Shubhi Bhandari - Above All, Stay Curious, Stay Adaptable, And Stay Committed To Lifelong Learning (Legal Practitioner & President Of WICCI From Delhi)

Technology has completely revolutionized my legal practice, allowing me to work more efficiently and serve my clients better. One of the most significant changes I’ve experienced is the way we manage documents and information.

1. For aspiring legal practitioners, what tech-related skills or knowledge do you recommend they develop to excel in a career that combines law and technology?

As someone who’s navigated the blend of law and technology, I’d recommend aspiring legal practitioners embrace tech skills that can give them an edge in their careers. Think of it like this: imagine you’re a detective in a high-tech crime show. You’d need to be familiar with the latest gadgets and tools to crack the case, right? So, first off, get comfortable with legal tech tools like document management systems or e-discovery platforms. These are like your trustworthy allies, helping you easily sort through mountains of legal documents. 

Next, brush up on your cybersecurity know-how, especially for the jurisdiction you work in. It’s like putting up a force field around your client’s sensitive information, keeping it safe from cyber adversaries. And don't forget about data privacy laws – they are like the rulebook of the game. Knowing them inside out will ensure you’re always playing by the book. Think of coding as your superpower. Learning even a little bit can help you automate tedious tasks and analyze data faster than a speeding bullet. Finally, stay curious and open to learning. The legal and tech worlds are always evolving, so adaptability is key to staying ahead of the curve.

2. Technology is rapidly changing the legal landscape. How has technology influenced your legal practice, and what are the most significant tech-driven shifts you've witnessed in this field?

Technology has completely revolutionized my legal practice, allowing me to work more efficiently and serve my clients better. One of the most significant changes I’ve experienced is the way we manage documents and information. With tools like Google Drive and Dropbox, I can easily organize, share, and collaborate on documents with my team, making our workflow much smoother. Another big shift has been in electronic discovery. Platforms like Relativity and Logikcull have made it much easier to search through large volumes of electronic data, saving us time and effort when conducting legal research or building cases. 

Practice management software, such as Clio or MyCase, has also been a game-changer for me. These tools help me stay organized, track billable hours, and manage client matters more effectively, ensuring I can provide the best possible service to my clients. Virtual meeting platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have become essential for staying connected with my clients and colleagues, especially during times when in-person meetings aren’t possible. And when it comes to legal research, I rely on resources like Westlaw and LexisNexis to stay up to date on the latest developments.

3. You hold a prominent position as the President of the Cyber Security Council at WICCI. Can you share your vision for promoting cyber security, particularly for women in the industry, and the initiatives you're spearheading in this role?

As the President of WICCI, my vision for promoting cybersecurity, especially for women in the industry, is to create a supportive and inclusive environment where women feel empowered to pursue careers in cybersecurity or any domain in the digital space and thrive in their roles. One of the key initiatives I’m spearheading in this role is mentorship programs aimed at connecting experienced cybersecurity and privacy professionals with aspiring women in the field. By providing guidance, support, and opportunities for networking, we aim to help them build successful careers and break barriers in the male-dominated industry. 

Additionally, I’m working on educational initiatives to raise awareness about cybersecurity, privacy, and digital security issues and provide training and resources for women and children particularly in remote areas of our country to gain awareness and develop their skills in these aspects. This includes workshops, webinars, and training programs designed to equip women and children with the knowledge and tools they need to keep themselves secured in digital space and excel in similar professional roles. We have also collaborated with industry partners to advocate for diversity and inclusion in digital space and push for policies and practices that promote gender equality in the workplace. 

By fostering a culture of inclusivity and empowerment, we can create a more resilient and diverse cybersecurity workforce that is better equipped to tackle the evolving threats in the digital world. My team’s vision is to champion women in the digital domain, empower them to succeed, and drive positive change in the industry. Together, we aim to build a safer and more secure digital future for all.

4. As a prominent figure in the field of IT Law, could you highlight the most pressing legal challenges in the realm of cybersecurity today and the strategies that organizations should adopt to mitigate these risks?

In today’s digital landscape, data privacy and cybersecurity are akin to fortifying the walls of a castle against invaders. With cyber and data security threats lurking around every corner, companies face the daunting task of protecting their valuable data and systems from malicious actors. The challenge lies in staying one step ahead of cybercriminals who continuously evolve their tactics to breach defenses. It’s like a game of cat and mouse, where companies must deploy robust security measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems, to safeguard their digital assets. Additionally, compliance with data protection regulations, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, Information Technology Act, 2000, and rules thereunder, adds another layer of complexity, akin to navigating a maze of rules and regulations to avoid hefty fines, penalties, and reputational damage. 

To combat these challenges, companies must foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness among employees and collaborate with industry partners and respective jurisdiction government agencies to share threat intelligence and best practices. By collectively addressing these challenges head-on, we can build a resilient cybersecurity ecosystem that protects against the ever-growing threat landscape. 

Cross-border data transfers present another significant legal challenge. In our interconnected world, the global nature of cyber threats often necessitates the transfer of data across international borders. However, differing legal frameworks regarding data protection and privacy may complicate matters for companies seeking to transfer data securely and compliantly. Navigating these complexities requires a thorough understanding of international data transfer mechanisms and legal frameworks, along with diligent adherence to applicable regulations. Alongside this, regulatory compliance is a constant concern, with companies needing to follow various industry-specific rules and standards. For example, the financial sector must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). 

Making sure they follow these rules takes a lot of effort and expertise. Additionally, being ready to respond quickly and effectively to cyber incidents is crucial. Even with preventative measures in place, companies must be prepared to handle security breaches when they happen. This involves following legal requirements for reporting incidents and having plans in place to minimize the impact. Regular testing of these plans ensures companies can respond effectively, reducing the legal, financial, and reputational fallout of a cybersecurity breach. To tackle these challenges, companies should take a holistic approach to cybersecurity and data privacy. This means regularly checking for risks, putting strong security measures in place, following rules, and testing response plans. By focusing on these areas, companies can better protect themselves and their stakeholders from the legal consequences of cybersecurity breaches.

5. You've been involved in various committees and editorial boards. How has this diverse experience shaped your leadership style and approach to managing different professional responsibilities?

Being part of different committees and editorial boards has really shaped how I lead and handle various professional duties. It’s like being on different teams, each with its own unique challenges and goals. Through these experiences, I’ve learned the importance of working together and communicating effectively. Just like when you’re on a committee, good leadership means listening to everyone’s ideas and finding ways to bring them all together toward a common goal. Being on editorial boards has also taught me how to pay attention to the small details while still keeping the big picture in mind. It’s like editing a document – you have to focus on the important stuff while making sure everything fits together nicely. 

These experiences have helped me become more adaptable and resilient. Whether I’m leading a committee or managing editorial tasks, I’ve learned to tackle challenges head-on and find creative solutions, always striving to bring out the best in myself and those around me.

6. India is witnessing a growing need for cybersecurity awareness. What advice would you offer to young professionals looking to establish their careers in this field, especially women aiming to excel in the tech and cybersecurity sectors?

I’d advise young professionals, especially women, looking to establish their careers in this field to embrace continuous learning and networking. Just like navigating through a maze, the privacy and cybersecurity landscape can seem daunting at first, but with dedication and perseverance, one can excel. One can start by building a solid foundation of technical skills through relevant courses, certifications, and hands-on experience. For example, pursue certifications like Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) to demonstrate your interest and knowledge in this field. Additionally, consider joining online platforms like Coursera or Udemy, where one can access a plethora of relevant privacy and cybersecurity courses tailored to various skill levels. Moreover, don’t underestimate the power of networking and mentorship. 

One should aim to surround themselves with supportive peers and mentors who can provide guidance, share insights, and help them navigate career opportunities. Joining professional associations like the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC) or the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) can also help to expand one’s network and stay updated on the latest trends and developments in this field. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to carve out a niche and leverage your unique strengths and perspectives as a woman in the tech and cybersecurity sectors. For example, consider specializing in areas like digital forensics, cloud security, or threat intelligence, where your analytical skills and attention to detail can make a significant impact. 

Above all, stay curious, stay adaptable, and stay committed to lifelong learning. This landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s essential to stay agile and open to new challenges and opportunities. Remember, every setback is an opportunity for growth, and every success is a testament to one’s resilience and determination. Keep pushing boundaries, and you'll surely excel in these domains.

7. Let's conclude with a fun question. If you could have a cybersecurity superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it to make the digital world safer for all?

If I could have a cybersecurity superpower, I’d love to have the ability to instantly encrypt any data with just one thought. Imagine being able to cloak sensitive information with an unbreakable code, ensuring it stays safe from prying eyes. I’d use this power to safeguard people’s privacy and keep cybercriminals at bay, making the digital world a fortress of security.

Interviewed and Edited By- Pragya Lamba