Perimeter security is the first point of defence in any computer network. Its purpose is to ensure that only those who are authorised can access an organisation’s computer network. Within the perimeter, you must then have secondary lines of defence which protect specific items, documents and programmes.
Strong cybersecurity relies on an effective perimeter security system. A number of well-known law firms in the U.S. have come under attack over the past few years from cyber criminals, with devastating effects. The reasons for focusing an attack on law firms are many. However, one of the primary reasons is that stealing confidential information from law firms can potentially earn a hacker thousands of pounds. As a result, there is an ever increasing demand for updated security systems to be put in place, and for further lines of defence to be implicated for data protection purposes.
By beginning with updating your perimeter security, your legal chambers can be well on its way to ensuring all private data of clients and employees is kept safely under lock and key. The new General Data Protection Regulations which are coming into force in May 2018 will further bolster the need for all types of organisations to tighten their data security.
Defining Perimeter Security
The ‘perimeter’ of a network is the boundary between what is public and what is privately owned by an organisation. Perimeter security, therefore, protects the information contained within a network from public or malicious intrusion. Perimeter security technology can include firewalls, routers, intrusion detection or intrusion prevention systems.
Relying On Perimeter Security – The Drawbacks
Sadly, relying on perimeter security alone is not sufficient. Previous perimeter defences have included IT security devices such as firewalls, but as hackers are always evolving and adapting their techniques, these can soon become vulnerable. In some ways, it is the employees themselves that act as the ultimate perimeter defence, and because of this, there is always a chance of error. This is what hackers look for and rely on.
Although many organisations rely on their perimeter security to ensure unauthorised access does not take place, statistics indicate that this does not always work. It is absolutely imperative that all network security consists of layers, giving extra barriers against hackers and the biggest cybersecurity threat in any organisation – human error.
Developing Your Perimeter Security
They key to an effective perimeter defence is developing something that works for your law firm specifically. It must be strong, but it must also be adaptable, able to grow and change according to your firm’s needs. Types of perimeter security available include firewalls, routers, web filters, intrusion detection systems (IDSs) and intrusion prevention systems (IPSs).
All of these can be used in conjunction with each other. Firewalls, for instance, allow or deny traffic according to certain criteria, while Intrusion Detection Systems monitor network traffic for malicious activity or policy violations. Access is then restricted to users who can provide a username and password, for example. With an IDS in place, users are only able to access items deemed suitable, and those considered unsuitable are blocked.
Within your perimeter you must then have complimentary defences, working like the inner walls of a castle. All defences are fallible, so there must always be a backup plan in place.
Adding The Inner Defences
With the development of new technologies in data sharing and the use of numerous portable devices, the idea of a ‘perimeter’ can be difficult to determine. The network can be stretched to include all of the computers within a law firm’s building, but can also include an array of smartphones, laptops, and iPads, to name but a few. It is because of this that network security needs to be carefully maintained and adapted, but it also needs to be complimented by security systems within the network. There are a number of techniques that can be used to add to your data security.
One effective way of adding to data security within the perimeter is to allow access to data on a need-to-know basis. Documents can be encrypted or protected to allow access only to employees who need it. Encryption can be used in many instances to ensure any specific document can be seen only by authorised users, and a good encryption service should be standard when storing any information. Many cloud service providers, for example, will include this as a basic part of their cybersecurity procedure.
Other useful technology includes the production of an audit trail which tracks access amongst users and keeps a record of movement and changes. In the event of a data breach, law firms are then able to know what has been compromised and where in the process the breach has occurred.
Making Sense Of Perimeter Security
Implementing an effective perimeter security system can be complex, even more so when considering the internal security systems that should be in place within the network. In order to ensure that your law firm has the best security features in place, suitably tailored to your firm’s needs, CBSIT can advise you and provide the best possible service. As experts in the field, we can develop effective network security without the hassle.
Contact CBSIT today for advice and guidance on the best forms of cybersecurity technology for your law firm.