In the contemporary era, law firms have a moral and legal responsibility to think critically about the measures they will take to ensure the security of client’s sensitive data.
There are several confidential documents that you receive during litigation. Think about the discovery responses you get in the form of documents, and the protective order. This means you have an obligation not just to secure your data and information, but also ensure that it does not go public.
As a consequence, law firms rely heavily on their I.T. departments, which involves – litigation technology specialists, outside vendors, cybersecurity specialists, etc. However, cybersecurity of your firm is not just an I.T. responsibility; there are many things that the law firm managers, administrators and owners need to keep in mind in the context of today’s threat landscape.
Cybercriminals are Targeting Law Firms
Law firms have to store the most critical and sensitive records, including communications that are incredibly vital to businesses. So, when cases come to an end, there is an obvious consideration for data classification and the need for destruction measures. So, while in the era of physical documents, lawyers could put them in the shred box and never worry about them, this is not possible with digital data.
Documents are stored in the firm’s database, and because of that, law firms are increasingly becoming a target for cybercriminals. Also, in 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning to law firms where it stated, “a financially motivated cybercrime insider trading scheme targets international law firm information used to facilitate business ventures.”
A Dramatic Shift from Past Technology Structure
Most data security frameworks in the past were inwardly pointing to the law firm’s policy, standards and procedures. The information was stored in-house and companies adhered to the set business technology perimeters.
Moreover, the ability to technically share data was limited, and when allowed, it was subject to stern Information Security Framework controls. In this scenario, businesses which understood data and had classified approach were considered mature.
Also, the perimeter-to-perimeter connectivity was focused on a one-to-one relationship, which included support for a network topology that employed leased private telecom lines. The framework ultimately progressed to the virtual private network concept.
Today cyber-security landscape has completely changed from the past. Fast forward 15 years, we know the Internet has exploded, and the law firms have embraced digitalization. Here are some changes that businesses have experienced in last some years:
- Transformed into “perimeter less” ecosystem and Information security framework.
- Adhering to the required laws (including global and country-specific) to manage and use the data.
- Following data protection regulations for the jurisdiction of operation like industry compliance standards and best practices.
- Framing policies, standards and procedures for internal data management.
- Moving to Cloud-based technologies and maintaining authorized use of assets.
Consequently, cybersecurity preparedness equals to reputation management, business continuity and less regulatory risks. The key here would be executing efficient response plans, including seamless coordination with service providers.
Addressing Cybersecurity Priorities is Crucial
In this era, it is crucial to have technology support services that have experience working with law firms and knows how to manage and deliver critical services. Outsourcing your I.T. usually have good value because you’ll have a complete team that will understand the issues and react to them quickly. This will increase speed, accuracy, efficiency and response in the workflows. Our tips include:
- Understanding the risks and continually reviewing the security systems and procedures
- Ensuring relevant protection and resources are in place and up to date i.e. following appropriate CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity and Access) protocols
- Considering new technologies, threats and security by holding regular meetings with suppliers
- Attending forums and exhibitions to know what is happening and available in the market
- Encrypt data and ensure employees at your organization are changing passwords regularly and engaging a multi-factor authentication (MFA) protocol for data access.
- Make sure employees are leaving workstations unattended or without locking devices and deploying stringent domain wide security policies.
- Organize internal training to help them reduce the data breaches
For further insights and guidance into cybersecurity for law firms, get in touch with GRIP I.T.
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