As a lawyer, you are always dealing with sensitive information, it’s part of your job. Unfortunately, with technology always changing, being extra cautious became a duty for most of us. While there are some myths about cyber security still going around out there, it is true that sometimes we are more exposed than we think.
In order to protect you and your business, we decided to share with you today 5 real cyber security threats and their solutions for this upcoming year. After all, you can never be too cautious. Well, you, more than anyone, knows that!
Threat #1: Not having anti-virus
software and firewalls
Let’s start with the basics. This is the number one cyber security threat for anyone really, not just lawyers. Anti-viruses and firewalls are crucial to protect your information. Once you install them, make sure to keep them updated at all times. It may sound a bit of a hassle but it’s really not that tough. The software itself will automatically let you know when it’s time to update it. Once you see it, it only takes a few clicks and you’re done.
Keep in mind that you still need to have good security habits. Having good, protective software is definitely a must, but they aren’t always guaranteed to protect you from an attack. Combining these two technologies with good security habits is the best way to reduce risk.
You’re probably already practicing these habits but in case you’re not sure of what they look like, here are a few examples:
Never save a doc with your passwords. (Nowadays software like Google Chrome can save them for you in a safe way).
Always use multi-factor authentication
Backup your data regularly (once a week is recommended but if possible, once a day)
Raise awareness among employees
Disable Bluetooth when you don’t need it
Avoid opening suspicious emails
Avoid using public networks
Use HTTPS on your website
Thread # 2: Not updating the apps you use daily
Lawyers have to take this step seriously because the apps you use are flooded with personal data, private documents… well, we don’t have to tell you what type of information you deal with on a daily basis. Legal software vendors know this very well, so if they came up with a new version, it’s likely for a reason.
They are constantly reviewing feedback from their users and when they release updates, it’s typically after being aware of issues users were facing. Those issues could have something to do with vulnerabilities, so installing updates as soon as they’re released is a good way to avoid any cybersecurity threat. If you can, set the option to automatically update them, that way you won’t even have to worry about it. Lawyers tend to have a thousand things on their plate, so automizing anything you can is always a good idea.
Thread #3: Not Establishing Role-Based
Role-based access control is like having a key card in a corporate building. It will only let you open the doors you’re supposed to open, and will keep shut those from rooms you’re not supposed to be in. Same thing happens with information. You may want to keep certain information available to only a small portion of your staff. The employees that will actually need that info and leave out the people that could misuse it.
This will also limit the ability of attackers to reach files or parts of the system they shouldn’t access. Role-based access controls can also make it easier to track network suspicious activities during an audit. Therefore, it’s a good idea to define the permissions of each employee based on their job needs to perform their duties.
Threat #4: Believing You’re Not a Strong Target
We often believe that hackers and attackers are only after giant corporations or billionaires. The truth is, anyone can become a victim of identity theft. These people are always looking for the biggest reward, for the least amount of effort. They will target databases that store information about many people. And who has large databases? You guessed it, lawyers. So assuming you are safe because maybe you own a small firm for now, is probably not sensible. Practice the safety measures we mentioned above. Attacks can happen at anytime.
Thread #5: Not Educating Your Staff
Your employees have an essential role to play in your firm’s security. It is crucial to educate your staff with respect to cyber threats and data leakage to ensure they can do their job, as well as help to keep the firm safe. Simple things like not knowing when it is important to use a strong password can put your data in risk. So taking the time to touch on this topic in their basic training can make the difference when protecting your firm from potential cyber-attacks. Make sure that they understand their role and any relevant policies and procedures
Better safe than sorry!
Attempts to steal confidential data and money from any business are very real threats that happen all the time. While it is true that we can never guarantee to be 100% safe from those dangers, there are many security actions that you and your staff can implement. Always keep your eyes and ears open to suspicious behavior. We hope that the tips we gave you help your firm be a more secure business.