Cybersecurity for Legal Firms
Cybersecurity has become a top priority for many C-Suite leaders. The legal sector is no different.
With the rise of technology leading to digitised documentation and an increased reliance on cloud-based technologies, the security risks are growing. Maintaining a robust cybersecurity solution is essential for any law firm.
How to create a cybersecurity culture in your law firm
While it’s important that legal firms are prepared for external cyber threats, many companies often forget to train their own employees. 88% of recent UK data breaches were actually caused by human error, not malicious cyber attacks. 37% were simply the result of sending sensitive data to the wrong person. Of actual cyber breaches, 66% root back to human negligences or malicious insiders. According to some studies, 91% of outside cyber attacks start with a phishing email.
It is important to train staff on how to spot suspicious behaviour and create a culture that emphasises taking precautions when engaging online. Make sure that people use multiple and secure passwords, that they pause and think before inputting information online and use two-step authentication processes whenever possible. When relying on two-step authentication, however, it is important to make sure that the phone numbers are protected and that your carrier won’t allow SIMs to be transferred to a new number.
Ultimately, you need to invest in both technology and people policies to make sure your digital ecosystem remains secure. At the very least, you need to seek out consultation with cybersecurity experts. Best practice results can only truly be achieved by bringing in dedicated outside help.
Minimising cyber risks when digitising documentation
With the development of technology, law firms are trying to improve their access to digital records. When considering the digitisation of sensitive material, it is critical to understand the security risks this presents. In the last two years, reported UK data breaches have increased by 75%.
Digitisation actually holds the possibility of improved document security. Although paper documents cannot be ‘hacked’, they can be lost, stolen or otherwise misplaced. Files are copied, shared, taken out of the office and sometimes forgotten. With paper documents, there are few tracking mechanisms and no way to provide different levels and types of access rather than simply being careful with the files.
Digital documents deliver all of these possibilities, it is just important that cultural and technical mechanisms are in place to keep those digital files safe. That starts with firewalls, tracking software and regular updates. For mobile access, it is important that all transfers of information are encrypted, and the information is stored both on the device and home servers in an encrypted format.
Purchasing dedicated mobile devices that have sophisticated security systems pre-installed is advisable for anyone accessing sensitive information. Always try and follow ISO 27001 & 9001 technical protocols, and look for those certifications when partnering with cybersecurity vendors.
How GDPR affects the legal sector
For UK, and other European based firms, new data protection laws brought in by the GDPR place extra pressure to get cybersecurity right. Part of this is the requirements to report breaches. But, to fully comply with the GDPR, you need to be able to demonstrate that best practices are being followed and that all possible measures are being taken to create a secure data environment. This applies doubly to sensitive and potentially compromising material. Criminal records are considered ‘special category’ personal data.
Failure to comply with the data protection requirements of the GDPR can result in fines of up to 4% of annual turnover or €20 million — whichever is greater. Beyond regulations, you have a moral and pragmatic responsibility to protect the data of your clients. A data breach can severely damage your reputation, and result in the disintegration of client confidence. 60% of small to medium sized businesses that suffer a cyber breach go out of business within six months.
Can you be too prepared for cyber threats?
Cybersecurity is a constant threat to all sectors and it can seem daunting, which is why being as prepared as possible for both external threats and internal mistakes is vital. Educating employees, working with IT specialists and ensuring your company is complying with GDPR laws are just some of the ways to keep up with competing law firms. Cyber threats are constantly evolving, so make sure your law firm evolves with them.
A critical component of creating a robust technical framework to protect your network from external breaches is to find qualified outside partners. IT specialists can help procure the right solutions and either deliver advice on their proper maintenance or undertake that maintenance themselves.
For businesses that are just starting their digital journey, quality partnerships are invaluable to getting this crucial security component right from the start. You will even be able to get tailored advice on cultural changes you need to make, ensuring that sensitive client data remains safe and secure.