Law firms are attractive targets for cybercriminals who seek to exploit the sensitive and valuable information they handle, such as trade secrets, intellectual property, personal data, and privileged communications. A data breach can have serious consequences for a law firm, including reputational damage, legal liability, regulatory sanctions, and loss of clients' trust.

Therefore, it is essential for law firms to implement effective cybersecurity measures to protect their data and systems from unauthorized access, theft, or destruction. Here are ten cybersecurity best practices that law firms should follow:

  1. Have a cybersecurity strategy and communicate it clearly
    A cybersecurity strategy outlines the security policies and procedures needed to protect your firm against threats. The strategy should be aligned with the firm's business objectives and legal obligations. It should also include a detailed plan if a breach occurs at your firm. The strategy should be communicated clearly to all staff members and stakeholders and reviewed regularly to ensure its effectiveness.
  2. Use strong passwords (and a password manager)
    Passwords are one of the most common ways to authenticate users and access systems. However, weak passwords can be easily guessed or cracked by cybercriminals using brute force or dictionary attacks. Therefore, it is important to use strong passwords that are long (at least 12 characters), complex (mixing uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols), unique (not reused across different accounts), and unpredictable (not based on personal or common information). A password manager can help generate and store strong passwords securely.
  3. Install a Managed Firewall.
    A firewall is a device or software that monitors and filters incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predefined rules. It can help prevent unauthorized access to the firm's network or devices by blocking malicious traffic or requests.
  4. Use Next Generation Antivirus Software.
    Next Generation Antivirus is a program that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to scan files and systems for viruses or other malware that can harm or compromise them. It can help detect and remove malware before it causes damage or spreads further across your network.
  5. Watch out for phishing emails
    Phishing emails are fraudulent messages that attempt to trick recipients into clicking on malicious links or attachments or providing sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers. They often impersonate legitimate entities such as banks, clients, or colleagues using spoofed email addresses or logos. They may also create a sense of urgency or curiosity by claiming there is an urgent issue or an important document to view.To avoid falling victim to phishing emails:

    - Do not open attachments or click on links from unknown senders
    - Verify the sender's identity by checking their email address carefully
    - Look for spelling errors or grammatical mistakes in the message
    - Hover over links before clicking them to see where they lead
    - Do not provide any personal or financial information via email
    - Report any suspicious emails to your IT department or Managed Service Provider (MSP)

    Phishing emails are not the only way cybercriminals can trick users into compromising their security. Other types of malicious emails include:

    - Spam: Unsolicited messages that may contain malware, advertisements, scams, or other unwanted content.
    - Spoofing: Emails that appear to come from someone else by altering the sender's name, email address, or domain name.
    - Spear phishing: Targeted phishing emails that use personalized information about the recipient, such as their name, job title, or interests, to make them more convincing.
    - Whaling: A form of spear phishing that targets high-level executives, such as partners, managers, or directors, with messages that appear to come from other senior staff members, clients, or authorities.

  6. Look out for other suspicious popups 

    In addition to malicious emails, users should also beware of popups: small windows that appear on web browsers when visiting certain websites. Popups may contain malware, advertisements, scams, or fake alerts. To avoid falling victim to popups:- Do not click on any buttons or links in popups
    - Close popups using the "X" button in the corner
    - Use an ad blocker software to prevent popups from appearing
    - Update your browser settings to block popups

  1. Use a VPN. A VPN (virtual private network) is a service that creates an encrypted connection between your device and a remote server. It can help protect your online privacy and security by hiding your IP address and location and encrypting your data. VPNs can be especially useful when using public Wi-Fi networks, such as those in hotels, cafes, or airports
  2. Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Multi-Factor Authentication is a crucial component in the prevention of a cyber-attack. MFA ensures that you are the only person permitted to access your device. To login to your accounts, you must provide a temporary code which is sent to a secondary device. This prevents Hackers from gaining access without your phone or secondary device.
  3. Implement Data Backup and Disaster Recovery. Data backup and disaster recovery ensures there is a place to store and retrieve your files and data in case of a cyber-attack. It’s crucial to not only backup your data but ensure it can be fully retrieved in the case of an attack. A successful recovery allows immediate access to critical systems – email, client data, billing, financial accounting, etc. Backup must be offline, encrypted, and capable of secure restoration.
  4. Purchase Cyber Insurance. Cyber insurance provides financial coverage to help firms recover from data breaches, ransomware, or other malicious attacks that can result in financial or reputational damage. Cyber insurance premiums can range from $500 to $10,000 per year for small to medium-sized firms. Cyber insurance is not a one-size-fits-all decision. Consider your firm’s specific needs and risks when comparing different policies and providers.

The implementation of these practices is key to warding off potential hackers and protecting your data. The individuals working at your firm play a significant role in your firm's security. Strong cybersecurity is crucial but doesn't prevent your team from clicking bad links or opening malware-infested documents. We are happy to assist you with implementing these strategies or training your team.

If you’re wondering how secure your firm is today, we’ll run a free cybersecurity assessment of your network. Visit this link or call us today to schedule 401-537-1170.