Cybersecurity risks for law firms have seen a significant uptick in both 2019 and 2020, especially in the face of COVID-19. Let's break down the best practices law firms should follow to protect themselves in this new threat landscape.
High-profile breaches across all industries have increased in 2020. Law firms regularly deal with sensitive information, making it clear that securing digital data should be a priority for law firms across the country heading into 2021.
Whether your firm handles corporate law or family law, all legal practices handle confidential client data.
Top Tips to Protect Your Law Firm from Cybersecurity Attacks
- Make sure all your workstations and servers have Managed Updates. Managed Updates is an offering from IT Companies that leverage an enterprise IT tool that applies and audits security patches promptly. Inconsistent security updates will get you in trouble with cyber attackers and auditors if you're in a regulated industry. More on this here.
- Monitor for inbound and outbound spam, phishing, and viruses via a third party solution (other than your email provider). Office 365 and G Suite, out of the box, come with decent protection, but it would be best if you used a dedicated solution for email security. Email is the #1 entry point for malicious actors.
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) everywhere. Think bank accounts, Quickbooks Online, remote access, email, CRM, and more. This extra factor essentially makes your password being exposed a non-event. MFA can be challenging to scale if done without a centralized solution. Talk to your IT Company (or us) about Single Sign-On (SSO) with multi-factor authentication to simplify your life.
- Take an active role in preventing Shadow IT. Shadow IT occurs when your staff introduces new IT solutions without the approval of management. Examples are Dropbox, Gmail, Trello, Slack free, and many others. These products prohibit sensitive data (SSNs, DOB, etc.) at the free tier, and who knows what the security and data sharing settings are set to by default. This is a breach waiting to happen and a nightmare to figure out where your business's data lives if that employee leaves. More on this here.
- Perform regular cybersecurity training for your employees. Educating and training your employees to prevent and respond to cyberattacks within your firm is vital in mitigating potential damage from a cyberattack.
- Have cybersecurity insurance. Just qualifying for cybersecurity insurance is an ordeal. Insurance companies mitigate risk by asking questions like: are you applying security updates regularly, what email filter do you use, is there MFA on essential accounts, etc.. (See a trend?). The point is: a business in 2021 needs cybersecurity insurance. To qualify, you need to be insurable. If a security incident occurs, -- even if you have all the essential security precautions in place -- cybersecurity insurance will step in and potentially save your business.
Are you a law firm in need of IT security support? PK Tech can help. We work with several law firms in the Greater Phoenix Area. We would be happy to evaluate your firm's existing IT infrastructure if you are interested in revamping your strategy for 2021. Contact us here.