Cybersecurity is a vital concern for law firms as the digital age continues to evolve.
According to the American Bar Association, 26% of the law firms surveyed in 2019 had experienced a security breach. However, 19% of the respondents didn’t even know whether their law firm had been compromised.
Lawyers are likely to be targeted in a cyber-attack because of the wealth of private information they possess about their clients. If sensitive data is stolen or leaked from your law firm, there goes your reputation, and here comes a costly settlement.
In this blog, we’ll explain different ways to enhance your law firm’s cybersecurity to protect against data breaches and introduce how a managed services provider (MSP) can help mitigate your risks of an attack.
How Can I Enhance Cybersecurity at My Law Firm?
The best way to strengthen your law firm and protect it from cyber-attacks is to build an effective cybersecurity program. This involves conducting regular audits, appointing a leader, and managing insider threat risks.
Conduct Regular Security Audits
You should start by having a data governance plan in place and testing it regularly.
First, you need to know where your information is stored. Locate and secure privileged data, as well as sensitive client and firm intellectual property. Determine whether employees should be able to have access to and store data on their personal devices. Be sure to take USB drives and mobile devices under consideration.
You must identify, manage, and track who has access to sensitive information and for what purpose. You should secure mobile devices and any BYODs (bring your own device) that are in use. Make a plan for situations where an employee leaves or is terminated in regards to cutting off access to client and firm data. Think about how to restrict the availability of information if employee computers are stolen or infected with malware.
You also need to make sure employees are not using unsecured channels, like personal email, at the office. This could give cybercriminals easy access to privileged data.
Appoint a Chief Information Security Officer
A chief information security officer (CISO) will be able to ensure your cybersecurity strategy is aligned with the firm’s overall strategy. They should be able to generate support for needed resources and provide ongoing direction to cybersecurity efforts.
They need to handle complex audits that are outside of the counsel’s technical competency and systems.
A CISO can offer technical and administrative guidance on information security concerns and promote ways to minimize business risks for the firm and its clients. Sometimes, clients will even demand a law firm to have an information security program with an appointed leader that guarantees sensitive information is being protected.
It may be harder for smaller firms to pay the six-figure salary of a full-time CISO. If that’s the case, consider hiring a part-time information security officer or outsourcing the work to a managed service provider (MSP). You could also designate an existing manager or director to be in charge of information security initiatives.
Manage the Risk of Insider Threats
To manage the risk of insider threats, you must have identity access management applications in place. This will allow you to control user access to only information needed to perform job functions. Some tools can detect suspicious access patterns and send out alerts to the appropriate individuals when there’s cause for concern.
You should have endpoint detection and response tools deployed on all endpoints. This can be particularly useful to observe senior executives who usually have access to high-value information. These applications provide a way to continuously monitor and analyze activity in order to identify, detect, and prevent threats.
You need to leverage encryption not only at device level, but also with information at rest. This will ensure high-level administrators cannot get access to documents without authorization from content owners. Otherwise, you may open the door to system administrators with access to back-end databases also gaining access to unauthorized documents.
How Cybersecurity Is Fortifying Law Firms
Now you know some ways to improve your law firm’s cybersecurity and why you may need to outsource this important data protection management task if the job seems too overwhelming.
An MSP can work with you to evaluate potential cybersecurity risks and protect the sensitive information that’s kept within your law firm. WheelHouse IT offers a wide range of services and consultants to assess, design, and implement security measures.
We also provide 24x7x365 monitoring of the dark web. Contact us today for a complementary scan! Or if you’d like to dive deeper into cybersecurity risks for law firms, including the unique challenges lawyers face, click here.