Every organisation in the legal sector has four main priorities: seeking justice, serving clients, ensuring profit and protecting assets. The reality is that the risk of having your systems compromised could affect each and every one of these aims, and this makes data protection incredibly important. So, is now the time to update your cyber security strategy, too?
The answer is probably yes – and here’s why.
Managing cyber security risks
A key motivation for law firms to reassess their cyber security strategy should be the sheer volume of high-profile businesses that have been publicly exposed or systematically attacked by cyber attacks over the past few years. This is a trend that is growing exponentially, and it is no longer enough to do the minimum to protect your systems and information.
This is a problem that has been recognised as in need of a new response on a global scale. As Reuters reports, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have recently released a new national strategy to combat the growing number of cyber security risks across all sectors, including at state level.
The report pointed out that with over 20 billion devices predicted to be connected to the web by 2020, the risk of cyber hacking from this huge number of devices is substantial. These concerns are shared in the UK, where malicious cyber activity has soared.
No organisation is free of these risks – no matter their location, budget or size. From international cloud environments to global hacking collectives, cyber attacks are now borderless. The New Statesman provides a prime example – the Not Petya attack of June 2017, which was aimed at Ukraine, but whose impact was felt by companies all around Europe. As they note, “This cost hundreds of millions of pounds, including here in the UK. The threat is only going to increase, so our resolve to stay ahead must be unrelenting.”
And it’s not just big brands that are being targeted. An increasing number of small to medium enterprises are now falling prey to cyber breaches, whether these are motivated by money, industry competition or data phishing.
In fact, law firms play a huge role in protecting citizens from the effects of cyber attacks. Even national bodies such as the DHS are recognising the need for a more comprehensive and forward-thinking cyber security strategy, saying:
“We must better align our existing law enforcement efforts and resources to address new and emerging challenges in cyberspace, to include the growing use of end-to-end encryption, anonymous networks, online marketplaces, and cryptocurrencies.
This same principle applies to all law enforcement businesses – from police stations, to law firms, to government bodies.
Utilising funding for an improved cyber security strategy
A cyber attack on a large Internet Service Provider could cost up to £60 million, and lose them on average around 95,000 customers. But not only is the pressure on for law firms to keep ahead of cyber risks, but now is also a perfect time to do so.
As we recently reported, the UK government has just announced its National Cyber Security Strategy that will support UK businesses with £1.9bn of investment. This is being complemented by the creation of the National Cyber Security Centre, which is becoming part of GCHQ – and will lead the way for cyber security in the UK with real-time threat analysis, defence and advice for businesses who experience a breach.
You could now apply for a grant to boost your cyber security system, which will protect your law firm from potential risks. Today, clients are more aware of the importance of how their data is processed than ever, and so being able to demonstrate a cohesive, proactive and holistic cyber security strategy will be key for your law firm in the future.
A new approach: integrated, protective and prepared
So what is the best approach to revitalising your cyber security strategy for the present day? The key factors are integration, protection and preparation. This means ensuring that cyber security is at the core of all of your IT management activities and general security measures. You must be able to monitor your systems at all times to identify and account for key vulnerabilities. For many law firms, this will mean out-sourcing to a cyber security firm, who will have the time, expertise and resources to take both an all-round and in-depth view of ensuring your business is protected at all times.
All law firms must seek to foster a company-wide culture of cyber security, from training employees in the importance of two-step authentication and password management, to ensuring any data protection officials are able to quickly identify attempted breaches and act upon them.
To find out more about how we can transform your cyber security strategy, contact us today on 020 3355 7334.