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Is your law firm ready to face the next cyberattack?

Cybersecurity, the word needs no introduction, is proven to be the most in-demand domain of IT. Cybersecurity safeguards our network and devices from the risk of a malicious cyberattack. Our adoption of technology has increased over the years, and now, more than ever, we need to understand the importance of cybersecurity.

By ensuring confidentiality, integrity, availability of data & systems, cybersecurity safeguards our computers, servers, mobile devices, networks, electronic systems and more and, its scope isn’t just limited to professional, but ordinary users as well.

With internet becoming an integral part of our life, cybersecurity has also become as important and more of a critical infrastructure. Cyberattacks can have serious consequences, including losing sensitive personal and financial information, disruption of essential services, and damage to organization’s reputation and bottom line. Today, we store our most crucial information, such as our bank account password, legal documents, and other financial information and what not, on our devices, making it a prime target for cybercriminals. Cybersecurity measures such as encryption and secure authentication can help prevent these attacks.

If we particularly consider the legal sector, the concern in regard with cybersecurity is high. With the amount of case data and other sensitive information they keep, law firms are ripe for a cybersecurity attack. The nature of cases exacerbates the risk of data privacy breaches with the potential to erode credibility and attract regulatory scrutiny. This sensitive information is valuable to cyber criminals who use access to this information in exchange for money. As a result of this, firms would rather pay this amount, than let their organization’s reputation come under the scrutiny of the public. With this, we reach our biggest question, where are these legal organizations most vulnerable?

Firstly, an organization is made up of its employees, and an organization only prospers if all its employees have an utter understanding of the firm’s objectives and goals. In a similar manner, if the employees are aware of the cybersecurity, only then they can avoid it. It is important for every organization, no matter big or small, to have a robust awareness training program for staff on how to stay secure. Especially now, that remote working has become a new normal, it is important for company and its employees to invest religiously in cybersecurity.

Secondly, there are times when a firm is completely educated about the dos and don’ts in order to secure itself from a cyberattack, but still they are held under its scrutiny. Well, how does this occur? The answer is simple, overlooking supplier risks. Over the past years, especially after the advent of COVID-19, many companies have strengthened their security measures, but still have overlooked a critical vulnerability presented by third- and fourth-party litigation support partners. These litigation support partners often consist of organizations that provide court reporting, record retrieval, interpreting and translations, trial consulting services and more. One can find such partnerships in enterprises who rely on a panel firm or their primary legal vendor to make usage decisions further down the supply chain. According to a survey conducted to find what parameters firms look for while vetting litigation support providers, it was found that firms usually opt for providers having an efficient and effective data privacy policy. The list was followed by HIPAA compliance with an audit, end-to-end encryption of files, cyber liability insurance and finally providers offering only disaster recovery plans were preferred last.

According to a survey conducted by JD Supra, a platform which provides legal information on various topics, business or personal, it was held that legal firms will have to risk the exposure to cyberattacks. In their survey, more than two-thirds of respondents, 69%, were of the belief that their firm is adequately protected against cyber security risks. But as we mentioned above, even the best prepared can fall under this scrutiny, hence firms should ask themselves, is there are anything more we can do to protect our firm and our client’s valuable data. Also, the survey held that only a third, 34% of organizations surveyed list a robust cybersecurity posture as a top tech priority. Again only 42% of enterprises prioritized cybersecurity. Finally, inside the results, 31% of respondents reported that their firm had been a target to a cyberattack in 2022.

The data says it all. We need to work more to protect our data and other information. But what more can firms do to safeguard their data? While conducting a thorough risk analysis of all vendors is necessary, firms also need to focus on educating their employees about the dos and don’ts of when dealing with high amount of sensitive data. Today, client relationships are the base of performing business, and if firms will not be able to hold account of their client’s data in a secure way, not only it will tamper their current relationship but also pose threat to their presence in the market. Cybersecurity threats and events have risen post-pandemic; therefore firms need to carefully acknowledge who they partner with, a partnership with a vulnerable legal service provider will not only put their carefully executed cybersecurity strategy at risk, but also put their client data in the wrong hands.




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