5 Tips to Protect Sensitive Client Data at your Law Firm
We’re in 2019 and simply breathing digital!
As a result, cyber crimes are on the rise and loss of sensitive client data is vastly dreaded by business owners. The methods used by hackers are more complex and most small to large scale corporations pay considerable sums to fill any vulnerabilities in their IT systems.
Over the years, with augmenting use of IT solutions for law firms, we witnessed how these organizations also increasingly became a prime target for the cyberattacks.
As a law firm owner, you may simply reckon why hackers can be specifically interested in sabotaging your business operations. The foundation and core of your business are based on “attorney-client privilege.” This means that lawyers usually store sensitive information of their clients and also promise to keep it confidential in any case.
Yet another reason for rising cyberattacks is the type of information stored about the client. Usually, law firms store precise and detailed information about the clients, which makes it entirely logical for hackers to want to gain access.
Cybersecurity Risks for Law firms Gaining Traction
There is a lot of technology involved in most legal operations, and law firms usually depend on a combination of hardware and software to serve their clients better and faster. One more thing to consider here is that lawyers can be specialized in different disciplines, and as a result, a hacker can gain a lot of sensitive information about the clients.
Let’s look at some of the developments around cybersecurity in the last couple of years –
FBI Statement: In March 2016, the FBI issued a warning statement to the international law firms, revealing that hackers are trying to steal client sensitive information with the purpose of insider trading.
ABA Legal Technology Survey: In 2017, the American Bar Association surveyed 4000+ people for their cybersecurity. Around 22% of the respondents confirmed that their firm experienced a data breach, out of which 25% of these respondents stated that there were no cybersecurity measures at the place.
Considerations to Protect Sensitive Client Data for your Law Firm
It is quintessential now to add more robust measures in your cybersecurity plans, and a Managed Security Provider can help with threat mitigation and comprehensive security audits. Below we have listed out considerations that can help your law firm secure your sensitive client data:
Assess Your Inventory
The very first thing is to analyze your inventory and assess where you stand concerning the technology. A Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help you with detailed evaluation of the inventory and all the technological products including hardware, software and data.
Moreover, with software inventory, you’ll need to make sure you have the requisite software products, licenses, keys, passwords, and if you’ve updated schedules and versions.
Also, a database administrator can help you continuously monitor and maintain the database, while making sure if the data is subject to legal restrictions such as HIPAA.
Check and Evaluate Your Cybersecurity Systems
If you are small or medium scale organization, it would be ideal to have a good grasp of your cybersecurity plans and understand your systems. Ask these five questions to your Managed IT Support, and it’ll help you evaluate your cybersecurity systems:
• Is your cybersecurity system access controlled on a need-to-know basis?
• Are you encrypting access to smart devices and computers?
• Are you storing passwords records in a protected file?
• Is Enterprise network systems employing two-factor authentication?
• Are your antivirus/malware detection software and firewalls in place?
Analyze Your Vendor Security
Your firm might be working with multiple vendors. Your MSP can help you review the vendor’s security certificates and ensure if the vendor is using correct security protocols. It is essential to make sure that the focus doesn’t shift from client data. Also, it is critical to make sure that any affiliate organization working with your law firm is as much dedicated to protecting client data as you.
Make Use of Security Standards
Many law firms are now shifting towards standardizations and certifications. You can use policies or guidelines and get certified from organizations such as ISO (International Standards Organization), NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and CIS (Center for Internet Security).
Employ a Reliable Backup System
Imagining the worst-case scenario can help you gain insight into your security plans. You may not want to compromise your data because of poor planning. A backup of the system is highly recommended, and a good backup can be invaluable in case of natural disasters and fire incidents. Backups also provide an advantage in the case of ransomware or cyber-attacks.
At Discovernet, we provide advanced IT solutions for law firms with focus on improving privacy, data use, protection of sensitive client data and overall cyber security. Our professionals proactively develop measures and controls for mitigating risks of data breach. In the immediate aftermath of a cyberattack, our team will provide you strategic and expedient counsel on incident reporting and crisis management. If you are actively seeking a better security partner, please get in touch with our experts.