Data security has become a hot topic nowadays, mainly because of the increasing proliferation of technology and the internet in our daily lives. The digital age brings a lot of benefits for businesses and consumers, but it also comes with some added risks around the security of our sensitive data. It’s important to take note of these risks and ensure that you take all possible measures to avoid a security breach which could be catastrophic for your business. In this post, we’ll cover how to improve data security at your law firm in 5 simple steps.
Data Security in The 21st Century
Cybercrime is one of the most troublesome issues that many business leaders are facing nowadays. If proper precautions are not taken and a security breach results, it can cost a business millions of dollars or even lead to the outright failure of the company.
Aside from financial consequences, a data breach can also affect the organization’s reputation, leading to loss of trust from your customers and stakeholders. The irrevocable aftermath of a data breach can extend for years after the incident took place, just like what happened to Yahoo – many of its users finally gave up and moved over to its competitors after consecutive breaches in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
The latest report from DMR revealed that the global spending on information security products and services in 2016 amounted to $81.6 billion. This massive investment clearly indicates the importance of preventing a network breach or theft of data.
However, despite the heavy spending, the same report revealed that in 2015, the number of data breaches reported globally reached 781, and the estimated global cost of these cyber-attacks was $400 million. Worse, the cost of cyber attacks is growing rapidly and is estimated to reach a whopping amount of $2.1 trillion by 2019.
Although most organizations today have at least some form of data security infrastructure in-house, a data breach is almost completely unpredictable. Even the most secure organizations such as the military and healthcare sectors can fall victim to a breach.
With the prevalence of technology across all industries and in businesses of any size, it’s time for even the smallest companies to place more of an emphasis on data security. Read on to learn what you can do to improve data security at your law firm.
5 Steps to Improve Data Security at Your Law Firm
As the old adage goes, “prevention is better than cure.” Once your security has been compromised in some way, it’s probably already too late, and consequences are imminent. So the best thing you can do to secure your business and lock down your data from cybercriminals is to be proactive and take preventative measures.
Our pals from Law in Order Australia provided this helpful infographic (embedded below) which presents five actionable steps to improve data security and implement precautions to reduce the likelihood of a breach.
Below are the most important takeaways from the infographic regarding the top 5 data security measures that you should implement in your organization today.
1. Establish Strong Security Policies
Establishing a rock-solid security policy for where data is stored, how it is accessed, and who has access to it is one of the best ways to avoid any data security threats.
To start, you need to establish guidelines for who has access to what data, from where, and when. Be sure to review those permissions on a regular basis so that there are no oversights. For instance, any time someone leaves the firm, be sure to revoke their access to all data.
Implementing a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) culture, though it has a lot of cost benefits, also opens the door to some potential security threats. If your law firm has adopted BYOD, make sure that your employees’ devices are password protected, or better yet partitioned so that any locally stored data can be wiped remotely in case the device gets lost or the employee goes rogue.
Proper policies are the infrastructure upon which your data security lies. When you have a solid foundation in place, the organization is less likely to suffer from any data mismanagement and employees will know their roles and responsibilities with regard to maintaining data security.
2. Adopt Data Protection Tools and Procedures Wherever Possible
Data security tools are very important, especially if your business handles a lot of sensitive data such as trade secrets and customer profiles.
It’s a good idea to consider investing in data encryption tools and multi-factor access authentication where possible to prevent unauthorized access to your databases. Multi-factor access authentication makes it harder for the perpetrator to gain access to your systems since it calls for two or more passwords or other authentication methods before it can be accessed.
Password management tools are also an excellent idea. They help ensure that secure passwords are generated, and that there is a protocol to encourage everyone with access to sensitive data to reset their passwords regularly.
Finally, you should also make sure to monitor all your sensitive data constantly so that you can quickly spot any suspicious changes made to it and intervene if necessary.
3. Keep All Software and Technology Up-to-Date
Having outdated technology is one of the biggest things that can make your firm vulnerable to security risks. When technology is not kept up-to-date with modern security standards, it is much more susceptible to being hacked or otherwise compromised.
To avoid this risk, ensure that all software and systems are updated on a regular basis. This includes everything: your computers, your internet browsers, your servers, your operating systems, your mobile devices, etc.
Many law firms continue to use Internet Explorer 10 and case management software that was developed in the 1990’s. You should be very cautious of any technology that is more than 5 years old. These types of systems are often not being kept up to date with the latest security patches, and continuing to use them is exposing you to unnecessary risk of malware, viruses, and data theft.
To ensure that technology updates are handled on a regular basis, assign someone from your IT company to regularly check that all the tools and devices are always up to date, or consider using cloud software and services when possible, as they are updated automatically on a regular basis.
4. Invest in New Technologies
New innovations are constantly happening in the cybersecurity space because it is such a hot area. To improve data security at your law firm, you would be wise to stay informed about these innovations and set aside some of your annual budget to allocate toward new data security solutions.
You can strengthen your network infrastructure by investing in advanced security tools and software such as firewalls and endpoint security such as biometrics. These are not only effective ways to deter any security threats, but also allows you to control the activities done by the people inside your organization using your network and systems.
5. Train Your Staff Well
Your biggest ally against security threats is your people. Many of the security breaches that occur are due to easily avoidable mistakes such as falling for phishing scams or using obvious passwords for logins.
These things can be prevented through better management. To ensure that your staff members know the basic fundamentals of data security, you might consider inviting a data security expert into your office and have them conduct a crash course about cybercrime prevention and data breach.
It is also helpful if you keep your people updated by releasing an annual memo about the latest security threats that they might encounter while performing their work, as well as any changes to your security policies.
How to Improve Data Security Infographic
Regardless of the size of your organization, it is imperative to make data security one of the top priorities in your business today. To learn more about the topics covered in this post, see the infographic below.