Are Law Firms Prepared for Malware Attacks?
A majority of law firms are unprepared to defend against a cyber-attack, primarily because of financial limitations in their budgets and/or a fundamental lack of appreciation for the full scope of the risks they face. As most enterprises deploy some form of cyber-defense, hackers continue to target the weak link: law firms.
Consequences of Inaction
A breach in security damages a law firm’s reputation across the industry and triggers fiscal and compliance procedures that will hamper a firm’s ability to work. Additionally, the law firm will face legal proceedings in the event of data loss. In some cases, this can lead to bankruptcy. If the law firm survives, their customer base will flee, spreading the word to their peers to steer clear.
The confidentiality and privacy of client data and PII are paramount for any law firm. Lawyers bear the burden of preventing accidental or intentional disclosure of PII and other customer data. Many states have laid out clear guidelines for lawyers and their firms concerning customer privacy and confidentiality.
What Law Firms Can Do to Protect Themselves from Malware Attacks
Beyond prioritizing cyber-security and deploying adequate cyber-defense measures, law firms need to spread awareness throughout their organization. At a minimum, recommendations for cyber-security include:
- Data encryption
- Limited network and data access privileges
- Multi-factor authentication
- Multiple layers of data and network security
- Data discovery and classification
- Patching and software updates
- Cyber security policy and compliance
- Employee training and education in cyber security
Law firms also need to do business only with trusted vendors and have clear vendor cybersecurity procedures in place. Remember, a vendor breach threatens the law firm as well.
Law firms are irresistible targets for cyber-criminals. Hackers continue to innovate, creating new, more sophisticated, and creative methods to attack networks and steal sensitive and confidential information. In order to keep data safe, law firms must deploy a strong cybersecurity defense immediately.