Cybercrime, network intrusions, and data breaches are hot topics in today’s news cycles. The stories that are shared can seem sensational and hard to believe. The types of major infractions that are reported can also seem like the type of trouble that could never occur to a small law firm with clients contained to a single region. Yet if you thought that cybercriminals are focusing their efforts solely on governments and large corporations, you could not be further from the truth. Hackers are after sensitive data, no matter who owns it. With the amount of sensitive client data stored on law firm servers, you can be sure that any law firm, regardless of size, is a legitimate target for cyber attacks.
Your clients trust you to protect their rights and interests as if they were your own. For you to do so often requires that they entrust you with sensitive information. This trust puts an obligation on your shoulders to keep that data safe from intrusions. The number of cyber attacks against law firms is on the rise. If you have not recently reevaluated the security of your networks and servers, now is the time to do so. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you assess how best to ensure that the technology you use to do business is optimized to protect your firm and your clients.
What Cybercriminals Can Do to Your Law Firm
Cybercriminals can harm your law firm in many ways. The most common ways to do so include viruses and malware, along with phishing and social engineering attacks. Direct attempts to break into your firm’s network can also occur.
In the past, the endgame of a network breach was usually to obtain specific information or data, perhaps to resell or use for blackmail purposes. In those times, the clients themselves were the targets, and the data stored by a law firm simply the means to the end of hurting the client. Now, with the rise of ransomware, the law firms themselves have become the main target. Regardless of the particular value of a given piece of information obtained from your servers, hackers know that both your reputation and bar credentials would suffer immensely if it were revealed that your networks had suffered an intrusion. Thus, all they have to do is take control of your systems, at which point they can extort you for money in exchange for codes to gain back control of your technology.
The Problem With On-Site I.T. Solutions
When a law firm uses an on-site I.T. solution, it means that all the firm’s computers are connected to a server that is installed on site. Many law firms still prefer this solution, believing they are safer with their technology right where they can see it. Unfortunately, on-site storage can sometimes lead to additional vulnerabilities. With no protective measures between your computers and servers, it would only take one unsuspecting employee opening a malicious email, and the malware will be free to spread to every computer connected to the network.
What Steps Can You Take to Protect Your Firm’s Data?
There are many things you can do to protect your firm and your clients from hackers. However, only taking one or two of these steps is never enough. You need a complete security management and support plan if you want to minimize the risk of being an easy target for cybercrime.
- You Should Have the Best Antimalware and Antivirus Software
When it comes to arming your computers with the best protection software, you should not be attempting to save money at the expense of security. Think of it as an investment in your practice. Free or low-cost antivirus programs will give the illusion of protection, but they won’t hold up to the levels of attacks that your systems may sustain. Since they are tempting targets, law firms have to take stronger measures than other people and businesses.
- You Should Keep Your System Updated
Cybercriminals know exactly how digital security systems work. They know all their weaknesses and spend all their time inventing ways to get around and through the digital walls businesses erect. That is why security systems need to be updated all the time. Manufacturers spend a lot of time staying abreast of the latest threats and hacking techniques. By keeping your technology updated, you take advantage of the latest additions meant to strengthen security, protecting yourself against newly developed threats.
- You Should Run Regular Penetration Tests
Penetration tests are authorized simulated attacks on computers aiming to find all the possible vulnerabilities of the security system. The findings of these tests will let you know about the strengths and weaknesses of your servers, networks, and processes. These tests will tell you exactly where the hackers are likely to strike. Running regular penetration tests will let you manage the risk of attacks as well as maintain updated plans to strengthen your systems.
- You Should Have a Cyber Attack Response Plan
Even if you have an amazing I.T. security system, you also need a cyber-attack response plan. Even the best-protected systems can be breached, and having a comprehensive response plan will help you recover more quickly and with less damage. You’ll minimize downtime, and be able to restore your systems and get back to work sooner. Doing those things will help you keep your reputation when the worst happens.
- You Should Hire Cybersecurity Experts
Your focus should be on your legal practice. Securing your law firm from cyber attacks is too important to handle without any expert help. In the same way that you know what disasters can happen when people try to represent themselves without qualified legal help, you can imagine the trouble that can arise from attempting to handle cybersecurity without expert assistance. The wisest decision you can make is to outsource your cybersecurity to an I.T. provider that specializes in that area. You’ll gain an ally in the ongoing fight against cybercrime, and with the peace of mind of knowing that your networks are protected, you’ll be able to put your energy into your practice.
For a detailed list of what you should be doing to protect your firm, download our free Cybersecurity Checklist here. To speak with a cybersecurity expert about the specific needs of your law practice, call 844-44-JMARK or visit JMARK.com.