Law firms come in all shapes and sizes. From corporate to family law, legal practices vary in almost every area, but they all handle confidential client data - and that data must be protected!
Our team of legal IT services experts has put together a list of the four most important tips for law firms to ensure the information they’re handling stays safe throughout the litigation process, from beginning to end.
1. Monitor for Inbound and Outbound Spam and Phishing
Everyone knows about phishing. It’s an old trick that everyone has been a victim of at least a few times. We all know that we need a solid mail filtering software to prevent everyone in the office from receiving a fresh barrage of malicious attempts every day.
But what about outbound email?
Think about it, the phishing emails you receive all appear to come from legitimate email addresses, right? Law firm domains are especially coveted by cyber-criminals because of their innate clout as a respected domain.
We need to have monitors not only on inbound emails that protect from things like ransomware, but we also need to have outbound monitors as well, so we don’t become propagators of these malicious emails.
Imagine the damage done to your reputation if malicious emails were sent from your domain. You would have to follow up with everyone who received an email, begging for forgiveness and looking like a fool. You may lose current clients. You may lose future business.
Get ahead of these potential threats and have an outbound mail filter.
While we're talking about email, let's be honest, at the end of the day, no mail filter is going to stop 100% of the attempts to reach your data.
You need end user phishing prevention training. If end users don't know what to look for, they will inevitably click a malicious email link, and send your business spiraling into digital chaos. This training works directly with your employees through randomized tests over an entire year, with fully detailed reports delivered to you, to see who needs more training.
A good mail filter combined with some end user training will prepare your firm to avoid the worst when it comes to email.
2. Business-Critical Data REQUIRES
Good passwords are hard to remember, so bad, easy-to-guess passwords become the default. Honestly, no password is strong enough. This is especially true if you’re handling important data.
There’s no way around it. Your on-line business-critical data needs to be protected with multi-factor authentication.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA, also known as two-factor authentication or 2FA) is the process of verifying your identity with a second form of proof. With most forms of MFA, this means entering your password and then inputting a code from your phone.
This second step will keep your account safe from bad passwords, stolen passwords, or even those pesky sticky notes left around the office.
MFA is the best bang-for-your-buck in technology. There is no better ROI in terms of data security. For a relatively low monthly cost, your entire office is safe from the usual pitfalls of data protection. If you’re not using MFA yet, you need to make the change as soon as possible.
3. Print Out and Practice Your Backup Plan
Every building has a fire escape plan. Every business needs a business continuity plan.
You need to have a fully documented, easily accessible data disaster recovery plan in place from day one. This document needs to be shared with everyone who is a part of the plan.
Also, your plan needs to be practiced in its entirety once a year. A plan is no good if you don’t know how to implement it. Of course, it’s also useless if you can’t access it in case of a disaster. This means you need to print out physical copies and store them in a safe location!
A serious, well thought out, complete business continuity plan will take real time, effort, and knowledge of your organization’s technological needs and resources. This can be daunting for a small-to-medium size firm.
Hourly outsourced positions like a Virtual CIO can step in, audit your system, and help create a thorough plan, tailored to your needs. Even if it takes some outside help, a backup plan can save your business from complete ruin in the case of a business disaster.
Note: Most businesses need outside help when it comes to cyber security protection, so don't overlook the benefits of Managed Cyber Security Services.
4. Ask Your Legal IT Services Team about Compliance
This seems a bit obvious, but it’s absolutely shocking how many firms don’t realize they’re breaking the law. Look at the data you’re handling, and know if it’s covered by a compliance regulation.
If any part of your client data is medical information, you must be HIPAA compliant. PII (Personally Identifiable Information) must be protected according to government standards. Data in the UK is protected under GDPR. These are standards you must be aware of.
Regulations like GDPR are slowly becoming the standard. Although this particular regulation is only for England at present, client data protection has rightfully become a hot-button issue, and US states are beginning to implement their own forms of client data policies. It’s simply a matter of time before this becomes a federally regulated piece that all firms must follow.
In 2019, nothing in this world is as valuable as client data. To maintain your reputation as a respected law firm, your clients need to know their data is safe. We recommend starting with this simple quiz from our friends at CRI, "What's Your Cyber Readiness Level?"
Yes, this is a lot to manage. Your small firm may not be able to keep up. You need someone whose entire job consists of maintaining your network and overall digital integrity. IT consultants have become a popular option for small-to-medium-size firms, as they have the knowledge you need to lead your business in the right direction.
If you’re interested in learning more from our panel of experts, be sure to register below for our LIVE SEMINAR on October 29th, “Managing Cyber Risk: Best Practices for Business Leaders.” Where Ntiva, along with partners PBMares and Lindsey Business Group will present cyber security threat trends and real steps you can take to reduce your risk.