A cybersecurity checklist for law firms

A cybersecurity checklist for law firms

Law firms operate in one of the most tightly regulated industries, and their entire brands are built on trust and professionalism. Unfortunately, they also face information security threats from all sides. Furthermore, the legal sector is a favorite target for cybercriminals because of the huge amount of sensitive information it routinely handles, such as financial records and case files. Doing nothing to protect such data is no longer an option in the face of constantly evolving threats.

1. Establish strong authentication measures

For as long as computers have existed, passwords have been a staple of digital security, playing a dominant role in authentication. But the problem with passwords is that they’re highly susceptible to code breaking and phishing scams, the latter of which are behind most data breaches. While passwords remain a core component of cybersecurity, law firms should always use an additional layer of authentication, like biometrics, for employees to confirm their identity.

2. Encrypt data at rest and in transit

A common method of cyberattack is wireless network snooping, whereby an attacker will intercept data in transit between your device and the local router. This is common especially when using public networks. Other man-in-the-middle attacks can take place between your network and the internet, or anywhere else where data is in transit. However, if everything is encrypted at all times, it will be useless to anyone who doesn’t have the decryption key.

3. Run regular risk assessments

As technology constantly changes, so does the cyberthreat landscape. Companies adopt a culture of innovation to stay ahead. But with every new technology comes both risks and opportunities. Therefore, risk assessments should be a regular part of your cybersecurity routine. You’ll need to keep an up-to-date inventory of all devices and systems used for work, and regularly evaluate their security effectiveness to keep ahead of hackers.

4. Don’t forget about your endpoints

One of the biggest security challenges facing law firms today is that they’re no longer dealing with just a handful of desktop computers connected to an office network. Today, they have to think about protecting every internet-connected device used for work, even employee-owned mobile devices. It’s imperative that every one of these endpoints is protected using a centralized access-management solution and full data encryption.

5. Identify your attack surface

Cybersecurity threats are constantly growing and diversifying as attack surfaces continue to expand. There are now mobile devices, cloud-storage services, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to think about as well. This much larger attack surface potentially provides hackers with many more possible entry points into sensitive data. That’s why every cybersecurity strategy starts with building a complete inventory of data-bearing systems to get a big picture of potential access points for attackers.

6. Choose your vendors wisely

These days, a lot of smaller law firms and solo practices outsource their security and compliance needs, simply because maintaining a dedicated in-house IT department is prohibitively expensive. Partnering with a dependable managed IT services provider (MSP) that understands the legal space is a practical and efficient way to get the protection you need, but you’ll still need to evaluate your options carefully and always ask for references.

7. Create a culture of awareness

Although technology usually gets the blame, the majority of data breaches stem from human error. One of the most common mistakes is falling for social engineering scams. Your staff are on the frontline when it comes to information security, which is why you need to build a culture of security awareness through regular training. Examples include simulated phishing scams, documented security policies, and penetration-testing.

Founders Technology Group provides information technology solutions and expertise to law firms across New England. Call us today to schedule a consultation.