Did you know that 42% of law firms of up to 100 people have experienced some kind of data breach?
Cybersecurity has long been a concern for law firms, but never more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s estimated that phishing attempts for law practices in particular have increased 70% since the onset of the pandemic.
In law firms of every size, IT directors have had to switch their mindset. Before implementing work-from-home strategies, they had to manage one office for their team. Now, everyone’s home is their new office, and so IT directors may be managing 20, 50, or even 400 single-person offices instead of just one. That’s a lot to monitor. When you add in Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, Skype, and other communication platforms, there’s a lot to contend with to keep your firm safe.
Rule 1.6 of the American Bar Association states: “A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.” Essentially? It’s your duty to keep client information secure.
Cybersecurity is more important than ever in our world today and it’s especially essential to the success of your practice. What can you do to improve your law firm’s security procedures?
Enforce Secure Passwords and Role-Based Authorization
There are all kinds of information available emphasizing the importance of creating strong passwords and implementing strong password policies. And yet, even in 2020, the most common password of the year is still “123456.” This password alone has been exposed nearly 23.6 million times to date. Any account gated by a weak password like this can be cracked within less than a second.
Weak passwords play a major role in a majority of the hacks and data breaches that happen today. The way to counteract this? By requiring strong passwords.
Access vulnerabilities aren’t limited to bad passwords though. Many organizations grant their entire team full access to their entire program. It’s like giving everyone in your firm a key to the most secure part of your building. More keys distributed to more people increases the chance that an intruder could gain access and make their way into your building. The solution here is to grant role-based authorization, also called role-based access control, so you are sharing vulnerable information with only the people who need it.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
Your legal firm’s IT manager may have all kinds of security measures in place already: Antivirus software, firewalls, deployed encryption technology, and regularly-scheduled vulnerability tests.
The problem? If you don’t have multi-factor authentication (MFA) in place, all of these other security measures can be bypassed by malicious hackers.
Multi-factor authentication is a simple security measure that requires multiple credentials to log into an account. It might be a password or PIN, a smart card, a fingerprint, an access code sent in an email or text message, or some unique piece of identifying information. They come from two or more different categories to enhance security practices
MFA is a fairly simple practice to implement. IT managers can categorize their systems to pinpoint the elements that contain business-critical data, and add MFA to further protect it. It’s an easy addition to most systems that can be integrated quickly at a fairly low cost, but the payoff can be immense.
Establish a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness
One of the most valuable ways you can improve your law firm’s security practices is to educate your employees on the importance of cybersecurity and the ways to make that happen. If your employees can identify cyber threats, they will better understand the vulnerabilities your firm faces, and they’ll be aware of their responsibility to keep your system secure.
This isn’t just limited to new employees. Ongoing and refresher training courses can help establish a firm-wide culture of cybersecurity and an emphasis on protecting your practice’s assets. Protecting company data isn’t just a good practice, in many cases, it’s also an essential part of maintaining attorney-client privilege.
For this reason, you and your team have legal and regulatory obligations to preserve and respect confidential information.
- Document management and notification procedures
- The dangers of installing unauthorized software
- Avoiding suspicious links online or in emails, and other best practices for internet use
- Responsible email use and avoiding phishing scams
- Social media and mobile device usage policies
- Protecting company computers and other devices
Encrypt Data and Protect Data Remotely
Data encryption is another effective way to keep sensitive information secure. Data encryption takes data like emails and other documents and translates it from everyday language to code that only those with access (like a secret decryption key) can read.
Since hacking scams like email phishing is so prevalent, encryption is a smart way to protect sensitive data that’s transferred between employees within your firm, or shared with clients. Especially if you have employees working from home, it’s hard to control how your team accesses your firm’s data. Encryption software is one way to protect legal data since unauthorized devices or recipients can’t access it.
A remote data storage center can also keep your firm better protected from security breaches. You may power your enterprise solutions via the cloud, but the best way to keep your data protected is to store it in a remote data center.
According to research by McAfee, 99% of cloud misconfigurations go unnoticed by the companies that rely on their services. These misconfigurations can leave you vulnerable to a breach. Instead of storing all of your firm’s data there, it’s best to store your files and data in a remote data center.
Consider Outsourcing Your Cyber Security to Experts
Is it time to level up your cybersecurity practices? Perhaps the best way to keep your firm safe from cybersecurity attacks is to have someone else handle it for you so you can focus on representing your clients.
Aquipt is here to make the process of bolstering your cybersecurity practices a simpler one. With options like secure mobile workspaces and eDiscovery solutions, we can help you maintain a secure virtual environment in the office and at home with managed IT security services. .
With vast knowledge about the inner workings of the legal realm and customized network security solutions that are catered to your specific needs, it’s never been easier to keep your firm secure. Our suite of offerings includes features like:
- Email monitoring and filtering
- Mobile device management
- Workstation security
- Intrusion protection and monitoring
Don’t leave the integrity of your firm’s cybersecurity practices up to chance. We’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more!