It’s vital to keep your network and data safe from the rising threat of cybercrime. The best way to do this is with a layered approach to security. Your managed service provider should be up-to-date on this. Plua your employees need regular security awareness training and you need to monitor what your employees are doing – especially before they plan to leave your employment.
There are many concerns when it comes to your IT security.
Is It Safe For Law Firms To Use The Cloud?
Cloud computing can actually increase security. If data stored properly in the Cloud by your IT service provider, this is the most secure way to safeguard your confidential information. And with a comprehensive and integrated approach across devices and applications, cloud services will enhance data security across your firm.
Why Is Email Encryption So Important For Law Firms?
Emails that aren’t encrypted are vulnerable to attackers looking to confidential data. They are looking for Social Security Numbers, login credentials and bank account numbers to sell on the Dark Web. If they obtain your login credentials, they can take control of your email, documents or your firm’s network.
Unless your emails are encrypted, hackers also have access to the attachments you send in emails, including private case/matter information. Email encryption helps you verify the authenticity of a sender of a message. You and your employees will know if you’re being spoofed by a hacker who is trying to impersonate someone you know via a phishing email.
Do You Trust Your Employees?
Most employees create and store work products electronically and in virtual environments. They can be found on laptops and cell phones that may or may not belong to your law firm. The question is, do you trust your employees?
Four key areas have been identified as likely targets for loss of proprietary information:
- Research and development data
- Customer lists and related data
- Financial data
- Strategic plans and roadmaps
You must be proactive and ensure that information doesn’t go outside of your firm when employees leave or are terminated.
10 Ways That Attorneys Can Secure Their IT
Ask your IT service provider to use technology tools to help you secure your data. They can do so in the following ways:
- Use IT Controls That Limit Access. Your receptionist doesn’t need access to your clients’ case files. Ask your IT provider for tools like Microsoft Active Directory or other identity-management solutions to ensure only those you want to access data can do so.
- Password-Protect & Encrypt Data. Protect the data itself with hard-to-guess passwords and encryption that scrambles data unless the user has access to a decryption key.
- Implement Mobile Device Management. Ask your IT provider to track the use of computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones in your firm. Mobile Device Management can wipe data from mobile devices remotely if they are lost, stolen or if you believe an ex-employee has your data.
- Logging For Security. There are also products that can record everything that occurs on company devices with logging and reporting. These are legitimate software solutions. You can ask your IT professional to direct the software to monitor specific employees and give your managers the right to set policies to review collected data.
- No External Devices Allowed. If you have a server, it’s possible to prevent USB drives or external hard drives from being connected to your computers.
- Data Loss Protection. Data Loss Protection stops data from slipping through exit points such as email, instant messaging, thumb drives, file-sharing services, printers and malware.
- SOCaaS (Security Operation Center as a Service) A Security Operations Center-as-a-Service solution addresses all network security concerns. It delivers 24/7 threat monitoring, advanced analytics, threat intelligence, and human expertise in a combined incident investigation and response.
SOC-as-a-Service provides cybersecurity monitoring for all your critical devices. It uses advanced analytics and correlation to detect threats and generate automated notifications 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Then professional security analysts review logging reports for oversight and compliance.
- Implement Backup and Virtualization Systems. Having a way to safely store digital files, emails and more is critical to prevent both accidental and purposeful deletions. Make sure you have backups of data that are not accessible to those leaving, just in case they decide to delete your files in anger. Ask your IT provider to set up a virtual image-based copy of your IT assets that include all of the applications you use so you can access them wherever you are.
- Develop IT Security Policies. Ask your IT service company to help you outline the rules for downloading or removing proprietary information from your practice. These should also include the use of email, instant messaging and social media to ensure data isn’t transferred in this way. All rules should cover employees’ devices while at work.
Make sure your employees all sign an agreement that affirms their understanding of these rules and the importance of keeping your law practice’s data confidential. Your partners and other attorneys should be provided separate confidentiality and non-compete agreements. Partner and attorney separations should be worked out in advance.
And, make sure to have proper agreements in place that allow you to seek damages if you discover that data or paper files were taken without authorization. You may not discover until months later that a former partner took off with your digital information.
- Use Technology To Monitor Employees Who Are Planning To Leave Your Practice. Your IT provider can implement technology that can record everything a particular employee does including uploading data, downloading data and any other activity you deem suspicious.
When employees leave, terminate all access to your systems immediately. The key is to move fast to cut off departing employees’ access to your firm’s network, applications, email accounts and cloud storage. Be sure to change passwords on any social media accounts for your business they may have used. Your IT service company can manage this for you.
Trust But Protect
Some say that IT security ultimately comes down to trust. But as an attorney, you know that this saying doesn’t ring true. And with technology and the advice of your IT service provider, there’s no need to just hope that your confidential data stays that way.
For more information on keeping your law firm’s data secure, contact the IT security experts at Cyber Solutions in Anderson, South Carolina. We’ll assess your IT security and implement a plan to keep your data safe.