What does an effective data security protocol look like for a law firm?

The sheer amount of sensitive information law firms handle for their clients makes them a prime target for hackers. Your law firm needs to have a set of data security protocols developed specifically to protect company data and that of your clients.

The list of industries most vulnerable to cyberattacks doesn’t always include the legal sector, but this shouldn’t make you complacent. In fact, there is no better time to boost your firm’s cybersecurity than today, because:

Cyberattacks are happening more often – A 2018 survey by the American Bar Association (ABA) found that 23 percent of respondents had experienced a cyberattack. This figure increased to 26 percent the following year.
The consequences are costly – Following the Petya ransomware attack in 2017, multinational law firm DLA Piper had to pay their employees for 15,000 hours of overtime work. But a cyberattack results in more than just monetary losses. It could result in your firm incurring severe penalties and a severe blow on your reputation as a trustworthy firm.
The threats are still changing – In the past few years, the most common type of cyberattack to hit law firms was indiscriminately propagated ransomware. This year, many experts believe targeted ransomware, a better-planned variation of conventional ransomware, will likely become more prevalent.
You need to focus on your firm – Managing a law firm has its share of challenges that require your full attention. Investing in cybersecurity will give you peace of mind and leave you free to focus on running the firm.

What should go into your data security protocol?

To protect your law firm from data breaches, your data security protocol must include these best practices:

#1. Make your files unreadable through encryption

File sharing is convenient, but it can also be very risky. A data thief can steal or spy on your files as they are transmitted to and from your recipients. Encryption jumbles your data, making it impossible to read and, thus, useless to data thieves. You can easily find tools to encrypt your data for you, so there’s no excuse to not do it.

#2. Back up your files

Ransomware, a common bane among law firms, prevents you from accessing your files or your entire IT system. Keeping multiple backups of your data means you’re less likely to have no choice but to pay the hackers — something the FBI says you shouldn’t do, by the way. Backups also come in handy following a natural disaster as these let you get back to serving your clients as soon as possible.

#3. Secure your mobile devices

Many lawyers are now using their personal mobile devices to do huge portions of their tasks. Although convenient, mobile devices open opportunities for hackers to get into your system and steal your data. For this reason, it’s important that you take steps to secure your attorneys’ and staff’s mobile devices, whether it’s through third-party tools, such as mobile antivirus apps and a virtual private network (VPN), or by educating them in mobile security best practices.

#4. Boost your passwords

When creating a password, one of the most common mistakes people make is using common phrases like “abcd1234” and “password.” Other common errors are using the same password for multiple accounts and keeping the same one for a long time. Your password is one of the first and most important means to protect your data, so make sure to avoid these mistakes.

When possible, implement multifactor authentication (MFA). This is a system that requires users to use one or more authentication factors beside a password before they can be permitted entry.

#5. Secure your Wi-Fi

Connecting through Wi-Fi lets you work anywhere in the office, but it can also make your firm prone to cyberattacks. Invest in a VPN, which lets you connect to the internet securely. Additionally, keep your Wi-Fi connection to yourself and avoid sharing it with others. If needed, create a separate Wi-Fi connection for your clients and guests to use.

Protecting your law firm’s data is no easy feat, but we are here to help. Cutting Edge Networks has experts who are experienced in data security solutions for law firms. We can help you design and implement data security strategies that address your firm’s and your clients’ needs. Contact us today!

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