Cybersecurity is a growing concern for most modern businesses, with 2016 having seen a series of very high profile incidents which show just how much power hackers can have if not properly protected against.
This should be especially concerning for industries, such as the legal profession, where firms are regularly handling sensitive data on behalf of clients. Cybersecurity for UK lawyers needs to be a growing priority for many reasons, but primarily because if law firms cannot protect their clients’ data, it can damage their reputation and client confidence, having a direct impact on their business.
It is important, therefore, that lawyers and others working in the legal professional have at least a basic understanding of cybersecurity. This means they can help identify potential security issues and take the appropriate action to keep their businesses safe.
Protect your passwords
Passwords are, of course, one of the most commonly used security measures for a whole range of online applications. But just how secure are the passwords you use to protect your company’s data and resources?
Research shows that a large percentage of people use very easy to guess passwords online. These include such obvious choices as “123456”, “qwerty” and, perhaps most worrying of all, “password”. There are various guides online to creating a robust password but in general it is a good idea to use a random mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters such as “! “and “%”.
If you are worried about remembering more complicated passwords, there are a number of different password managers available which can securely remember them for you.
There are also various tools available online to test the strength of your password. Although it is not recommended to type your actual password into this kind of tool, they can give you an indication of how secure passwords like yours are.
Keep data safe and secure
Lawyers handle sensitive data all the time and it is absolutely essential that this information is not compromised in anyway. There are a range of different measures you can put in place to keep your company’s data secure but three of the most important considerations are correctly identifying which data is sensitive, using appropriate encryption and securely storing the data.
All staff should be trained to know which company and client information needs to be kept secret and there should be appropriate measures in place to make sure this data is correctly identified and handled.
Once sensitive data has been identified, it has to be protected. Choosing the right means of encryption will make your data harder to access for cyber attackers and can mean that even if they do manage to steal data, they can’t read it without breaking the encryption.
Perhaps most importantly, you have to make sure the data is kept somewhere secure. This may be on a private server on your premises, but increasingly companies are storing important data on the cloud. This means keeping your data remotely on a server at a data centre or at your IT company’s premises if you are outsourcing your IT.
When implemented correctly, cloud storage can make your data safer, especially if the host server is being actively monitored and protected by skilled IT security professionals. This means your data is under constant surveillance by people trained to spot cyber attacks, meaning you are much less likely to become a victim of data theft.
Email is now a ubiquitous part of everyday business activity, but how secure is it? Not very, in many cases, with all kinds of threats such as phishing meaning that email cannot be relied upon to be secure.
Even if you are confident your email is secure, can you be sure that your clients’ emails are? Or those of colleagues from other law firms or partner businesses?
Ultimately we all have to use email, but it is a good idea to be conscious of exactly what potentially sensitive data you include in emails and what might be better said over the phone, in person or using other alternative methods of communication.
Get the right training
Law firms should have robust standards and practices in place for their employees to make sure everyone is doing their part to keep the business and its clients safe. These standards and practices should be developed in conjunction with experienced IT security professionals to make sure they are appropriate and all staff members should get appropriate training in these security measures.
It is also worth looking at the Law Society’s free course on Cyber Security for Legal and Accountancy Professionals developed in conjunction with the UK government.
Cybersecurity For UK Lawyers – Keeping your law firm safe with industry leading IT security
Although having a basic grasp of online security issues is essential for modern lawyers, keeping up with all the latest threats and knowing how to deal with them is a full time job. Outsourcing your IT security offers a cost-effective way to get highly trained cyber security experts in place to make sure your business is kept safe at all times.
City Business Solutions specialise in cybersecurity for UK lawyers. That means we know exactly what you need to protect your business thanks to our years of experience dealing with the unique requirements of IT security for the legal profession.
To find out more about how City Business Solutions can help keep your law firm safe and secure from cybersecurity threats, please get in touch.