What your law firm can do to improve its cybersecurity practices

    The number of cybercrime victims is rising, and law firms seem to be a favourite target. With such sensitive and confidential information, as well as high-ticket cases, it's not surprising. It is therefore essential that law firms improve their cybersecurity practices in order to ensure that unauthorised access does not result in damage.

    The importance of cybersecurity
    A law firm can contain a wealth of sensitive information that criminals can use to their advantage. Your firm's reputation could be adversely affected by a loss of confidential client information related to major lawsuits. A criminal is also attracted to law firms because they have access to client accounts that contain substantial amounts of cash. Law firms, even large ones, can be victims of scams and hacking if they don't have adequate protection against digital threats.

    Risks increased by the pandemic
    In response to the pandemic and now in response to employee demands, more professionals are working from home, posing a greater threat to sensitive information and client data. As law firms hold sensitive information, it's essential that staff are vigilant and protect access to computers and laptops. At home or at work, it is easy to walk away from a computer, allowing information to easily fall into the wrong hands, intentionally or not. In addition to stressing your workforce and adding to the time needed to fix the problems caused, a cyber attack can permanently damage your reputation. Firms can stay prepared and protected by knowing the most pertinent issues and threats.

    Data breaches are a common occurrence, with 82% resulting from human error. They are caused either by employees not paying enough attention or by employees lacking the education necessary to recognize potential scams. Several industries, including law, are at risk of phishing attacks. Staff are prone to falling for this trap because perpetrators hide malicious links in emails.

    Due to the large amounts of money handled in large cases, law firms are also vulnerable to ransomware attacks. A ransomware attack is the most aggressive form of cybercrime because it allows criminals to steal data from businesses and keep it under lock and key until a ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks are often followed by subsequent attacks, and almost half of businesses who recover their data are damaged.

    How to mitigate the risks
    A number of methods exist to help you protect your clients' personal information and avoid costly attacks;

    Maintain a continuous review of your policies and controls
    Cybersecurity is a vital area that every law firm needs to address, but so many firms overlook it, leaving them vulnerable. Preventing a significant incident requires staying ahead of threats and responding before they achieve their objectives, so that your firm can respond effectively to a threat alert. If your firm already has a policy, it should be reassessed regularly and new controls implemented as technology and threats evolve, so that you’re always one step ahead. In times of need, following a protocol for decision-making can really help you focus your decision-making and minimize your loss.

    Update security training
    It's not just a one-time experience when it comes to cybersecurity training. New team members, technology advancements, and new threats require a constant updating of training and education. It can be challenging for law firms to respond appropriately to situations and mitigate risks if their staff don't receive training on the risks and what to do in different situations.

    By training employees and implementing the right data protection regulations, firms can avoid breaching guidelines and incurring heavy penalties. A solid data protection and security policy, along with regular training of staff, is reassuring. Additionally, it proves that all members of the team are capable of acting in the best interest of their clients.

    Mobile devices are not to be ignored
    In addition to being convenient and enabling law professionals to work from anywhere, mobile devices are also a breeding ground for security mistakes. Thus, mobile and IoT devices need endpoint protection. To avoid cybercrime, anti-virus software, two-factor authentication, and regular backups of data should be implemented. Regularly remind staff members to use VPNs and log off when not in use so others can't access their devices.

    Prioritize cybersecurity
    It's increasingly important for law firms to safeguard their business against cyberattacks, not rely solely on the IT team to do so. A business's cybersecurity risk management strategy should take into account all factors, including staff behaviour and habits, monitoring and detection systems, and computer infrastructure.

    Increasing cyber threats go beyond profit losses and inconveniences. You can lose clients and revenue as a result of damaging your reputation and stability plus it can cost your business if you fail to protect your data and networks so now is as good a time as any to prioritize your firm’s cyber security.

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