While President Obama’s new corporate cybersecurity measures are entirely voluntary, they should not be shrugged off as strictly advisory. On February 12, 2014, the White House announced that the centerpiece document for the cybersecurity campaign, the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure on Cybersecurity(Framework), had been finalized. Although the Framework merely suggests industry best practices and establishes voluntary standards programs, corporate counsel of financial institutions or any other consumer-based corporations should pay close attention to the provisions. The Framework provides a window into future legislative or regulatory action and offers a valuable measuring tool for assessing third party providers. The frenzy created around recent corporate data breaches also provides a cautionary tale for corporate counsel seeking to avoid or mitigate data breach liability. Adherence to the prescribed standards could offer one of the best defenses in the case of future breaches.
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