firms to assist with commercial disputes, with “subject-matter expertise” and “responsiveness” being “important” or “extremely important” qualities for these firms to possess.

Being proactive is the key to managing risk, and companies can protect themselves by identifying compliance gaps and employing the latest technology and analytics tools.

 

**The AlixPartners 2018 Litigation and Corporate Compliance Survey polled 239 senior corporate legal and compliance executives, including general counsel and compliance officers, from companies with annual revenues of $150 million or more, with 64 percent having revenues of $1 billion or more. Respondents represented over 20 major industries in the United States and Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain.

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Louis Dudney

Louis Dudney is the global leader of AlixPartners’ Investigations, Risks and Disputes practice and a managing director at the global advisory firm.

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