In the legal field, lawyers have many opportunities to go above and beyond on behalf of their clients. For some, this means putting in more hours examining precedents and existing case law or working hard to secure related specialists to offer expert testimony. However, too many small and medium-sized law firms forget about cybersecurity.
We’ve all seen the devastating effects that ignoring law firm cybersecurity can have on an organization’s operations and reputation. In 2020, law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks was hit with a ransomware attack, which ultimately exposed the private information of many clients including celebrities like Lady Gaga, LeBron James, and Madonna.
The importance of cybersecurity for small law firms is reinforced by guidance from the American Bar Association (ABA)— most notably, Rule 1.6 governing the lawyer-client relationship, which states that:
“A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b).”
Additionally, more recent guidance from the ABA insists that law firms must keep clients “reasonably informed” and explain matters “to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make an informed decision regarding the representation” in the event of an electronic data breach or cyberattack.
Law Firm Cybersecurity Concerns
There are many different cybersecurity concerns that small and medium-sized law firms deal with on a daily basis. Here are some of the most common challenges and concerns that law firms should be aware of when deciding how to set up their technology stack, remote work policies, and any other matters that relate to their online security.
3rd Parties and Partners
Law firms have operating relationships with a variety of third-party vendors and clients. From file sharing with vendor networks and client devices to connected service companies sharing the same physical premises, each of these relationships represents an opportunity for vulnerabilities that bad actors can exploit.
Possible Regulatory Changes
Even though law firms are not currently subject to existing regulatory and compliance requirements, associations in various industries and states are adding new ethics rules every day. Examples of these law firm cybersecurity guidelines can be found in the ABA Rules of Conduct and Formal Opinion 477.
Any type of cyberattack can have a significant impact on law firms. The consequences range from ongoing reputational damage to the financial expenses incurred while managing and recovering from the attack.
Ways to Increase Cybersecurity for Small Law Firms
Law firms looking to repel bad actors and protect their firms from the devastating effects of a cyberattack need to be thoughtful about the cybersecurity measures they put in place. Instead of relying on reactive approaches, the best law firm cybersecurity practices emphasize proactive measures.
Here are some of the best safety measures we often suggest for law firms looking to improve their cybersecurity outlook.
Use multiple sources of threat intelligence
The best cybersecurity protections of today do not operate in a vacuum. Instead of being based on an understanding of cyber threats that may be months or even years old, the best law firm cybersecurity tools use multiple current sources of threat intelligence. This ensures that your firewall and security system is aware of the threats operating today—not six months ago.
Strengthen edge defenses
With so many lawyers and law office staff choosing to work hybrid or remote, this can lead to more access points that bad actors can exploit. To prevent this, your IT team should focus on strengthening edge defenses to ensure that no device can provide a loophole that can be abused.
Outsource cybersecurity to a managed IT provider
Many law firms looking to augment scarce IT resources end up outsourcing their cybersecurity to a managed IT provider. This helps take the burden off your in-house team and offers assistance from experts who have proficiency in this area.
Ensure updates on all required software and apps are performed regularly
There’s no point in installing the latest cybersecurity software, firewalls, and apps if they aren’t updated regularly. These updates are vital to ensuring these security measures can perform at their best and have all the latest information they need to block current threats.
How Threater Helps Small to Medium Law Firms
- Threater provides powerful, day-one protection with over 30 million “out of the box” threat intelligence indicators. Taking multiple sources of threat intelligence and incorporating them into one easy-to-use tool helps provide a turnkey solution that is both automated and affordable.
- It easily integrates threat intelligence from any source. This includes leading commercial providers like DomainTools and Proofpoint, as well as a variety of government and industry databases that provide up-to-the-minute knowledge of the current threat landscape.
- It saves time by eliminating the need to manually manage threat feeds and external blocklists (manually uploading all these sources of threat intelligence is a full-time job). Automating this process helps take work off your IT team and ensures you get this critical knowledge as soon as it becomes available.
- It delivers an automated solution that is easy to deploy and manage. By taking this work off your team, you can help them refocus their efforts on the day-to-day tasks that help keep your law firm running smoothly.
- Threater complements and increases the ROI of existing firewall investments. The best cybersecurity approach is one that’s layered, using multiple protective tools to build a wall around your operations. Threater doesn’t replace any of the existing cybersecurity tools that you have in place. Instead, it complements them by increasing the ROI of existing firewall and cybersecurity software investments.
Adopt a More Proactive Cybersecurity Approach with Threater
Want to learn more about how Threater can be implemented to improve cybersecurity within your small or medium-sized law firm? Reach out to us today to try it for yourself.