Technology is making waves across every business sector, and the legal industry is certainly no exception. While law firms exist in a variety of sizes and specialities, what they all have in common is the need to keep vital data protected. This need stems from their responsibility for maintaining the privacy of their clients’ data. To accomplish this, they must keep up with the best practices for cybersecurity.
Legal professionals may not seem like an obvious target for a cyber crime, since they don’t typically store credit card information and bank accounts online. But, they do often have important clients. From large companies to affluent individuals, law firms hold sensitive information about each of their clients. For example, they can hold inside information pertaining to future or current business dealings.
Law firms have always had an ethical responsibility to protect information from their clients. This was a bit easier to do when everything was on paper, according to Dark Reading. Obviously innovation and new technologies have disrupted the old way of doing things. But, like many other industries, adopting new technologies in law firms has outpaced the adoption of the security best practices required to live with that technology safely.
Around two-thirds of law firms reported being hacked in 2016-2017. Here are some ways law firms can minimize cyber threats:
Properly train employees on cybersecurity.
Employees should be responsible for detecting and alerting of possible phishing attacks. There are certain client conversations that probably aren’t appropriate to have via email, especially the ones involving sensitive material. According to Dark Reading, “Tagging an email as “attorney client privileged” won’t stop computer criminals from reading it.”
An attack’s impact can extend past client security. In December 2016, three Chinese citizens were charged by federal prosecutors after they made $4 million through insider trading after hacking into at least two New York law firms, according to Tech Republic.
It’s important for law firms to be prepared for a cyber attack. Firms should perform backups and software updates should be done regularly and create a thorough disaster recovery plan. Dark Reading suggests that maintaining a highly secure and safe operation should be top of mind for partners and directors at law firms of all sizes.
If you’re interested in following the best cybersecurity practices for your law firm, learn about MDL’s managed services.