Today, cyber security is one of the biggest talking points among any industry, and particularly within the legal sector. With recent high-profile hacking cases proving that no business is immune to the risks of cyber crime, and the introduction of GDPR demanding that companies are prepared to safeguard their data, ensuring you have a solid cyber security budget and strategy in place is now more important than ever.
However, achieving cyber resilience requires investment. Law firms are quickly waking up to the fact that they must create a robust cyber security budge to protect their business’ reputation and finances. As PR Newswire reports, 41 per cent of lawyers interviewed by Robert Half Legal claimed that their firm plans to spend more on cybersecurity over the next year.
However, on average, these budgets are set to increase by just 13 per cent. According to research conducted by MarketsandMarkets, the global cybersecurity industry will be worth over $230 billion by 2022. So why do law firms need to reassess their cyber security investment, and how much should you spend on your cyber security budget?
The importance of cyber security budgets
The first step in determining how much law firms should spend on their cyber security budget is to recognise the breadth of risk the legal sector currently faces. According to Ponemon Institute’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study, a single data breach costs UK organisations on average £2.48 million. Whilst any company today is liable to cyber security breaches, law firms are particularly attractive targets for hackers because of the sheer volume of highly sensitive data they process on a daily basis.
The NCSC determines the main motivations for cyber hackers to attack law firms as profit, theft, fraud, extortion, information and exposure. And not only are the financial stakes of a cyber breach high, so is the likelihood of encountering an attempted attack. As Information Age claims;
“In an age where cyber attacks and attempts at hacking the files that a law firm receives are increasing by 100%, according to FireEye’s most recent report, putting forward an effective case for information security investment has never been more important.”
As IT Governance explains, at present organisations spend an average of 5.6 per cent of their overall IT budget on security and risk management. This may seem like a sufficient amount, but law firms need to consider the potential cost of a data breach and hold this up to their budget. Whilst organisations are currently spending £68 billion on cyber security, this figure is far outweighed by the amount of money set to be lost through cyber attacks.
Tips on creating a cyber security budget
So how exactly can law firms create an effective cyber security budget? It depends largely on the size of the company and how much capital is at stake.
There are three aspects to consider here – how much could you stand to lose through direct theft of assets, how much would you have to pay in compensation for compromised client data, and what could the secondary financial impact be if your reputation was tarnished? It is essential to project these figures and use this to determine how much you are willing to spend on cyber security investments.
How much you actually spend will depend upon which products and services you require, but it is important to invest in both the latest cyber security tools and in an expert cyber protection service. As Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal advises, law firms need to collaborate closely with IT and data protection professionals to effectively safeguard their assets with the most up-to-date technology, and the most informed strategies.
If you are unsure where to start, you should begin by sourcing a professional cyber vulnerability assessment. This will show you which aspects of your systems are at the highest risk, allowing you to more effectively prioritise your IT support needs. The next step will be training your employees in the basics of data protection protocol, such as two-step verification and identifying hacker activity. Next, you will need to invest in insurance to help cover the costs of a potential breach.
However, there are many more complex aspects of cyber security management that only an expert service can provide in an integrated fashion – whether it be securing your cloud system or monitoring your networks. This is where we can help you to get the most out of your cyber security budget, whilst preventing financial loss caused by cyber hacking.
To find out more about how best to invest your cyber security budget to protect your law firm, contact us today on 020 3355 7334.