Disney played host last week to an international crowd of legal IT professionals at ILTACON 2019. The heat and humidity of August in Florida did nothing to dampen the spirits of attendees who packed the exhibit hall and conference rooms to hear the latest from pundits, vendors and peers. And as typical of the opening night, vendors ignored the heat to don costumes and decorate their booths to celebrate the golden television theme. It’s was a throwback to see the tiki huts of Gilligan’s Island, and colorful banners from I Dream of Genie, and dinosaur fashions of The Flintstones.
Beyond an abundance of fictitious characters from the Stone Age, the keynote brought an interesting twist to an old theme: learning from your enemy. Drawing from the world of hackers, New York bestselling author Josh Linkner explored new approaches to how leaders can match the intense competitive pressures facing law firms, and accelerate to the mind-numbing speed at which firms must embrace new technology. Hacking Innovation was a brain stretch to awaken creativity and open the eyes of attendees looking for solutions to their problems. Or perhaps, changing the paradigm and looking for new business opportunities fueled by innovation.
Coincidentally, eSentire published two reports in time for the show, and aligned to the theme of looking to your adversary to learn. After all, they’ve been learning from us for decades. The first was the 2019 Legal Threat Report, sponsored and distributed by ILTA. This report provides a wealth of information that law firms can leverage to reduce their cyber risk profile. The report explores the most common malware, top vulnerabilities and phishing lures used to infiltrate law firms.
As the expression goes: “A wise person gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.” This report provides a focused exploration of the actions of your adversaries, along with actionable recommendations to improve your ability to protect your clients and reputation. So like Josh Linkner’s theme of hacking innovation, the report uses law enforcement parlance, “means, motives and opportunities” to frame the tenants of cybersecurity innovation. Knowing your adversaries’ capabilities helps focus priorities. Identifying their opportunities flags your security gaps or vulnerabilities. And, of course, knowing their motives highlights what assets they seek and which ones you must protect.
And that leads to the second report about how companies identify those core assets and how they protect them. Again (coincidentally) the report titled "Know Your Enemy, Know Your Risk", exposes how few firms can agree which assets are critical, which ones need protecting, and what the obligations are that come along with them.
It seems we knew where the ball was going to be, not where it is. And it’s the same notion in the legal space. Law technology is about solving a problem or optimizing a commodity service, like document management or eDiscovery. But tomorrow, law technology will be about expanded business, differentiating in a sea of same-as law firms. And like all innovation and pioneering efforts, they come with risk. The key to embracing innovation will mean taking lessons from the enemy and making predictions about their next move. But as Josk Linkner talks about, we are good at measuring the risk associated with change, but not as good at predicting the risk associated with standing still and getting left behind.
One thing is for sure. We should take a lesson from the hackers that target us. Fortune favors the brave. And they embrace risk at our expense. It’s time we look to innovation without fear and see it for the opportunity it is.