Cyber Security Best Practices for Law Firms – Law firms have become a major target for hackers, and this is for plain reasons: they hold a lot of client data, intellectual property, and other privileged information. Every company out there, prominent business figures, government and private organizations have to comply with some statutory laws in some way, and most of the time, this has to involve law firms. Can you imagine if such information were accessed by cyber criminals?
The majority of law firms have put in place various strategies to ensure data security. These include software-based firewalls, antimalware scanners and spam filters. These are good and essential steps towards securing data. However, law firms need to understand that in today’s hostile Internet environment, these are just not sufficient to secure data. The following are some of the best practices that Law firms need to embrace when dealing with cyber security:
Use the Cloud Cautiously
It is believed that Cloud computing is the next big thing. Many organizations are now embracing cloud computing which has come with many advantages. However, law firms need to be extremely cautious with this. Since information is stored off the-premise, in the Cloud Service Providers (CSP) servers, (probably in a different country) law firms need to choose CSPs cautiously. You need a Cloud Provider that has a good reputation in the market, where you can be assured of the security of your data. All information regarding policies governing data storage should be clearly outlined without any ambiguity whatsoever.
Different countries have different laws on data protection. You need to know whether the information stored in the server is subject to searches by other parties and whether it’s in line with the data privacy laws of the host country. Clients also need to give authorization before their information is stored in the cloud. It is advised that law firms obtain the services of a cyber security consultant when making such decisions.
Also, Read: The First Line of Defence: A Strong Password
Employees need to be trained on a regular basis on matters pertaining to data security. Most data breaches with far-reaching consequences could have been avoided if employees had been sufficiently trained and equipped. Training should clearly outline what employees are and are not allowed to do.
Attackers often employee social engineering and phishing techniques on unsuspecting employees. Without a clear understanding of information security, untrained employees remain to be the biggest Cyber security threat that law firms are facing today.
Use of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA is an additional layer of security to the conventional PINs and passwords which requires a user to provide two or more verification details to gain access to a given resource. It could be:
Always back up your data / Have a Business Continuity Plan
You never know what tomorrow holds, but you can always be prepared for any eventualities. It is important to back up your data on a regular basis. This should be done in an external storage device or in someplace away from your network. Ransomware attacks are very expensive and could cost you millions of dollars. But whenever you have a backup, if at all they will ever happen, you still remain safe. Some firms decide to create either a hot, cold or warm site.
Data encryption is a simple and yet very powerful data security tool. It converts data into another form that is only readable by someone who has the right decryption key. This is very effective in data security. In the event that someone illegally accesses data or a device containing critical information gets lost, the data therein remains secure.
Regular Software Patches
As we continue using software, we discover more and more vulnerabilities. Software developers and companies endeavor to stay way ahead of attackers by discovering these vulnerabilities before the attackers do.
Software patches are released on a regular basis to fix such vulnerabilities. It is therefore important to ensure that you install the latest patches to your system as soon as they are released.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
The internet world today is very insecure since the public internet exposes data to a barrage of risks such as hacking, man-in-the-middle attacks, denial of service attacks, phishing attacks and malware injections. VPNs allow two or more parties to communicate across an insecure network by creating a tunnel across the connections. It uses protocols such as IPSec, L2TP, SSL/TLS and SSH.
Data is encrypted/ decrypted at endpoints and if intercepted in some way, the information contained cannot be read.
Perform Regular Security Assessments
This involves the examination of your Law Firm’s security posture vis a vis a set of standards, policies and frameworks to see whether your system is secure. Assessments are done through threat hunting, intelligence fusion and penetration testing.
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