Ron Breaux in Law360: Data Breaches Put Retail GCs In The Firing Line

05/22/2014


Recent high-profile data breaches at major retailers such as Target Corp. and Neiman Marcus Group Ltd. have ratcheted up the pressure on in-house counsel to effectively coordinate their company's preparation and response to cybersecurity threats, an especially difficult task given the thick cloud of regulatory and legal uncertainty surrounding how to handle breaches, according to experts.

Although retailers have long been concerned about both internal and external threats to the sensitive consumer data they hold, the recent spate of breaches that began with Target revealing the loss of millions of consumers' financial and personal data in December has put both companies and their general counsel on high alert and left them scrambling to ensure that they are not the next target...

Nearly 80 percent of respondents in the Association of Corporate Counsel survey named information privacy as a pressing issue, placing it third behind ethics and compliance and regulatory or government changes, while data breaches and protection came in fifth, just behind the protection of intellectual property.

“What companies are now starting to realize is that it's simply not reasonable to expect that they can build a firewall around their network and prevent people from getting inside,” said Ronald Breaux, the head of the privacy and data security group at Haynes and Boone, LLP. “The mindset has changed to assuming that there will be a breach and doing everything possible to manage that expectation.”

Excerpted from Law360, May 22, 2014. To view full article, click here (subscription required).

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