Data security has always been a crucial component of doing business for organizations that offer services to the clientele. On the other hand, law firms and lawyers are consistently committed to classified data regarding their clientele as a matter of course, making appropriate data security all the more crucial. 

It implies that law firms, regardless of size, frequently store many files detailing their clients’ corporate secrets, financial statements, healthcare information, and other sensitive data on their networks and computers. This data is precious, making it appealing to cybercriminals that result in data breaches.

As per the ABA Legal Technology 2020 Survey Report, 29 per cent of law firms encountered a breach of security in 2020. Malicious hackers are well informed of how beneficial the information saved on a law firm’s system is, and on average, how sensitive lawyers are to security breaches. 

Moreover, another factor that makes document security extremely important for legal firms is the highly damaging cost of a data leak. Clients who claim that their data was leaked caused harm can file a lawsuit for legal negligence. These assertions can be pretty complex and expensive, both financially and in reputation.

This blog will discuss how law firms data security is usually compromised, how having regulations will enhance data security, and critical measures to protect your legal documents.

How Does a Law Firm’s Data Get Compromised?

Cyber attackers become more innovative and advanced every year, exploring new security vulnerabilities. Regrettably, law firms are frequently subjected to a variety of cyberattacks. Phishing, MITM, and malware are some examples.

Phishing

Since phishing attacks depend on human mistakes to open cyber threats, they are tough to plot and carry out. In such cases, the hacking group will spoof a legit entity that might access classified data and then request access. Such sorts of threats have a greater chance of success when employees work remotely, which many are doing right now due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Man in the Middle 

In a MITM attack, the hacker places themselves in between a discussion of two parties. In this scenario, generally, a rightful user and an application intended to intercept or change the data transferred. The user will believe the exchange is genuine, granting malicious hackers access to sensitive data.

Malware

Malware attacks use uniquely engineered spyware to compromise a law firm’s networks. The hacker needs the user to click on a spammy link or open an attachment to damage the firm’s infrastructure. This malware can steal information from your offline and online storage solutions and send it to lawbreakers.

How Having Regulations Enhance Data Security?

There is presently no federal regulation governing a law company’s cybersecurity responsibilities. Some clients like financial institutions or medical practitioners are handled, and law firms may take extra measures to protect their data. State boards govern the responsibilities and duties of a lawyer about client data. Violations of these rules may lead to a formal rebuke, disbarment or suspension.

The American Bar Association (ABA) released Formal Opinion 477R, which provides guidelines and standards for lawyers to analyze their data security and preserve client information. The perception is not legally enforceable, but it does guide how and when to accomplish a higher level of protection.

It is crucial to understand that many clients request that lawyers and law firms have a thorough security and privacy policy. Also, clients demand that law firms know how to reduce the chances of cyber risks and instantly respond to a cyber attack.

Tips to Improve Law Firm’s Data Security

NIST provides federally recognized data security protocols. These guidelines are not compulsory by law, but their execution offers adequate protection for most legal firms. Instituting these guidelines can significantly decrease your company’s risk of a malpractice suit while also improving overall cybersecurity. The NIST rules ensure law firms adopt the seven steps outlined below:

Identify and locate the systems containing the confidential information in question.

It incorporates all the files on your computers, portable hard drives, and the company’s cloud storage solutions.

Organize and classify confidential data.

Extracting highly classified and crucial data from other, less valuable documents will significantly simplify your cybersecurity effectiveness and make forensics and auditing more productive after a possible threat.

Restriction on access to sensitive information.

Access to sensitive client information files should be restricted to authorized personnel only. It is also critical to ensure that all these permissions have expiry dates so that closed and old cases are not released.

Encrypt data.

Data encryption is converting information into an unavailable form without using a unique code or key. It will make it increasingly challenging for malicious hackers to obtain confidential data at your law office.

Keep track of who has access to classified information.

Tracking user activity will not only help your employees maintain obligation for any occurrences, but it would also help your company explore when something is wrong and prevent breaches from occurring.

Training Employees.

The best defence against malicious hackers is awareness. Training lawyers and other legal departments about the threats associated with data infringements and cybersecurity is a critical step to ensure the reliability of your data.

Examine your information security procedures.

Evaluating all surveillance systems and processes at your company will provide you with a realistic picture of your risks and how to mitigate them.

Currently, the legal profession will need to invest more in data security. Malicious actors have advanced, and law firms emerge as valid and susceptible targets. If this situation continues, the security of your legal paperwork could become nearly as significant to your clientele as the quality of your legal services. Following the tips mentioned above, understanding cybersecurity and potential risks and investing in cybersecurity policy and executive security will be sufficient.