How Secure Is Your Law Firm's Data and System?
Jan 04, 2020 01:26 PM EST
Lawyers have an ethical obligation to protect client information. Make sure your law firms' cybersecurity plan measures up to others with these tips.
Securing Your Law Firm's Data with the Best Cybersecurity Efforts
Even though cybersecurity should be one of the biggest concerns of every contractor, business owner, and professional, many legal firms fail to implement cybersecurity safeguards to protect their data and their clients. As a legal professional, you have a responsibility to stay ethical and keep the privacy of your clients protected.
According to IT service professional Keith Marchiano with Kyocera Intelligence in Baltimore, MD, the approaches legal firms take to protecting their data can vary greatly, and not every one of them is in a safe place. To ensure your firm's data and technical systems are rightfully protected, there are a few steps that must be taken.
Make sure all devices in your law firm are protected by a strong password.
At least 90 percent of lawyers have implemented a password on their laptops. You may have implemented strong passwords on primary computer systems, but have you considered every other connected device on the network? Just as thieves and hackers can break into a computer, they can do the same to other devices like printers, mobile devices, and smart devices that are connected to your law firm's network.
One of the simplest ways you can make sure your firm is rightfully protected is to use strong passwords on every device, even if you have to utilize a password management program to remember each one. Remember, strong passwords:
Are a mix of numbers, letters, and special characters if permitted
Are at least 12 characters long; the more the better
Includes both upper and lower-case letters
Is not made up of basic dictionary words or combinations of dictionary words
Never use the same password across all devices, and avoid obvious choices like your birthday, address, or phone number.
Consider transitioning client data to a secure cloud platform.
A high percentage of law firms take advantage of cloud servers to avoid having to store client data on-site. This is an excellent way to ensure data is secure as long as you are utilizing the services of a trusted cloud services provider. These companies tend to have the latest security measures in place because they are responsible for the data of so many clients.
Make sure your hardware is physically secure in your office.
If you do keep data stored only on-site at the legal firm in data towers, physical security is just as important as cybersecurity. It is not unheard-of for hardware to be stolen or compromised, which leads to the exposure of client data. To keep your on-site data secure, you should:
Keep data towers in a secured room that is not a high-traffic area
Utilize proper surveillance inside your law firm
Only allow access to pertinent individuals who work at the law firm
Roughly 18 percent of law firms have surveillance and only 36 percent have an actual locked server room. Both of these are extremely important for the physical security of your data servers.
Reach out to security experts for an in-depth assessment.
Last but definitely not least, it is always a good idea to reach out to an IT managed services provider for an in-depth evaluation of your law firm's security. You may believe you have everything secure and perfectly safe, but there is no comparison to an assessment by a professional who deals with cybersecurity on a daily basis. A consultation is a good step toward making sure your law firm's cybersecurity plan measures up.