As the adoption of new technologies is certain, grappling with the new risks posed by that technology should be a priority

The picture emerging from this survey is of a continuing appetite to invest in new technology, with a growing appreciation of technology risk, without yet having established systems for management of that risk.

Investment in technology is likely to be a competitive necessity for many organisations and this will inevitably take precedence over risk management concerns. Accordingly, legal teams need to prepare for a future in which swift but considered responses to growing technology risks are the norm.

Corporate counsel teams will be in the spotlight, charged with the responsibility of reducing, avoiding or displacing those risks, but also managing the growing legal consequences of the range of technology failures an organisation may face. This will prompt a greater need for more specialist in-house lawyers within those teams, who are able to respond quickly to deal with the array of challenges emerging and know who to turn to for the bigger problems.

Disputes are a natural and inevitable cost of doing business and will continue even as the types of dispute change. Organisations should be alert to the need for evolving responses to technology disputes and alive to the time and cost implications of traditional contractual dispute resolution methods.

Automation and autonomy are growing trends in business technology, with implications and risks that may prove hard to foresee now and in the future. However, if the destination is unclear, the direction of travel is not. Technology risk management is increasing in complexity, away from quantifiable and containable risks to a more open-ended and less certain future.

Comfort can be found in the fact that past and current risks are at least well-understood and identified. Organisational responses to those risks have not yet reached maturity, however. Organisations appear to have a greater appetite to assume more and new risks because risk also represents opportunity.

Organisations not planning for this increased risk, may – at best – be at a serious disadvantage, and at worst, will face a precarious future. No business can eliminate these risks, but those who plan early to manage them give themselves a substantial advantage.

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