Cybersecurity is a critical concern for law firms, as it is for all businesses. Safeguarding sensitive client data and maintaining your firm’s reputation are top priorities.
If you manage the IT for your firm, IT is probably only one of many things on your plate; implementing best security practices can seem daunting. However, most successful attacks – even against large companies – are not sophisticated. Very simple measures could have prevented them. In this post, we’ll look at 5 straightforward tips to enhance cybersecurity best practices for your firm.
- Educate Your Team: Cybersecurity starts with awareness and education. Ensure that all staff members, from lawyers to administrative assistants, understand the basics of cybersecurity. Organize regular training sessions to teach them how to recognize phishing emails, use strong passwords, and report suspicious activity. Beyond the substance of the training, having a regular monthly or quarterly session creates a culture of vigilance which is the first line of defense.
- Strong Passwords: Weak passwords are a common entry point for cyberattacks. Enforce a strong password policy that requires complex passwords. Use passphrases (longer, easy-to-remember phrases) instead of single words. If you need help creating a passphrase – 2 fun sites we use are dinopass.com and password.ninja.
- Multi-Factor Authentication: Even strong passwords can be stolen or exposed. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a secondary way beyond your password to prove who you are. We are all familiar with getting a text message to our phone with a code to enter, this is a form of MFA. In today’s environment MFA is becoming a must have.
- Backup Your Data: If all goes well, we hope to never need to use a backup to recover from a cyber security incident. However, it is the last resort if all other measures fail. It is essential, that regularly backups of all critical data are being completed. and they are stored securely – preferably offsite or in the cloud. Because we don’t often need backups, it is important that they are tested regularly to ensure they are still working if the worst happens, and you need them.
- Removing Access for Former Staff Members: This one sounds obvious, but many security incidents have occurred through access to a former employee’s account that was not properly shut down. Often each staff member requires access to multiple systems to do their daily work. For example they need a password to enter their computer, email, practice management software, but they also may have accounts with dropbox, wetransfer, accounting software, phone company and the list goes on. Keeping a list of what accounts a staff member has, and closing them all after they leave is essential to maintaining a good security posture.
There is of course more to cybersecurity than these 5 items. However, if your firm is confidently implementing these 5 security steps, you are well on your way to protecting your firm from a cyber security incident.
About LawStream: The mission of LawStream is to streamline technology for Law Firms in the Toronto area. One of the ways we accomplish this goal is through free IT education such as this article. Created and supported by Streamline IT, a Toronto based IT service company, LawStream is an IT platform designed to create a simple, secure, and reliable IT experience for law firms.