October 26, 2020

K2 intelligence pushes into cyberdefense


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By Nell Gluckman, From The Am Law Daily

K2 Intelligence, the six-year-old re-creation of the corporate intelligence company Kroll that often partners with Am Law 100 firms on work for mutual clients, is evolving from its roots into a cybersecurity and data analytics business.

On Tuesday, the company announced the hire of Austin Berglas, the FBI agent who oversaw the criminal investigation into the cyberattack at JPMorgan Chase last summer. And last week, AIG announced that it had acquired a minority stake in K2 Intelligence for an undisclosed amount, saying the companies would co-develop products and services meant to help clients mitigate cyber risk.

K2 Intelligence is one of a growing number of cybersecurity consultants that work closely with law firms to address the cybersecurity needs of their clients. Among its competitors are IBM and Mandiant, which does instant response when a company experiences a breach.

K2 Intelligence’s predecessor, Kroll, was well known to Am Law 100 lawyers and their clients for pioneering a business around private investigations for corporations, governments, banks and other high-profile clients. Founded by Jules Kroll, the company was often hired by law firms to conduct deep investigations into the backgrounds of people and companies that involved knocking on doors, soliciting information from strangers and, in at least one case, digging through trash. According to a 2009 New Yorker profile of Jules Kroll, the firm’s clients included Nokia and Motorola, the government of Kuwait, Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Russian Federation, among many others.

Kroll was bought by the insurance broker Marsh & McLennan in 2004 for $1.9 billion, then sold in 2010 for $1.13 billion to the global security firm Altegrity Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this year.

In 2009, Kroll and his son Jeremy started the new company now known as K2 Intelligence, with an office in London. They opened offices in Madrid and New York the following year and also have an office in Tel Aviv. Jeremy Kroll, who, according to the New Yorker article, spearheaded a computer forensics arm at the old Kroll, says the new company’s focus reflects a change in the types of risks big companies face today.

“In the foundation as we laid it for this new company, we’ve woven big data, analytics, visualization and cybersecurity,” he says.

Though the new company does respond to crises, it seeks to offer more preventative services than the old Kroll.

“More than half our revenue is derived from risk mitigation,” the younger Kroll says.

The company’s relationship with law firms is different, too. K2 Intelligence offers technological expertise and the ability to sift through huge amounts of data, then translates it into a format that’s easy to analyze and communicate to clients.

“Lawyers are not technologists. They are good at strategy, knowing the law and lawyering. What we’re good at is finding the facts,” Kroll says. “We’re distinguishing ourselves in the research area by being able to do deep Web and dark Web research.”

For example, when Baker & Hostetler was brought on as trustee of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff’s bankruptcy, the firm amassed 20 terabytes of data related to the case. K2 Intelligence came in to analyze the data in order to help facilitate the recovery of assets. The firm worked with the data analysis company Palantir to make connections between transactions, phone records, emails, texts and other documents.

A partner at one global law firm, who did not want to be named, says he works with K2 Intelligence on numerous client issues. He says the company brings to the table an understanding of data and information that once was not necessary.

“You used to go find documents in warehouses somewhere,” he says. “Now it’s there for you, but you have to have people to understand how to collate it. That’s where you need guys like this.”

Credit: Mathias Rosenthal/Fotolia

For more on this story go to: http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202724869678/K2-Intelligence-Pushes-Into-Cyberdefense#ixzz3YiVcUgED


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