Cybersecurity is crucial for any modern business in Florida, but this is doubly true for law firms. First, law firms are a favorite target for hackers and social engineering scammers. Second, they handle highly sensitive information, which could cause serious harm to both their businesses and their clients were it to end up in the wrong hands. In a sector that’s built on trust, integrity, and professionalism, the importance of having a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy cannot be underestimated.
Here are seven basic steps every law firm should take to boost cybersecurity:
1. Establish a security-first company culture
Data breaches and other threats can strike at any time and exploit any endpoint an employee uses to access your network, often without warning. While technology can help automate many routine security processes, cybersecurity ultimately starts and ends with your employees. This is because cybercriminals usually exploit human unpreparedness or ignorance rather than vulnerabilities in technology itself.
With this in mind, senior partners must drive awareness by building a security- and privacy-first company culture, where everyone is aware of the risks and the procedures to take if something suspicious occurs.
2. Train your employees regularly
As previously mentioned, employees are the first and last line of defense in any cybersecurity strategy. Everyone on your team should receive ongoing training to garner a stronger understanding of key concepts like information classification and identity and access management (IAM).
3. Vet your vendors carefully
More and more data breaches are occurring at the hands of third parties who often have lower information security and privacy standards than the organizations they work with. Supply chain attacks are very common, especially now that supply chains are larger and more complex than ever before. Law firms should be especially mindful of which third parties have access to their data and exactly what they’re granted access to.
In a sector that’s built on trust, integrity, and professionalism, the importance of having a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy cannot be underestimated.
4. Exercise caution with the cloud
Extending upon the theme of vendor management, law firms should exercise extreme caution when working with cloud providers. While there’s no denying the benefits of cloud computing, the last thing you want is a cloud platform leaking sensitive data to the public. Always ask the right questions when evaluating cloud providers, and make sure they’re familiar with the unique challenges and security needs of your industry.
5. Enforce your BYOD policy
By now, most law firms have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, which allows their employees to use their own laptops and smartphones for work. But, while this is economical and convenient, it does carry a degree of risk since you don’t have as much control over employee-owned devices as you would over company-issued ones. Establishing and enforcing a BYOD policy that lets you retain control, ownership, and governance of your data is essential to keep your employees, your firm, and your data safe.
6. Encrypt all communications
Encryption is one of the easiest and most robust cybersecurity controls any law firm can apply. If data is encrypted, no hacker will be able to make sense out of it unless they’re able to get their hands on your decryption keys. That means that even if a device is stolen or network traffic is intercepted, your data will still be safe from cybercriminals. You should encrypt everything, including entire hard drives, mobile devices, emails, and online storage.
7. Have a robust continuity strategy
Investing in good security software is one of the best ways to protect your law firm against cyberthreats. But while you should always take a proactive approach to security, having a robust backup and business continuity strategy is still essential. You also need a documented response plan that tells you and your employees what to do should an incident occur. These plans should be reviewed at least once per year or whenever you make any major changes.
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