We hate to break it to you, but people steal—that hasn’t changed much throughout history. What has changed is how people steal. While you used to be able to stop sticky-fingered miscreants from taking your stuff with a well-placed moat, camera, or security guard, those measures won’t stop (or even delay) today’s sophisticated cybercriminals from gaining unauthorized access to your clients’ sensitive information without your knowledge.
See when a couch is stolen, the couch goes missing; but when your personal injury firm is subject to a data breach, you might not realize until it’s too late—and the “couch” doesn’t even belong to you; it belongs to your clients and it has tons of their confidential info hidden in the cushions. That’s why it’s your job to do more than just sit on your clients’ files (…plus, it’s required by ABA Model Rules). So without further adieu, let us show how you can improve your law firm security and keep your clients’ data safe (so you can keep your clients’ business).
1) Law firm security starts with a proper framework: You know where you want to go (a breach-free law firm), but how do you get there? Like any journey, first you need to figure out where you are. One way to accomplish this is through audits. An audit is a checkup (usually conducted by an outside party) to see which of your law firm security policies are (or aren’t) working (i.e. how you gather, store, and access data and how you prevent and respond to security breaches). From there, you can figure out a roadmap for improving. Great places to start are the standards set by national and international cybersecurity bodies like ISO and NIST.
2) Law firm security starts with well-trained staff: Anyone that’s received forwarded emails from a grandparent knows that a little cybereducation can go a long way—after all, all it takes is one careless click for your firm to fall victim to the latest phishing scam. Small firms and big firms alike should engage in periodic training to educate employees on the dos and don’ts of cybersecurity (including internet usage, social media, and password protocols). And, in the event something does go wrong, your IT staff should have an incident response plan so they can limit the cleanup from an ill-advised decision before it gets too messy.
3) Law firm security starts with controlling access: Your firm is composed of many different people in many different roles. Just like you don’t need access to the kitchen’s guac recipe, the kitchen staff doesn’t need access to your confidential client info. By setting up user-based permissions and access controls, you can limit access to information...which limits the possibility of breach.
4) Law firm security starts with data encryption: Encryption is the process of taking readable text and making it look like gibberish to anyone that’s not supposed to see it. As a matter of strict policy, a law firm should encrypt all confidential information—it’s a simple and effective way of keeping your client files out of the wrong hands and there are lots of security programs that will help encrypt your files for free (or next to nothing).
5) Law firm security starts with regular updates: Updates to your PI firm’s operating systems (even your mobile devices) aren’t just about getting the newest emojis; they’re essential to keeping your PI firm’s data safe. Most of the time, the main objective of these updates is to strengthen vulnerabilities in your firm’s operating systems and improve your OS’ information security features—so update regularly and avoid that sad face emoji feeling.
6) Law firm security starts with a move to the cloud: Cybercriminals continue to come up with novel ways to steal your firm’s data—so you have to adopt modern solutions to fight back. If you’re still using spreadsheets or decades-old server technology to run your firm, you might as well gift wrap a jump drive loaded with your clients’ data and hand it to the thieves…or you could just migrate your PI firm to the cloud and properly fight back against cyberthreats like malware, viruses, hacking, and more.
But not all cloud-platforms are built the same; CloudLex—the Next-Gen Legal Cloud®️—is your best line of defense against cybertheives. Sign up for a free demo now and let us show you how our comprehensive suite of innovative apps can help you protect your clients’ interests in the courtroom and their data no matter your location.