Law firms handle large amounts of sensitive data each day, meaning that confidentiality is a core aspect of the legal profession. Data breaches on law firms are becoming increasingly more common as they are key targets due to the large volume of sensitive information, data and financial information they hold. This means that having a cyber security policy for law firms has never been as important. Whilst a large number of law firms are aware that they need a cyber security strategy, many don’t have one in place either because they don’t think they can afford it, or simply don’t prioritise it.
This is one of the reasons why law firms have become key targets for cyber criminals as they typically hold all the information that criminals are interested in, without much in the way of cyber security to stop them. In this insight into cyber security policy for law firms, we take a look at the different obligations that law firms have in regard to protecting data.
Why Are Law Firms Appealing To Cyber Criminals?
Cyber criminals typically target law firms because of the sheer amount of client data they manage, as well as intellectual property documents they hold. Documents such as mergers and acquisitions negotiation documents could be enough for cyber criminals to see an opportunity to intercept and redirect funds when payments are issued. Even the smallest details which lawyers may have online, such as the professional history of a lawyer within the firm, can be enough for criminals to manipulate and use for profit. Law firms need to understand how their electronic data can be targeted for manipulation purposes.
Although both small and large law firms face increased risks of cyber attacks, the challenges faced can differ. For larger firms, the rewards chased by cyber criminals is often bigger as there is more information which can be compromised, but larger firms are also likely to have an already tailored cyber security policy for law firms in place. For smaller firms, although they likely have less in terms of data volume, they are often easier targets for cyber criminals as there is less likely to be a comprehensive cyber security policy implemented.
A Law Firm’s Duty To Protect Information
Lawyers are under very strict obligations to keep any and all information they receive from clients confidential. Failure to do so is treated very seriously. Although clients can agree to lawyers sharing information with another person, there are often very few exceptions, not least sharing information with cyber criminals. These obligations never end, even after a contract ends or a client passes away. Law firms understand that it is both their ethical and professional duty to protect data provided by clients, including against cyber attacks, with a tailored cyber security policy for law firms. In the event of a cyber breach or attack, lawyers are required to report it as soon as possible to relevant bodies.
How To Secure Your Law Firm For The Future
Protecting a law firm against cyber security incidents isn’t just about having technological-led protections in place, but adopting new behaviours and habits which can limit the damage in event of an attack. Preventing cyber attacks is no longer a realistic enough goal for law firms, it is now a case of preparing for a cyber attack and, in the event one happens, responding as quickly as possible. This is often done in the form of a dedicated cyber security policy for law firms, which outlines exactly what is required in the event of an attack.
Strengthen Your Passwords
You should reiterate that employees need to use strong, complex passwords which they don’t use in order to access other accounts or systems, as well as enable two-factor authentication if employees work remotely. There are many password generator tools that can be used, but make sure passwords aren’t stored on devices.
Train Employees In Spotting Cyber Attacks
With human error still a leading cause of cyber attacks, your employees should know the signs of a phishing email or fake requests to gain access to credentials. If employees receive suspicious emails, then there should be steps in place which are taken following this, such as blocking IP addresses or reporting the email. Here at CYFOR Secure, we provide phishing simulation training, which is a great way to improve staff awareness of phishing attacks and which can help form your cyber security policy for law firms.
Conduct A Cyber Security Audit
Cyber security audits go beyond what law firms may already know about their cyber risk level, whilst revealing weaknesses or areas of concern within the firm. Our dedicated team at CYFOR Secure regularly perform cyber security audits and vulnerability scans for law firms, with no audit the same.
Gain A Cyber Essentials Accreditation Badge
The UK government has developed the Cyber Essentials accreditation, which is administered by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). This is a set of controls which help businesses to protect themselves against cyber threats. We are an accredited certification authority and can offer Cyber Essentials training, as well as Cyber Essentials Plus, to form part of your cyber security policy for law firms.
Creating A Cyber Security Policy For Law Firms
Security should be a top priority for law firms, as clients are trusting you with some of their most confidential and sensitive information. When creating a cyber security policy for law firms, it’s important to start improving your security as soon as possible and take a proactive approach to securing your client’s data.
With law firms under a near-constant threat of cyber threats, creating a cyber security policy for law firms is an important way to protect and ensure the security of your firm. For more information on creating a dedicated cyber security policy for law firms, contact CYFOR Secure today.