With the largely unregulated landscape of current technology in use at law firms, some practices have noticed that their clients are questioning their security protocols and controls as it pertains to their tech. Rather than be taken aback, we should perhaps expect a little client scrutiny. An audit can tell us much in the realm of assessing security architecture, as well as hiring practices, and more, all information that can be relayed to the client to put them at ease. Here are a few areas that should be of practical consideration:
Two-factor authentication (aka 2FA) should be mandatory for remote access, as most law practices are now using mobile technology to a greater degree.
Many firms may initially resist this change, as they stray away from anything that causes frustration to the end user. However, with 2FA in place, and all active user accounts restricted in this way, the entire infrastructure will affect a heightened level of security. And that is a good thing.
If you are using on-premise servers, it is common to default to a non-encrypted protocol. While encryption of data in transit using SSL (secure socket layer) is relatively recent, static data encryption is still a fairly new thing. However, clients are becoming increasingly nervous about who is able to access their data, needing assurances that their files are secure and encrypted at all times and in all locations – even where it exists on the internal network.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Having DLP controls in place reduces or eliminates risk of any data being accessed, either deliberately or accidentally through email or on removable media. Outgoing emails, and access to USB ports, including removable drives of any kind should be restricted or disallowed. This will help to assure clients that their information is being protected at all costs.
In an ever-changing technology environment, it is necessary to adjust protocols and security measures to meet the challenges of new threats. Regular scans should be implemented, and ‘ethical hacks’ should be considered – in other words, you should think about hiring a 3rd party specialist to probe your systems for potential vulnerabilities. If you know what you are susceptible to, the better chance you have of preventing an attack before it happens.
Backup & Disaster Recovery
A backup and disaster recovery plan (DRP) is essential in order to protect your firm from potential losses. If you don’t have one, something as simple as a power outage can quite possibly bring your practice to its knees. Migrating your stored data to the cloud is always a good idea, as you won’t have to rely on your in-house backups – handy if you can’t access your building, if there is a fire, flood, or other disaster of that type. Cloud backup can also hasten your recovery from security breaches and viruses as it will allow you instant remote access to your entire infrastructure, including all related applications.
Security Awareness Training
Even with all of the best practices in place, human error and interaction can be the root cause of a lot of issues. Security protocols and procedures may be ignored or bypassed, and if the rules change, it’s possible that some people may not find out until it’s too late. All of these scenarios can lead to a breach in security. All of your employees, including partners, no matter how resistant they may be, need to be trained on a regular basis. Security policies should be known and understood by all, and expectations should be upheld to ensure that client data sanctity is always upheld.
Get Serious About Your Network Security
Clients today are not only seeking out the best and the brightest lawyers, they are demanding that the law firms they choose have a commitment to protect the confidentiality of their data as well as their relationship with you. In this day and age of heightened technological security risks, there is no reason that your firm should fall short on any of these issues. Be prepared, remain vigilant, and put proper controls in place to ensure that your staff is well-versed on your policies. Take some time to regularly review these and other important security-related matters so that your audit delivers as few surprises as possible.