The interconnectivity of today’s world is making technology more complex than ever. Breaches in security are more prevalent because we’re not only connected to a network, but that network connects back to us. For law firms, preventing breaches in their networks and legal software applications is paramount due to all the confidential data they hold.
However, according to a survey done by the IT company Logicforce, less than half the participating law firms had any kind of cyber security policy or backup plan in place. More clients are demanding IT systems audits before choosing a law firm as well – if they’re handing over private information, they want to make sure it’s safe.
Here are five basic methods to protect your firm’s sensitive information without doing a complete overhaul of your IT security system.
Signing in with a username and password is basic security that we’re all familiar with, but continuously coming up with new ones can be a nuisance. However, using the same password for all your important accounts can be dangerous.
For example, if you use the same password for your computer login, your case management software and your email account, the risk of a hack into one system can mean a hack into all of them since the password is repeated. What generally makes a good password is that it’s unique, long, and contains letters, numbers and symbols.
Related article: We’ve compiled tips on how to create strong, secure passwords you won’t forget.
The requirement of a password can be secure; the requirement for multiple factors to authenticate “entry” is even more secure. A good example is automated banking. In order to access your account, you’re required to present your bank card as well as your password – one is useless without the other. To go even further, some situations require an inherence factor, or biometrics. Something to prove that you are really you, be it a retinal, facial or fingerprint scan. These can be seen with some mobile banking apps on the iPhone X and Samsung 8.
An example of what law firms can do is implement multi-factor authentication software. Staff members log in with a username and password, after which they get a text with another code to enter. This easily verifies their identity, as a hacker wouldn’t have access to the person’s phone.
Educating employees about threats and malware is critical. A law firm’s IT department can put together a seminar to teach employees how to recognize potentially harmful emails. If they know how to identify a phishing attack, the chance of a virus attacking the system is lessened. Some common factors in these malicious emails are spelling mistakes, generic greetings and unusual links. These are usually signs that the email is not from a trusted source. Updating employees about current attacks in the cyberworld should be done regularly.
Engage Outside IT for Risk Assessments
A great option is to hire a third-party IT company to occasionally perform risk assessments. In short, their job is to try and hack your system.
This is a useful way of finding any gaps or vulnerabilities in your network through a trusted source. It then provides your firm with the opportunity to fix these issues before real hackers have the chance to break into your system.
Breach Response Plan
Finally, be prepared. It’s important to come up with a response plan before any security breach occurs because once there’s a breach, it’s often too late to fix the damage. You could even be locked out of all your legal software applications.
Preparing for the worst-case scenario allows everyone at the firm to know exactly what to do in case there’s a problem. If your firm doesn’t have its own IT department/manager, it’s a good idea to assign a senior-level employee as the go-to person for handling all IT security procedures.
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