Preparing Your Law Firm For A Data Breach
Do you think cybersecurity should be a priority for law firms?
Maybe you do – you’re an early adopter that’s highly engaged with the latest developments in cybercrime news, and the cybersecurity technologies needed to protect against it. Or, maybe you don’t – you’re a staunch believer in the idea that basic password policies, and the assumption that you’re not high profile enough to be a target, will keep you safe.
Sorry to break it to you, but if you’re the latter group, you’re wrong. No matter who you are, you have valuable data.
This is why cybersecurity can’t be ignored – none of this is meant to scare you into buying overpriced firewalls or paying huge consultation fees with cybersecurity firms. It’s simply about making sure you know the reality of cybercrime in the legal industry.
2 Steps To Protecting Your Law Firm From Cybercrime
1. Know The Risks
You can’t afford to assume that your cybersecurity measures and practices are keeping you safe. You need to know for sure.
The best way to do so? Have your cybersecurity assessed. A comprehensive assessment should consider the following:
- Data Integrity: You should have a clear, detailed picture of what client data you have, how and where it is stored and accessed, and what you’re doing to protect it.The assessment will determine the strength of your current passwords, the validity of any firewalls in place, and any implementations of control lists that determine what users have access to sensitive information. By ensuring these security standards are properly configured and up-to-date, your system will be that much more difficult to compromise.
- Reliable Failsafes: Despite best efforts, even the strongest security measures can be overcome, whether it’s a data breach or an unexpected emergency on your premises. An assessment will verify that you have regular backups kept at on- and off-site locations that can be relied upon in the case of any disaster.
2. Harness Real Expertise
This next step is relatively simple – where a lot of firms go wrong is by trying to manage their cybersecurity on their own. Truly mature organizations understand that if they want something done right, they need to invest in real expertise.
By finding the right IT company to handle your cybersecurity, you remove any uncertainty that would come with trying to do the following by yourself:
- Strategize Cybersecurity
It’s essential that you determine exactly what data or security breach regulations could affect you. You need to know how to respond to data loss. All employees should be educated on how to report any loss or theft of data, and who to report to.Data loss can expose you to costly state and federal regulations and litigation. You must be able to launch a rapid and coordinated response to a data breach to protect your reputation.
Determine how your data is handled and protected. Also, define who has access to your data and under what circumstances. Create a list of the employees, volunteers, donors or contractors who have access to specific data, under what circumstances, and how those access privileges will be managed and tracked. You must know precisely what data you have, where it’s kept, and who has the rights to access it.
- Make Your Staff A Cybersecurity Asset
Your staff can have a significant effect on your cybersecurity – either they know enough to keep your assets secure, or they don’t, and thus present a serious threat to your security.So, which is it? Do your employees and volunteers have the knowledge they need to spot cybercrime scams, avoid common pitfalls and keep your data secure?
Security awareness training helps your employees and volunteers know how to recognize and avoid being victimized by phishing emails and scam websites.
They learn how to handle security incidents when they occur. If your employees and volunteers are informed about what to watch for, how to block attempts and where they can turn for help, this alone is worth the investment.
- Roll Out A Security Policy
Every firm should set a security policy, review it regularly for gaps, publish it, and make sure employees follow it. It should include such things as:
- Not opening attachments or clicking on links from an unknown source.
- Not using USB drives on office computers.
- A Password Management Policy (no reusing passwords, no Post-it Notes on screens as password reminders, etc.).
- Required security training for all employees.
- A review of policies on Wi-Fi access. Include contractors and partners as part of this if they need wireless access when onsite.
- Cybersecurity Insurance
Often referred to as cyber liability or data breach liability insurance, cyber insurance is a type of stand-alone coverage. Cyber insurance is designed to help businesses cover the recovery costs associated with any kind of cybersecurity. The most common is breach and event response coverage, which covers a range of costs likely to be incurred in the fallout of a cybercrime event, such as forensic and investigative services; breach notification services (which could include legal fees, call center, mailing of materials, etc.); identity and fraud monitoring expenses; public relations and event management.
This is a lot to handle on your own right? You’ve got a caseload, after all, so you likely don’t have the time to see to all this, and it’s not necessarily something you should trust to a paralegal that doesn’t have any experience with IT or cybersecurity.
That’s where a knowledgeable IT services company can be invaluable, like BlueHat Cyber. We are more than just computer technicians, were a team of IT professionals who know and understand the unique security concerns of law firms. We will help you develop a cybersecurity package that is virtually impenetrable to hackers.
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