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Clients turn to us to manage legal risk in relation to the threat of cyber-attacks as well as when looking for response specialists to ensure they are resilient to cyber-attacks or other data breaches.

Across our international network, our cybersecurity practitioners advise on all aspects of preventing and reacting to cyber breaches or data incidents. 

Computers, the internet, mobile devices and electronic transactions all play an important and ever-increasing role within the corporate environment, particularly for businesses with a strong online presence. 

But the continued growth of “cyber” technologies and the growing phenomenon of cyber-attacks pose significant risks to businesses. Cyber attackers are often quick to spot the potential vulnerabilities of new technologies and to exploit them to commit civil and criminal offences (and to frustrate detection of those activities). Risks include:

  • damage to reputation
  • business interruption
  • financial loss 
  • litigation 
  • costs
  • loss of IP and confidential information
  • regulatory sanctions

Cybersecurity is about prevention of (and/or preparation for) cyber-attacks, but also about reaction once the risk has realised. It requires an integrated approach across traditional security disciplines proactively to understand, detect and respond to advanced and evolving threats. Our practice reflects this. 


The task of managing legal risk in relation to the threat of cyber-attacks has many different components.

Our experience in preventing cyber and information breaches includes advising on:

  • Policies: including with respect to data security, data retention and destruction; privacy impact assessments and risk assessments.
  • Standards: including awareness and understanding of available standards and guidance (eg from BIS, ENISA, EC3, ISO and others).
  • Practices: including education and training programmes, employee monitoring (including ILP and other measures); and penetration testing.
  • Governance: including advising on appropriate structures and processes (eg with respect to service provider selection and management).
  • Contracts: including review and drafting of provisions concerning imposition of security standards (eg specifications, testing and rights to participate, certification, audits, training), governance and control (eg reporting requirements, step in rights, control of announcements and communications with authorities) and liability (eg force majeure, recoverable losses, insurance).
  • Insurance: including reviewing coverage especially exclusions.

Incident response

Allen & Overy’s cross-practice team of cyber-incident response specialists supports clients to ensure they are resilient to cyber-attacks or other data breaches which may impact them or their own client’s services. We act as a partner to make sure you can react quickly and effectively.

Our experience in reacting to cyber and information breaches includes advising on:

  • Coordination: Response coordination, including managing internal stakeholders and external vendors (eg forensic teams).
  • Communications: Advising on approach to, and facilitating, communications (eg with employees, clients, media, and others). 
  • Investigations: Assisting with investigations by law enforcement authorities and regulators (including the ICO), including preparation and review of reports. 
  • Civil remedies: Pro-active response and civil remedies (including Emergency Injunctions, Search Orders, Freezing Injunctions and Disclosure Orders).
  • Reporting: Advising on reporting obligations (eg to markets, insurers, counterparties, regulators).
  • “Wash up”: dealing with post-incident actions, including liaison with regulators, defence of civil claims and employee (eg disciplinary) issues.

Digital maturity

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Digital transformation, built on the IT cornerstones of cloud, mobile, social and big data is affecting all industries.

Our integrated, multidisciplinary teams are available to help clients smooth the path for digital projects.

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