The question of cybersecurity and its relevance to general counsel was one of the major topics examined at this week’s Corporate Counsel Forum Europe.

Speaking at the event yesterday (21 September), Kroll managing director for cybersecurity and investigations Andrew Beckett (pictured above left), said: “GCs are becoming more and more responsible for their company’s cyber incident response. They are now responsible in 50% of cases.”

Beckett cited the example of former Yahoo general counsel Ron Bell, who resigned earlier this year after an investigation of the company revealed that its legal team failed to sufficiently inquire into a massive 2014 cybersecurity breach.

Cybersecurity and the risks associated with it are increasingly falling under the remit of general counsel as threat levels rise, according to speakers at the event.

BAE Systems group GC Philip Bramwell (pictured above right) said: “If you have not practised your cyber incident response plan, maybe you should, because you will not have the in-house capacity to deal with a cyber threat. You need to have a relationship cybersecurity firm, and this all needs to already be in place.”

“It’s not a case of if you will be attacked – you will be attacked, or perhaps are already being attacked.”

Other panel discussions throughout the two-day conference included a session on digital disruption and how GCs can help their companies become more innovative.

The discussion was led by RPC partner Oliver Bray and included Seedrs chief legal officer Karen Kerrigan, Channel 4 controller of corporate legal, regulatory, trading and governance Robin Chalmers, Uber legal director Kandarp Thakar, and Ascential group legal director Nilema Bhakta-Jones.

The first day finished with an interview with Manchester Square Partners headhunter Mark Stroyan and Centrica deputy group general counsel Justine Campbell, who also chaired the event. They discussed the evolving role of the GC and the attributes needed to reach the top of the profession.

Other speakers contributing to the two-day event include HSBC UK GC Hugh Pugsley, National Grid UK GC Rachael Davidson, Microsoft assistant GC Dervish Tayyip and Lloyds Banking Group head of legal operations Sophie Schwass, while BT group GC Dan Fitz will today be interviewed on reputational risk by Legal Week editor Georgina Stanley.

The event, which is being held at Pennyhill Park in Surrey, is due to finish with a closing keynote address from professional poker player Caspar Berry about decision-making and how to manage risk.

Click here for more information on the Corporate Counsel Forum Europe.