Data breaches within any type of organisation range from being simply an annoyance to the catastrophic kind that threaten a company’s reputation and finances. In the legal industry, there are also compliance regulations to satisfy and a data breach in the IT systems of Chambers can cost a penalty of up to £500,000.
Most businesses have some sort of security measures in place to safeguard against a data breach. However, as cyber threats evolve and malware becomes ever more sophisticated on a daily basis, many companies who don’t keep up with the latest security trends are leaving themselves exposed.
Even large companies such as Facebook, Gmail and Twitter have fallen victim to cyberattacks in the past.
So what can companies do to survive a data breach?
The best way to survive a data breach is to avoid being attacked in the first place. This may be easier said than done, but the World Economic Forum points out that typical cyber defences in the modern landscape are reactionary. Solutions are usually implemented as a response to some sort of threat having already being carried out. Certainly in the case of Chambers, it is vital that the protection of client data is seen as a mission critical priority and that preventative measures are put into place before hackers strike.
In the case of a data breach, it is possible that the doors to your systems are still wide open. Although an attack has been identified, potentially the worst is still to come. Therefore it is imperative that you act immediately to ensure that hackers are not able to obtain any more of your sensitive data. All passwords should be changed to highly complex combinations and security privileges should be revoked until greater clarification has been gained as to the extent of the breach.
Identify The Root Of The Issue
In the event that your Chambers systems have been attacked, the best thing to do is to assign an incident response team to investigate the root of the issue. Their job will be to find out what has occurred, from where the data breach was carried out and who was responsible. You may wish to assign this task to a specialist IT company to give you some clarity from an outside perspective.
Engineers will be able to use forensic software to capture all traffic, store all data packets on the network, comb through archived materials looking for anomalies and report their findings back to you.
At this point you should be able to identify the source of the breach. It may well be nothing more than a negligent internal employee who has accidentally sent out some sensitive data and requires disciplinary procedures or improved training. Alternatively it could be an employee who has executed some code for malicious reasons. There is also a significant possibility that the threat may have originated from outside of Chambers.
Move To A Proactive Security Model
It is not enough in today’s cyber security landscape to just install a firewall and forget about it. Modifications in malware allow viruses to make their way into your internal Chambers system endpoints. Therefore it is important to have sophisticated endpoint detection and response tools in place to deal with this type of threat. Chambers should also utilise a multi-layer security solution including patching and privilege management which will limit access to attackers. However, it is important that you don’t lock your systems down to the point at which it affects worker productivity within your Chambers operations.
A law firm has legal responsibilities to notify certain regulatory bodies in the case of a data breach. Due to the potential devastating effect on your clients, it is imperative that your own bank, the police, your professional indemnity insurer and the SRA are informed immediately. They will be able to give you guidance on how to proceed.
You will also need to inform your clients of the possibility of a data breach within Chambers. Use internal or external PR teams to help you communicate your message to the public. You should try to be as honest as possible. Although your clients are likely to care a little about why the breach occurred, they will be much more interested in what the action plan is to deal with it. Ensure that you know how your organisation is planning to cope in the aftermath of the breach and what you are able to offer all affected parties.
If you have concerns about the security of your own Chambers IT systems, then we are able to conduct a security review for your organisation. We can identify weaknesses in your infrastructure and advise on the latest industry trends to keep your legal systems protected and compliant with standards set by the Bar Council, Attorney General and Information Commissioner’s Office. Want to know more? Get in touch today.