The threats are everywhere, they’re invisible and they’re coming for your most valuable assets. Run for your lives!
OK, so it’s not an alien invasion. But the threat of cyber attacks is very real, and unfortunately, guarding against those attacks requires constant vigilance. Personal injury lawyers have access to a wealth of sensitive client information that must be protected, particularly when communicating with those clients.
These days, attorneys regularly send documents back and forth to clients, creating more opportunities for bad actors to steal sensitive data. To protect your client communications, you need a solid electronic document management strategy that puts data security at the forefront. With a proven process and the right legal case management tools in place, you can be confident that your communications stay protected.
The root of the problem
Cybersecurity threats are like rabbits; they’re multiplying all the time. But for lawyers specifically, the increased risk is a direct result of the new ways in which attorneys work. In the past, a case may have been handled by a single attorney or a small team working in the same office, with files physically handed back and forth. But those days are long gone.
In 2019, lawyers are constantly on the go, working from multiple devices and sending documents to a team of people, all of whom may be working in remote locations. This also includes clients, who may be sending documents from anywhere, using any kind of connection.
Clients also want to be able to review updates in a case at their convenience. This creates a client service issue, where attorneys must balance the desire to provide convenience with the need to ensure security. To solve this problem, you need cutting-edge legal case management tools guided by a strong data and communication policy.
Tackling the problem
Securing your client communications means you need end-to-end protection for all your information systems and devices. Simple, right? The fact is, there are a number of IT-centered ways to improve security. Adding encryption, firewalls, proxy servers, password protection or any other technology solution to your data security is a good start. But if you're using a server, you'll need active monitoring, which can be costly.
If you're using legacy or self-hosted software, many onsite or regional data centers don't have the skill or capital to guard your data effectively, and limited locations leave data prone to breach or loss. If the worst were to happen and your data centers were hit by a natural disaster, you could lose your data entirely, putting you out of work indefinitely and costing your firm time, money, and goodwill.
So, you could put a lot of time, money and effort into building out your data security capabilities. Or you could simply use CloudLex's communication tools to securely manage all aspects of your communication on a case, such as contact information, case filings, medical bills, documents, and notes. The tools automatically organize your correspondence in a matter-specific way, adding convenience for you as well as for your clients.
CloudLex is built off technology from global companies so you get continuous monitoring and updates, and secure backup at multiple locations meaning there's zero risk of lost data. Even if a hurricane somehow combined with a forest fire, your data would still be protected.
How you structure your case management systems is all about ensuring full IT security. After all, you can’t leave the door to the bank vault open overnight and expect all the money to still be there in the morning. But with the right tools, you can take your client communications to the next level and ensure that your cybersecurity capabilities will stand up to the latest attacks.
Dumping the data
But what do you do with all those years of (neatly organized) communications? Lawyers tend to be hoarders by nature, keeping every file imaginable for compliance reasons, but also just in case. The reality of constant cybersecurity threats makes this practice unsustainable. It’s simply too risky and you have an obligation to mitigate that risk under the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct. ABA rules state all lawyers have a duty of competence (in effect requiring attorneys to stay up to date on current technology) and a duty of confidentiality (i.e. protecting client information, which extends to all digital platforms and means of communication). Together, these rules mean lawyers "must take reasonable precautions to prevent the information from coming into the hands of unintended recipients."
In other words, you need a more modern information retention strategy, and more importantly, you need to know when to let things go. It’s kind of like cleaning out your attic. You make a keeper pile, a maybe pile and a throwaway pile. You’re going to have to prioritize your client data in the same way, and create a policy for storing data on a long-term basis.
You also need to be sure data is deleted correctly and fully so that it’s impossible for bad actors to recover deleted information. Data destruction is a crucial part of data retention, and both are necessary to ensure your client communications are secure.
Protecting your clients
Client data is your most valuable asset, and you have a moral and professional obligation to protect it. Doing so requires more than just IT solutions; it requires a change in perspective about how to manage all your electronic documents and client communications. By taking steps to protect your client data, you can provide better service to your clients, increase your firm’s efficiency and ensure that your most sensitive information stays protected.
If you’re ready to step up your cybersecurity and give your clients the data protection they deserve, schedule a demo of CloudLex—the Next-Gen Legal Cloud®—and we will show you how our platform can transform your personal injury law firm.