Cybercriminals see legal firms as high-value targets mainly because they know that attorneys have access to sensitive data and have a reputation to uphold. And because many law firms now store and manage huge volumes of data in the cloud, it's much easier for cyberthieves to steal these. Worse, attacks have become more relentless and much harder to detect.
To help reduce the risk of attacks, it's essential for law firms to have a solid cybersecurity policy in place.
What is a cybersecurity policy?
An essential foundation of any security program, a cybersecurity policy that documents all protocols aimed at warding off potential attacks against your firm’s and your clients' confidential information. This includes protocols governing email practices, remote access, internet usage, social media use, and the like.
For law firms like yours, it’s best to seek guidance from cybersecurity experts with experience in providing IT support for law firms. As custodians of sensitive data, you owe it to your clients to keep their information confidential and to take reasonable steps in safeguarding them at all costs.
Another reason to have a cybersecurity policy is to ensure compliance with applicable ethical and legal obligations. Not only do ethical codes mandate that attorneys protect client data from unauthorized access or use, but many states also impose specific regulations related to cybersecurity. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines, suspension or disbarment of lawyers, and even criminal liability. For example, New York has implemented its own set of stringent cybersecurity requirements for multi-state law firms practicing there. Bloomberg recently reported that New York attorneys will be legally required to complete one hour of cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection training starting July 2023.
Moreover, having an appropriate cybersecurity program in place is also key to ensuring your firm maintains its competitive advantage over other practices. With the increasing prevalence of data breaches and other threats, many potential clients are likely to seek representation from firms that demonstrate a commitment to ensuring the utmost safety of their data. Having a robust cybersecurity policy will not only make it easier to build trust between your firm and your clients, but it can also help enhance overall customer satisfaction.
What cybersecurity strategies should your law firm have?
There are some strategies you can use to greatly reduce the risk associated with some of today's most common cyberattacks against law firms.
In a phishing scam, criminals send emails disguised as legitimate communications from seemingly reliable sources so they can gain access to a firm’s confidential data. To protect against these attacks, your law firm should practice due diligence when it comes to email verification processes and employ multifactor authentication methods whenever possible. Additionally, you should train staff members on how to recognize and respond appropriately if they receive any suspicious emails or messages.
Cybercriminals may also deploy ransomware, a malicious software that encrypts computer files until ransom demands are met. To protect against ransomware threats, your firm should ensure that all your systems have up-to-date antivirus and firewall software installed, set up regular backups for important documents and data, and implement an incident response plan that can help guide you in the event of an attack.
In addition, your firm should invest in penetration testing services so that security weaknesses in computer systems, software programs, and websites can be identified and rectified before they can be exploited by attackers.
Finally, your law firm should also consider investing in cyber insurance to cover any financial losses that may be incurred due to successful attacks or data breaches caused by third parties.
By taking these proactive steps and implementing comprehensive cybersecurity strategies tailored specifically to your operations, your firm can greatly reduce its risk of falling victim to cybercrime.
Healthy IT is the best legal IT support provider for law firms in New York. Get a free consultation from our cybersecurity experts today.