Cyber attacks are serious. They can lead to the theft of valuable sensitive data, they can disrupt phone and computer networks or paralyze entire systems, effectively making data unavailable. How can cybersecurity help law firms stay safe?
Law firms are a primary target
Cyber attacks are on the rise worldwide. There are over 4.000 cyber attacks every day. Businesses and governments seem to be under a constant attack.
Sadly, law firms are no exception.
In 2018, a whopping 23% of law firms reported that they had suffered a breach at some point in time!
But why target law firms? Well, within a standard law firm database there are many treasures to be discovered for hackers. Law firms hold many secrets. A hacker might find sensitive information about businesses, information on intellectual property, grounds for insider trading, classified information about governments, the exact location of high-value bank accounts, …
Law firms often don’t even know they’re under attack
These days, hackers are capable of stealing data stored in your law firm without you even realizing it.
This is highly problematic if you consider how much private and sensitive information is stored within law firms. This information is often trusted upon law firms by their clients, who assume their secrets are safe with their lawyer.
If someone got their hands on the most sensitive information in your law firm, consequences would be enormous. This could damage the reputation of your law firm, but also the reputation and day to day functioning of your clients.
It’s clear that breaches due to cyber attacks have to be evaded at all costs.
How can law firms defend themselves?
Cybersecurity for law firms is a hugely complicated subject. There seems to be no one way to guarantee safety. however, there are some best practices and things to consider, which might make your firm more resilient.
A lot of cyber attacks seem to be facilitated through an inside man. Often, law firms aren’t sufficiently protected against so-called insider threats.
A first step in making your law firm breach-proof could be more due diligence in hiring procedures. Thus, making sure that new employees have no ties with shady figures or incentives to facilitate a cyber attack.
Insider trading being an obvious example of an incentive for employees to breach the law firms data.
Once you fully trust your employees, you should evaluate how information is stored within your firm. You should be able to identify where all the information is stored and who can access it.
Once that is cleared out, law firms should consider protecting their information even further. Encryption of sensitive data seems to be a solid option. Also, there is lots of cybersecurity software available these days.
Experts also suggest the usage of so called ‘containers’, such as secure online rooms, deal rooms, SharePoint sites and the like.
Lastly, there should be a mechanism in place for monitoring unauthorized acces.
Keep an eye on our blog for further in-depth pieces on specific ways to weaponize your firm against cyber attacks.
Cyber attacks are a great danger to your law firm. Not only their reputation, but also the reputation and functioning of their (sometimes high status) clients is under threat.
Cybersecurity for law firms is a complicated subject. The world of hacking is in constant flux. There is no one-way safeguard against their ever changing tricks. However, there seem to be some good practices which law firms can use to minimize threats.
Keep an eye on our further publications wherein we discuss more on the subject of cyber attacks, and how to defend yourself against them.