Lawyers often require pieces of sensitive or personal information from their clients in order to win their cases. Clients place a huge amount of trust in their law firms, which means that it is essential for lawyers to have cybersecurity best practices in place to protect this sensitive information.
Unfortunately, law firms are a popular target for cybercriminals because of the sensitive information that they hold. Modern cyber attack statistics indicate that cybercrime is on the rise. Investing in cybersecurity solutions not only protects your firm but also protects your clients in the long run. Here are some cybersecurity best practices for law firms to keep in mind.
Cybersecurity Threats To Law Firms
Instances of cybercrime have increased in recent years, and law firms specifically are at very high risk. According to the American Bar Association, at least 25% of firms experienced some type of data breach in 2021.
There are a variety of factors that can put law firms at risk. Many law firms do not store their data securely, which puts them at high risk for exposure. This can happen when the law firm doesn’t have an updated security software program in place, when employees are using unprotected WiFi networks, or when employees are using weak passwords without two-factor authentication.
Many hackers target law firms using malware or viruses. These cyber-attacks often come via links or attachments in emails. These emails are designed to look like they are from a legitimate source, which lures unsuspecting recipients into clicking on them. Ransomware is a particularly
common attack on law firms. Ransomware collects valuable pieces of data from the target computer or network and then holds them, hostage, demanding a large sum of money to release the data.
Unfortunately, former and current employees can also present security risks for law firms. Employees are typically aware of the sensitive data they collect, and there have been instances of disgruntled law firm employees leaking or selling client information. In the same vein, many “hacktivists” will target law firms because they disagree with their practices.
Cybersecurity Best Practices for Law Firms
Current cybersecurity threats to law firms are dangerous and must be taken seriously. Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your company and your clients digitally. Here are some cybersecurity best practices to consider implementing at your law firm.
1. Secure your software and update it regularly
Every software program that your law firm uses should be fully secure. Look for programs that will encrypt both client and employee communications. You will also want to invest in trustworthy anti-virus software, firewalls, and other security programs to protect your data. It is essential to update these software programs on a regular basis. Updates correct security issues to make these programs safer.
2. Use secure company devices, even for remote work
In addition to securing your software, you should also take steps to secure all of the hardware your company uses. This is particularly important as some law firm employees switch to partially or fully remote work. Ideally, employees should be using company-provided devices for all work activities and communication. This way, you can properly program each device for security.
It’s also best for employees to work from secure WiFi networks rather than working from public spaces like coffee shops. Consider providing home WiFi networks for your remote employees to use.
3. Keep backup copies of valuable data
For many law firms, cloud storage is the most efficient way to manage data. Cloud storage allows your team to access the information they need from many different devices. Most modern cloud storage providers already have strong security measures in place. However, it’s also helpful to have backup copies of your data just in case on local hard drives. If you are still using paper hard copies of certain documents, make sure to back these up as well.
4. Offer cybersecurity training to your employees
Keeping your employees informed about cybersecurity risks makes it harder for hackers to target them. Schedule regular training sessions to ensure that your team understands how to stay safe while working online. Most importantly, your employees should know how to set strong passwords and how to avoid email scams.
5. Invest in your IT department
In the past, most law firms kept hard paper copies of their most important documents, but this isn’t the case anymore. If your team is conducting most of their work online, you need IT professionals on hand to keep things running smoothly. Not only can IT professionals help you fix tech-related problems, but they can actually prevent them from happening by installing a reliable security system. If you can’t hire an in-house IT department, you can outsource this using managed IT services.
Unfortunately, many law firms don’t take steps to protect their data until it is too late. Using these cybersecurity best practices protects your clients, and it also keeps your firm’s money and reputation safe.