Lawyers are always privy to the most confidential information about their clients. It is a part of an attorney’s job to ensure that this data is kept safe at all costs. However, as the legal industry has embraced technological advancements, online data breaches targeting lawyers are on a steady rise.
According to a 2019 survey, 26% of respondents revealed that their firms experienced a security breach. Reportedly, these security incidents had severe consequences – loss of billable hours – 35%, consulting fees for management – 37%, destruction of files – 15%, and so on.
This should not happen to you.
In this article, we will explore the common risks that your law firm might be exposed to. We will also discuss various ways through which you can keep your firm’s and client’s data safe and secure.
Common Risks That Expose You To Cyber Criminals
This is a type of malicious software, which runs on your computer to block your access to your network and data until a sum of money is paid.
Developers of reputed software roll-out updates, patches, and new releases from time to time. This is done in an attempt to ward off security threats. If these updates are not installed regularly, the risk of a breach is increased manifold.
All client data is confidential and it must be encrypted. Any data that is left unencrypted is at potential risk for unauthorized access.
If you are working remotely, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, then the remote network used by you to connect to your secure office network could prove to be a gateway for cybercriminals.
Phishing has been one of the most commonly used techniques by the perpetrators; using fake emails and virus-laden email attachments to hack your computer or network.
Time and again, it has been found that the breaches are attributable to human fault, including a lack of adherence to security guidelines or lack of awareness.
How To Keep Confidential Data Safe And Secure Online?
Here are 5 practical steps which you can inculcate in your regular practice to protect yourself from these cyber-threats:
Use a VPN
Whenever you use public Wi-Fi networks, you must rely on a strong set of protocols that should be observed to prevent unauthorized access to your data. This can be done by using secure virtual private networks or VPNs that work in a way to ensure that the data interchanged on this private network is hidden to any external agency.
The data exchanged while using a secure VPN is protected by using data encryption technology and additionally, your identity is also hidden so that privacy is maintained.
Protect Your Password
Password protecting your laptop and other devices is a bare minimum requirement to prevent data security breaches. Secure password access to work documents and the network is a basic step that must be taken. Additional measures like a two-step verification process and periodic password changes enhance the security measures against potential breaches.
Move to Cloud
Using cloud storage instead of local storage provides better security due to the availability of continuously upgraded technology with the service providers. However, proper measures must be taken while selecting the service provider including client consent and data security measures undertaken by the service provider.
Stick to IT Protocols
Follow basic IT protocols like installation of regular software updates, security patches and guidelines like not leaving the devices unlocked and unattended, not using personal devices to access sensitive data or not open any suspicious emails.
Raise and spread awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to follow the best practices.
To conclude, data security has emerged to be a key deciding factor that determines the success of a law firm. Clients should ensure that their data is in safe hands, and, as an attorney, it is your ethical and legal duty to ensure topmost cybersecurity measures.