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Cyber-security overtakes AI as top investment priority for law firms

by LLB Reporter
2nd Oct 18 8:31 am

A survey of the UK’s largest law firms, conducted by HSBC UK in partnership with The Lawyermagazine, suggests that investment in cyber-security is topping their list of tech investment priorities after 70 per cent admitted experiencing a cyber-attack. 

More than four-out-of-five (84 per cent) firms cite cyber-security as their main technology focus over the next three years. A quarter of firms have reported a cyber-attack within the last two years alone.

The second annual report by HSBC UK shows cyber-security overtaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) as law firms’ number one investment focus, pushing AI investment into third place. This is despite plans to invest in AI rising from 65 per cent to 68 per cent since last year. 

Simon Adcock, HSBC UK’s Head of Professional Services, said: “With such a high proportion of firms exposed to cyber-attacks, it’s not surprising that improving cyber-security is of such importance. The frequency and sophistication of attacks is continuing to rise and recent high-profile incidents have only served to underline this, demonstrating the potentially catastrophic impact that a breach can have on a law firm.”

The findings also suggest that investment in new and innovative technology, such as AI and automation, is about to peak. According to HSBC UK, the most plausible reason for this is that many firms have already purchased and implemented the systems they need and are now working on maximising the capability of those systems and assessing the return on their investment. 

As such, firms are anticipating a shift in their spending over the next three years, with the majority (60 per cent) of their tech investment going on ‘business as usual’ (BAU) requirements, such as Practice Management Systems and Customer Relationship Management tools, rather than focusing solely on innovative and emerging tech. 

Simon Adcock continued: “It’s seemed like every major law firm has been rushing to invest in AI and machine learning over the last few years to bring benefits to clients and stay ahead of the competition. While this will continue, our research points to a slight change of direction on the horizon to BAU requirements while they digest and evaluate the returns that these new platforms are delivering.”

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