A Cyber Security Risk Checklist For Law Firms - How Many Can You Tick Off?
5 min read.
The growing wave of cybercrime is placing law firms at increased risk, however many are unsure if their security posture will fend off the next attack.
Why Law Firms Are A Target for Cybercriminals
Law firms are especially attractive to bad actors because of the highly sensitive data that solicitors have at their disposal in order to provide legal services and advice. The majority of this information is highly confidential and there has been many high profile examples of law firms being breached for this reason.
To help your law firm check that its security infrastructure is capable of protecting client's data from future security breaches, we've designed a 4-step check list specifically for the legal sector below.
1. Management of Risk Technologies
The adoption of technologies that share legal data more efficiently and improve productivity, unfortunately also contribute to an expanded attack surface and can expose firms to greater cybersecurity risks. If any of the below policies apply to your law firm, the risk posed to you by cyber criminals is significantly higher than average and so your security tools need to account for this:
Remote Working - sensitive data can be accessed from unsecured locations increasing the number of endpoints for attackers to exploit.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) - Personal devices operate outside of your organisation’s IT parameters and so expose your firm to increased risk.
Cloud-Based Office Solutions - Many cloud based tools help us streamline document management and sharing - such as Microsoft 365, Google apps, and Dropbox - however they also open up security risks which need to be managed.
2. Defend Against Varied Threats
The nature of work undertaken by law firms elevates security risk and as a result you must be equipped to counter a wide range of cyberattacks through both security technologies and staff training. The types of attacks you need to be aware of include:
Phishing Attacks - Targeted social engineering emails aim to uncover credentials of high ranking people within your business in order to gain access to your IT network, bank accounts and other cloud platforms.
Insider Threats - It's important to be aware of the activity taking place on your systems by authorised users. These people understand the value of your data and there is a risk this could be used unethically or in a way that could pose problems and vulnerabilities to your business.
DDoS Attacks and Hacktivism - Law firms often represent well-known figures or businesses and in turn this attracts attackers who want to weaken their position or harm their reputation.
Ransomware Attacks - Employees are targeted and unknowingly download malware that encrypts data on to their machine, allowing attackers to demand a ransom for its return.
3. Identify Sensitive Data
Law firm computer systems represent a dense concentration of high-value confidential information. In particular there are certain areas of legal practice which are more exposed to cyber risk than others. These include for example those that work with corporate clients, trust and estate clients, as well as litigation teams. If your firm works with any of these type of client or deals with particularly sensitive data, it is worth putting in place measures to ensure your security is optimised and constantly monitored.
4. Uphold Industry Regulations
All businesses are bound by a number of industry-agnostic regulations to secure their sensitive data. However, law firms also have unique mandates and other pressures to ensure that data is always secure. Here are some factors which will affect your compliance and are therefore worth considering when reviewing your security capabilities:
Are you undertaking continuous monitoring and log analysis?
Do you have dedicated resource in place to detect, investigate and respond to threats as they occur?
When did you last review your cyber security technology to ensure it is reliable in combating new and future threats?
Does your security infrastructure comply with GDPR requirements, to ensure data is managed and protected lawfully?
The checklist we have provided above is in no way exhaustive, but highlights some of the most important factors that need to be considered when reviewing your security posture, and evaluating whether it is reliable in allowing you to monitor and remove the security risks posed by an ever-changing threat landscape.
How To Make Sure Every Box Is Ticked...
There are now affordable and effective cyber security solutions which not only take care of identifying and eliminating security threats across your entire IT infrastructure, as they happen - but they also offer the skills and resource to deploy and manage the technology on your behalf - ensuring that your law firm is fully protected and can eliminate the potential of future threats infiltrating your business.
As legal IT specialists, Netprotocol understands the specific security requirements of law firms and we recommend Arctic Wolf. Using a “single pane of glass,” the platform is compatible with all security vendor technologies and is monitored 24x7 by our team of cybersecurity experts to identify and remediate advanced, targeted and persistent threats, that are capable of by-passing the more traditional security tools you have in place.