The Wall Street Journal: One Third of European Companies Breached Last Year, Survey Says

Originally Published in The Wall Street Journal | May 28, 2013 | By Christopher M. Matthews

Nearly one-third of general counsel at European companies say their company has experienced a cybersecurity breach in the last year, according to a new survey.

The survey, released Tuesday by the Consero group, shows 31% of the in-house lawyers said their companies had been breached, and 52% said their companies were unprepared to defend against future breaches.

“Confidence in information security is likely diminished by the high level of publicity surrounding recent cyber attacks, and will likely continue to decline before it gets better, said Paul Mandell, founder and chief executive of Consero, which produces events for legal and compliance professionals.

The survey drew on responses from 42 general counsels at major European companies at a Consero conference in March. The lawyers were also asked about wider trends for the in-house legal profession. Other findings included:

  • 60% of respondents said the role of general counsel and chief compliance officer ought to be distinct.
  • Department budgets held steady with the majority of respondents (57%) reporting either no change or slight growth.
  • More than a quarter (29%) felt their departments were missing key resources to meet regular demands.
  • Just over one quarter (26%) said that their staff lacked the requisite knowledge for handling international subject matter.
  • Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) said they lack a sufficient level of access to their company’s CEO and a third (33%) found their board of directors too inaccessible.
  • General counsel are well compensated, with nearly half (45%) reporting a salary of more than €200,000.