It is in the nature of law firms to handle sensitive data. Every day, law firms handle and store case information, clients’ contact and personal details, as well as courthouses, notaries, and any other legal actors involved in document exchange and case communication.
Documents that relate to cases hold highly sensitive and confidential data that law firms have to protect, as even accidental exposure of private data could have serious consequences. Those consequences can cause great financial and reputational damage to any firm involved; in fact, the average cost of a data breach at a law firm is set at an all-time high of $7.01 million.
But that doesn’t mean law firms are defenseless against data breaches. Here’s what your law firm needs to know about the risks facing your business and what you can do to better protect your clients’ data:
What’s the Risk of Poor IT Support for Law Firms?
To understand the role of data security, it’s crucial to look at the current cybersecurity situation for law firms. In 2018, over 60% of law firms had been aware of a cyber breach in their data or network. Unfortunately, it is a trend that shows no sign of slowing down, which means that law firms are becoming an increasingly popular target for hackers.
Because they store a lot of sensitive data, law firms attract cybercriminals. Unfortunately, hackers work relentlessly to identify vulnerabilities and weak spots in your IT infrastructure. They can then target these to gain access to your clients’ data, especially if your systems aren’t being properly managed and do not have adequate cybersecurity protection.
In fact, several firms have already suffered serious consequences for neglecting cybersecurity in their firm. One of the latest IT disruptions in the legal sector has affected the law offices of DLA Piper in Washington, D.C., in 2017. The office network became infected with NotPetya malware, which forced global operations to shut down, causing not only business disruption but also losing millions in recovery costs.
As a result of its flat network structure, DLA Piper wasn’t prepared to stop malware spread across multiple locations. The lack of adequate IT support has cost the law firm the trust of its clients, its reputation, and dramatic operational disruption.
What this worst case scenario does is highlight the importance of data security and why you need strategic IT support for law firms.
Keeping your Data Safe with IT Support for Law Firms
Standard security software solutions, such as the ones used by DLA Piper, don’t offer enough protection for modern law firms. You need advanced IT services for law firms to recognize new cybersecurity threats as they appear.
Working with experts who are experienced with the cybersecurity challenges faced by law businesses can protect your clients’ data effectively. Law firms require a protective approach to security to survive in a digital environment where cybercrimes are evolving rapidly.
Some of the cybersecurity precautions you may want to implement to protect your law firm include the following:
- 24/7 system monitoring to immediately identify and patch security vulnerabilities.
- Spyware solutions and spam filtering to keep your communication with clients secure.
- Specialized hardware and software procurement to prevent network issues and risk.
- Reliable and remote backups to avoid the consequences of a localized IT disaster or outage.
- Phishing and malware training for your staff to prevent hackers exploiting human weaknesses.
Keeping your clients’ data protected should always be a first priority. You can’t afford to put this sensitive data at risk. Getting comprehensive IT support and cybersecurity is imperative for any law firm who wants to ensure they are protected against increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks.