Law firms have unfortunately seen an uptick in the number of attempted and successful network breaches in recent years. Here’s what you need to know about why law firms are being targeted by hackers, best practices for keeping your network safe, and how to get help ensuring your law firm’s network is as secure as possible.
Sophisticated hackers tend to focus on law firms more than other types of businesses because attorneys tend to store a plethora of sensitive client data that can be very useful to hackers. This includes medical history, financial information, contact information for the client and their relatives, where clients work, and more. Often, data obtained by hackers from law firms is used for financial fraud or identity theft.
Here are 6 cybersecurity best practices for law firms in New Jersey:
1. Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
The first order of business when looking to step up your law firm’s cybersecurity strategy is to have a complete risk assessment done. A risk assessment identifies vulnerable points in your network that need an additional layer of security. It helps you understand your network’s strengths and weaknesses, so you and your New Jersey IT provider can develop a plan to create more comprehensive security while utilizing tools you may already have in place.
Without a risk assessment, it’s difficult to know where to start when increasing your network’s security. You can implement blanket security measures, but this won’t be tailored to your firm nor will it eliminate the possibility of holes in your security. An assessment is a crucial component to developing a successful law firm cybersecurity strategy.
2. Assess the Security of Vendors
As much as you need to know where your security stands, you need to know how to secure the networks of your vendors are. This is because your network and the network of your vendors communicate with each other frequently; if your vendors’ networks aren’t secure, it could potentially result in a breach of your own network.
Ask to review the security certificates of each vendor your law firm works with. They should have a cybersecurity strategy that is at least on par with your own, if not more advanced. Only provide client information to vendors on a need-to-know basis, and make sure that your client’s data will be as safe with your vendors as it is with your firm.
3. Develop a Security Policy Based on International Standards
There are three primary national and international organizations dedicated to establishing global cybersecurity protocols that can be adopted as needed by businesses of all types, including law firms.
You can work with your New Jersey IT professional to review the suggested standards and select what policies and strategies will fit your firm’s needs. You can adopt some or all of the recommended cybersecurity protocols depending on what type of law firm you have, who your typical clients are, the skill level of your staff members, and other factors unique to your law firm.
4. Implement Basic and Advanced Security Tools
Once you have a cybersecurity plan in place, you can begin to implement both basic and advanced security tools as outlined in the strategy. For example, you and your IT security team may decide to use software-based firewalls, antivirus software, anti-spyware, email encryption, spam blocking software, cloud security, password management software, or a unique combination of the above and more.
Implementing new security tools within your law firm can be challenging, so it’s important to have a professional on hand to help you understand how the tool works, how it protects your firm and your client’s sensitive data, and what you and team should be doing to monitor the tool and ensure it continues to run effectively.
5. Train Your Staff
After your cybersecurity tools are set up, it’s important that you train your staff on how to use them. You can have the best email encryption and cloud security available on the market, but if your employees are using weak, easy-to-guess passwords, it may all be for naught. Your team should be provided with robust cybersecurity training, including instructions on how to navigate cybersecurity tools and software as well as how to identify potential threats and mitigate them in real-time. For example, training your employees on how to spot phishing emails and delete suspicious files without opening them is relatively simple, however, it can increase your law firm’s overall network security substantially.
6. Purchase Cyber Insurance
While you can take as many security precautions as possible, you’ll never really be able to eliminate all your risk. Hackers get more sophisticated and develop new tools every day and the cybersecurity industry works day and night to keep up. Even with great security measures, you may still experience a breach. Data loss can cost your law firm hundreds of thousands of dollars, and if you’re not a large firm, it could mean closing your doors for good. Cyber insurance was created to help businesses offset the costs of potential security incidents, such as data loss, damage to your network, and business interruption. For example, if your firm was unable to meet with clients for two days due to a cybersecurity issue, your cybersecurity insurance policy should cover lost revenue during that time.
As remote work continues to soar and technology becomes even more critical to the success of your law firm, it’s more important than ever to protect your law firm from cyber attacks and data loss. At Techsperts, we can help you perform a comprehensive cybersecurity audit that indicates where your network is weak and needs additional security. We’ll work with you to develop modern cybersecurity policies and train your team members on how to identify and mitigate online threats. Call today for more information at (201) 262-5066.