Law firms and Legal services are especially vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. As we start off the new year, we have listed a few of the many threats that can compromise your laptop, network and client data:
- Ransomware: Where malicious software is placed on your machine and/or network and your computer access is held hostage until money is paid.
- People: Many breaches trace back to human error or action so your employees can be the weakest link but, with training can strengthen the link.
- Remote Access: Part of working remotely is having a secure link to the office.
- Technology Obsolescence: If software updates and new technology are not implemented in a timely fashion, breaches can occur.
- Encryption: Keeping client data safe on all devices.
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): When employees and contractors bring their own laptops and phones onto your network, security can be compromised.
- Email Phishing scams: Even savvy employees fall for emails that look like they come from contacts.
All law firms are targets for cybercrime. Firms might have an IT person to help with operations, but this is not a Security Specialist. If you are a smaller firm or have set up shop for yourself, undoubtedly you are the most susceptible to the bad guys. Some tips for defense protection:
- Build a Culture of Cybersecurity: Embed security in the daily routine and provide training for employees and vendors alike, even customers if necessary. Awareness and standards for appropriate conduct are key.
- Regularly Review Internal Policies and Procedures: Security is just as important as finance and administration and should have the same level of review. Hire an outside firm if you lack the expertise; this is an area where outsourcing makes sense.
- Invest in Skills of your Team, IT and beyond. Regardless of firm size, adequate training and resources for the IT Team on security is a must. Do not stop with the technology people because anyone employee or vendor can be the weak link and source of a breach.
- Establish IT Governance: Understand and manage your IT hardware and software, including ensuring adequate support and upgrades, whether using inside or outside experts. Scrimping on technology can leave you wide open to a breach. For example, many firms do not upgrade to the latest browsers which comprise security.
- Ensure your 3rd Party Partners are not Weak Links: When you link or use others’ software or have contractors on your network, invest in proper training and security for those users. Vet all the software partners and vendors. Again, if you are not sure about this, hire an outside company that specializes in setting up this process.
There is no substitute for a culture centered around cybersecurity. Providing training and knowledge with best practices is a great way to kick off the year!