2022 Law Firm Cyber Security Guide: How Cyber Security Can Keep Your Law Firm Secure
As a law firm, your clients trust you with their confidential information. This is why law firm cyber security should be a top priority for any law firm. According to the 2019 ABA Cybersecurity Tech Report, 26% of law firms have experienced a data breach and 36% of law firms had their systems infected by malware.
So how do law firms protect their clients’ data and mitigate the risk of a data breach? This article will outline the fundamentals of cyber security for law firms, best practices, regulatory obligations, and the latest IT solutions to defend your data and protect your reputation as a law practice.
Table of Contents:
- Law Firm Cyber Security Fundamentals
- Regulatory Obligations
- Best IT Practices
- Benefits of Managed IT Services
Law Firm Cyber Security Fundamentals
What is cyber security? Cyber Security is the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, networks, and data from malicious attacks. Cybercriminals like to target law firms due to the valuable and sensitive information they deal with on a day-to-day basis. Valuable information such as intellectual property, trade secrets, acquisition details, and personally identifiable information (PII) are all targets for hackers and criminals.
Because of these risks, and attorney-client privilege, it should be a top priority for all legal professionals and firms to secure their data with cybersecurity.
Elements of Cyber Security:
Is the practice of securing a computer network from malicious actors, whether it be a targeted intrusion or opportunistic malware.
Is the processes and decisions for managing and protecting data assets. User permissions are handled when accessing a network, and operational security determines the procedures needed and where data may be stored or shared.
Involves keeping all business software and devices free of threats. With many workers working remotely, keeping devices is crucial.
Protects the privacy of a company’s data both in transit and in storage.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery:
Is when a cyber security event happens or a loss of operational data occurs, a company will need a business continuity and recovery plan to restore operations and information to the same operating capacity. With EVERNET, your business can develop a continuity and recovery plan.
At the end of the day, end-user education is essential for business integrity. People can accidentally introduce a virus into your secured system by failing to follow good security practices. Evernet can help train employees good security practices when using company tools such as email, software, and online accounts.
As legal professionals, it is your duty to protect client data and to disclose any error if a data breach occurs. According to the ABA, lawyers are required to:
…make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”
The ABA is a great resource for law firms looking for guidance on securing client data and the obligations required for lawyers. You can view their Securing Communication of Protected Client Information and Lawyer Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or CyberAttack.
Complying with ABA obligations means making a reasonable effort to protect your trust account, attorney-client privilege, and the protection of law firm data. Most law firms work with Managed Service Providers like EVERNET, to manage their cyber security and data management.
Best IT Practices
1. Implement a Law Firm Cyber Security Policy
Most IT incidents are caused by human error. Law firm cyber security policies reduce their risk of a data breach, prevent email phishing, and protect their clients’ confidential information. EVERNET offers law firms cyber security implementation and employee education.
2. Encrypt Everything
What is encryption? Encryption is the building block of data security. It is the conversion of data from a readable format into an encoded format whether it is stored in an email, hard drive, browser, or cloud application. EVERNET takes care of law firm data in transit with encryption processes following the regulatory obligations of the legal industry.
3. Secure Communications
A primary method for hackers is to access data through communication channels like email and web-conferencing. Using Multi-Factor Authentication tools, email encryption, and training legal professionals on phishing, spoofing, and the danger of clicking on unknown links can deter hackers from stealing your clients’ data.
4. Have a Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan
Preparing for a data breach as much as we want to avoid it, is necessary to protect your firm’s reputation. Creating a plan and testing the plan can help determine loopholes in your cybersecurity and bring about opportunities to mitigate risk. EVERNET can assist you with your law firm’s cyber security policy and recovery plans.
Benefits of a Managed Service Provider for Law Firms
1. State of the Art Cybersecurity
A network breach or data hack is near to unacceptable for a law firm. As lawyers, your clients trust you with a great deal of confidential information and your firm’s reputation is tied to that confidentiality and protection. Cybersecurity is an important aspect of a law firm IT solutions, EVERNET thinks ahead and influences productivity with leading technologies–building out robust state-of-the-art security mechanisms, resolving potential vulnerabilities, and keeping an ever-vigilant eye on external cyber threats. Successful law firms are more likely to be technologically secure, having an IT provider handling their cyber security 24/7/365.
2. Deploy Cloud Infrastructure Safely and Efficiently
Everything is about the cloud these days and that’s for good reason. There are multiple advantages for law firms to store their documents and files on the cloud. Cloud-based IT services allow lawyers to access their confidential documents at their fingertips, whether they are in office, remote, or in the courtroom. Cloud configuration has a lot of complexities involved, the expertise of EVERNET as a managed service provider can establish a secure cloud environment for law firms and their data.
3. Stability and Confidence
Many law firms and businesses have been taken down by seemingly minor technology glitches. Prevent chaos and concern by working with a managed service IT provider to keep operations going smoothly while also protecting your confidential information from malicious attacks. Having a guarantee that your office technology is secured allows lawyers and firms like yours to focus on the law at hand.
4. 24/7/365 Dedicated IT Support
Having a managed service provider isn’t only to help prevent data breaches or provide security, EVERNET also helps when it comes to daily IT issues lawyers often have to deal with. Your law firm may be using a variety of legal and computer software that you need support with on a daily basis. Our remote helpdesk support is available anytime and we’re in your office when you need us with our excellent on-site support technicians. With a dedicated support team at your disposal, you never have to worry about IT issues again.
5. Be In Compliance With Important Data Protection Laws
2021 brings new privacy challenges to law firms and attorneys. Make sure your client practices are in compliance with new data laws. Law firms deal with sensitive client data that comes under the purview of various laws and regulations implemented by the government to protect confidential information. Having your technology resources and operations up to date is vital to avoid violating these laws. Non-compliance as most lawyers know needs to be avoided or legal troubles may arise, affecting your law firm’s reputation and costing you huge penalties. That’s why EVERNET’s expertise in leading technology and privacy laws can keep your practice in touch with the latest compliance regulations and offer necessary actions to make sure any legal firm or business is compliant at all times.
6. Save Money and Time
Every law firm or business is concerned about additional operating costs but with a managed service provider like EVERNET, you can save money and more importantly time by having a stable resource of support offering you the latest state-of-the-art security. Running a law firm is by no means inexpensive, so having a reliable, trustworthy, and local IT support provider just makes sense at the end of the day. We’ll focus on your technology so you can focus on your clients.
Eric is a Business IT cybersecurity advisor, consultant, manager, integrator, and protector who founded EVERNET in 2007. Eric co-hosts a podcast called “Finance and Technology Insights by Brian & Eric” on YouTube. Eric is a regular contributor to the EVERNET blog, writing about the latest technology news and providing his expertise in cyber security prevention and management.