Data security and AI remain a challenge for firms in legal sector

Law firms have been working to adapt to major industry changes in recent times, with tech innovation and increasing data security obligations dictating business priorities.

Greater use of artificial intelligence (AI) is proving to be a particular challenge for data security compliance programmes, according to specialists.

The proliferation of AI has enabled practices and processes to become more streamlined, enabling firms to become more efficient. However, the technology also grants capacity to handle huge amounts of data, and this is presenting innumerable challenges to lawyers and IT staff.

Kingsley Hayes is managing director at data breach and cyber security leaders, Hayes Connor Solicitors. Touching upon the pros and cons of AI in the legal sphere, Mr Hayes said:

“The use of artificial intelligence is a real boost to productivity within firms who are experiencing growing pressures to work more effectively and efficiently. AI is being used in several different ways to enhance the customer experience while enabling firms to compete on cost and quality.

“Some firms are utilising chatbots technology to deliver basic legal advice for example, while most will be using AI to reduce the administrative burden on solicitors such as time recording and the automated creation of bespoke documents.

“Technological advancements are changing the face of the industry and revolutionising how we work. The use of AI however, presents greater data breach risks and firms must follow the ICO’s recommendations as it continually develops its guidance relating to AI and the protection of personal data.

Currently, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) offers advice on AI and cyber security. It gives guidelines on how to implement internal and external code security measures, and how to apply them to AI systems built in-house and by external parties.

“The legal sector is arguably at a heightened risk of data breaches due to the sheer volume of the personal data handled with artificial intelligence presenting specific, and complex, challenges compared to more traditional technologies,” Mr Hayes continued.

“It must not be overlooked that data breaches also take place as a result of human error making it essential for lawyers, and their support teams, to be continually trained on new technologies and data protection requirements,” he added.

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