Corporate Board is 'Weak Link,' Vulnerable to Hacking, Info Theft

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on October 06, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Is your corporate board a "weak link" in your company's information security system?

Unfortunately, it might be.

Unlike other high-level executives, board members often function outside the brick and mortar company office. As a result, confidential information is often left on unsecured devices or email accounts on their personal computers.

In fact, a vast majority of companies are vulnerable to security issues according to a recent survey by Thomson Reuters Governance, Risk & Compliance.

About 85% of companies surveyed had unencrypted board communications. 79% of companies reported that they had board documents stored in personal computers. 75% had sensitive board information stored on mobile devices. 73% of companies reported sending documents to board members via personal email.

And startlingly, 10% of companies surveyed reported that computers, mobile devices or other company documents were either stolen or left in public places.

General counsels should be aware of these security risks. After all, if the company ever faces litigation they are obligated to know where documents and information lie.

In house counsel might want to consider educating corporate board members about the importance of information security. It's all too easy for outside directors to take work home. And sometimes it's necessary in order to complete jobs or to stay in touch.

Computing devices like tablet computers and smartphones offer convenience but they also increase the risk of information leaks. Since in house counsels are tasked with combating legal issues, don't let your corporate board's actions jeopardize the legal well-being of your company.

[FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters Business. Thomson Reuters conducted the survey mentioned in this article.]

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