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Legacy Matters
BlogsPublications | September 5, 2019
5 minute read
Legacy Matters

Is Your Family Office Ready For a Cyber Incident?

There are two types of companies: those who have been hacked, and those who don’t yet know
they have been hacked.”  ─  John Chambers, Former CEO of Cisco

When it comes to cyber breaches, it is no longer a matter of “if;” it is a matter of “when.” Whether caused by family member thoughtlessness, employee error or the acts of a skilled data thief, everyone is likely to be the victim of an information breach at some point.

Cyberattacks Aren’t Just For Big Companies

Although cyberattacks become more sophisticated every year, such as the recent breach at Capital One, many hackers go after easy targets where the data is more accessible and the chance of detection is smaller, often hitting small businesses, high net worth individuals and family offices. In fact, a 2017 study by Campden Research stated that of the high net worth Americans surveyed, 41% said their family offices or family businesses had already experienced a cyberattack.1
What makes these groups more accessible? They often:

    This same Campden report shows that almost 40% of study participants did not have a cybersecurity plan in place. This seems to show that families and their offices are failing to appreciate the damage that cyberattacks can cause them, such as public release of the family’s private information, theft of the family’s assets, ransom requests to unlock encrypted information, or even blackmail or personal security threats against the family.

    Be Prepared For a System Breach

    Creating a cyber incident response plan can help identify gaps in your data security. In addition, it will prepare you to respond to a suspected breach and manage communications, notifications, insurance claims and other tasks following a breach. Plus, being prepared helps save time, money and embarrassment in the event of a breach.
    So, what can a family office or family business do to prepare for the possibility of a cyber breach?

    1. Have a team.

      2. Conduct a review.

        3. Develop protocols and procedures and test them regularly.

          4. Have a plan to contain the breach quickly and manage information.

          Have response team members on stand-by who can:

            Warner’s Cyber Incident Response Team

            If you have a goal to be prepared, but planning for cybersecurity keeps getting pushed to the bottom of your never-ending “to do” list, Warner can help you move forward. Our Cyber Incident Response Service provides a team of attorneys, IT forensic professionals and crisis communications specialists to help your family office or business conduct a review of your current situation and develop your data incident response plan.

            Then, in the event you have an incident, a Warner attorney will be your first point of contact, and the team will execute your response plan, assist with follow-up matters such as insurance claims, and conduct a post-incident review to present to your leadership group or board of directors. Because Warner manages the response team, the IT forensic and crisis communications firms work under our direction to protect the investigation and communications with attorney-client and attorney work product privileges to the extent possible.

            If you would like more information on working with our team or preparing your family office or business for a cyber incident, please contact Rodney Martin (616.752.2138 or or Mark Harder (616.396.3225 or  

            1Campden Wealth. (2017). More than a quarter of UHNW families targeted by cyberattack. Retrieved from