Robust data security has become a priority for law firms, as high-profile attacks have exposed the vulnerabilities within the sector and compliance regulations have tightened. The stakes regarding data protection strategies for the legal industry and the clients they serve are astonishingly high. A data breach can expose confidential and sensitive information, leaving you grappling with lawsuits, financial losses, and a damaged reputation.
Law firm data breaches have been on the rise in 2023, and surprisingly, cybercriminals are successfully hitting both small and large firms alike. In July 2023, it became public that three of the top 50 law firms had been breached. All three, Kirkland & Ellis, K&L Gates, and Proskauer Rose, were attacked by the ransomware group Clop. So, if these large firms can be breached, who is safe?
The Risks of Inadequate Data Protection
In 2022, more than 100 law firms in 17+ states in the US reported incidents of cyber-attacks and data breaches. The same year, the American Bar Association published that 27% of law firms experienced a security breach. Cybercriminals know the wealth of information within your law firm’s data, which is an opportunity to monetize any successful breach. In addition, downtime for a law firm can be very costly—an incentive for attackers to use ransomware.
Furthermore, inadequate data security for law firms leads to some of the following consequences:
For a small firm, the average cost of a data breach is estimated to be $36,000. Even more disheartening is the approximated 31% of clients that will terminate their relationship with you, leading to additional lost revenue. You may also have to pay ransom if it is a ransomware attack.
An incident like this may also include legal fees, containing damage, and initiating recovery costs, all for cleaning up the entire mess to get the attack behind you.
Loss of Client Data
Data breaches for law firms are alarming because they can expose sensitive client information. Lawyers and legal professionals must protect the confidentiality of client information under the American Bar Association (ABA) Rule 1,6 (Confidentiality Information).
You must take reasonable steps to safeguard your firm from losing client data. Some examples of actionable steps include enabling encryption, two-factor authentication, and screening legal tech vendors.
In today’s digital age, news of data breaches spread rapidly. The negative publicity surrounding your firm’s data governance failure can cause severe reputational damage that diminishes your brand value and makes it difficult to maintain existing clients or attract new ones.
Firms that suffer data breaches risk facing legal action and potential lawsuits from affected clients or relevant regulatory bodies. Legal battles can be time-consuming and expensive and further tarnish your firm’s reputation, especially if the ruling isn’t in your favor.
Beyond ethical requirements, there are specific data security laws that firms must adhere to, which include HIPAA, GDPR, and other state-specific laws.
Key Data Protection Strategies
Contrary to what most people think, securing your data is not a one-time thing but a continuous process. Threats are ever-evolving, and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated daily. Some of the measures that law firms can implement to prevent data breaches include:
Secure Data Storage
Law firms must ensure that all processes and technologies used to store data maintain their security and integrity. Secure data storage is achieved through:
- Data encryption;
- Access control mechanism on each data storage device or software;
- Protection against malware;
- Enforcement and implementation of layered storage security architecture and more.
Security measures also include keeping information away from unauthorized hands. Data storage security must ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability at the highest level.
Employee Onboarding and Offboarding
Many incidents of data breaches occur simply due to human error. Proper employee onboarding is, therefore, critical to ensure that employees in your firm can enforce data security and recognize threats. Onboarding ensures new employees receive the appropriate access permissions and know the best practices, policies, and procedures for preventing breaches.
When it’s time for an employee to exit the firm, offboarding is necessary to ensure data security. It involves revoking access rights and reducing the risk of disgruntled former employees becoming insider threats. Offboarding ensures ex-employees can no longer access sensitive data after their departure.
Data encryption is a simple yet effective data protection strategy. Encryption means translating data from a readable format to an encoded form. Encrypted data can only be read or processed after decryption with a key or password—ensuring that sensitive data is secured in transit and at rest. Law firms can work with managed IT solutions providers to identify robust encryption algorithms to protect their data.
Law firms must conduct periodic security audits to establish if there are any vulnerabilities and identify areas for improvement. Audits help you determine your data security posture and what can be implemented to improve it.
Role of Managed IT Services in Data Protection
Managed IT services for law firms give you access to high-quality IT solutions with significant monetary investment. Solutions range from managing a firm’s IT network to providing help desk support. This service feature allows law experts to focus on serving clients and building revenue instead of trying to manage complex technology systems and networks.
Comprehensive Security Solutions
MSPs manage data and system security to ensure your network is always secure and operational. They provide services like security systems compliance, remote access management, software application security management, user access management, and continuous threat monitoring.
MSPs help you proactively detect issues before they happen, allowing early identification of security breaches that could be catastrophic. Swift action helps minimize downtime and disruptions before they impact your firm’s operations.
Most managed service providers can tailor their services to meet your needs. You only pay for needed services, which helps minimize expenses and improve your bottom line.
Why Choose We Solve Problems IT
At We Solve Problems IT, we provide a range of IT solutions that help you prioritize data security for your law firm. Here are some of the things to expect when working with us:
We have an average response time of 11 minutes, meaning that if you ever encounter a problem, you can rely on us to solve it within the shortest time possible, either remotely or on-site.
We Solve Problems strategically monitors your IT infrastructure to protect your firm from potential threats that could disrupt your business.
Cybersecurity must be at the center of any modern IT infrastructure. We at WSP have the skills and resources to handle and eliminate security breaches, protecting your law firm and clients.
100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed
We have been offering managed IT solutions for more than 15 years and have built a wealth of knowledge and skills to help us maintain your systems so that they operate efficiently and securely.
We do not charge hidden fees or include additional costs for our services. We maintain a transparent pricing system with accurate quotes to help make billing predictable.
Invest in Managed IT
Professional-managed IT providers like We Solve Problems have invested in the latest technology and equipment to help streamline your processes and protect your network systems. You can rely on them to manage your law firm’s IT needs so that your team focuses on clients and their cases.
Do you need help to protect your critical data and better serve your clients? Contact us to get started on a data protection strategy or learn more about our full-service IT offering for law firms.