A data breach in which client information is exposed or stolen is just about the worst case scenario for your business. It is imperative you take reasonable efforts to safeguard client information. In fact, the law says it is the ethical responsibility of attorneys to protect client data. Attorneys are now required to notify clients if data breaches of any sort expose their private information. Unfortunately, law firms are being targeted at a higher rate as these businesses have an abundance of valuable information stored on hard drives, servers and elsewhere.
Understand the Nature of the Threat
Law firms of all types and sizes must take steps to improve their cybersecurity, implement preventative measures and reduce potential liabilities in the event of a digital attack. The legal sector is particularly vulnerable as its digital protections are often outdated and a bevy of highly sensitive client data is stored on company hardware. Hackers would love to access this data to sell it on the black market or blackmail the law firm or client.
Protect Your Data
It is up to you to protect your firm’s data s well as client data. Check the status of your current digital safeguards with regularity. Implement updates for the latest security protections. Make a reasonable effort to implement internal policies that identify and resolve conflicts of interest as well as digital threats. Continue to monitor your network, update your tech processes and educate your team about the latest digital security threats. Make use of email encryption along with client portals with the latest security. These are fairly easy yet highly effective ways to safeguard confidential data without compromising your ability to communicate with clients and colleagues over the web.
Make your team aware of the latest spike in digital threats. Educate paralegals, legal secretaries, receptionists and attorneys about phishing scams, ransomware and other digital attacks. If necessary, ask for outside help from IT experts to teach your employees about how to identify and thwart online attacks. A well-educated staff will prove that much less vulnerable to hackers and online scam artists who prey on the uninformed.
Have a Plan for Attacks
It is only a matter of time until you are digitally attacked. You need a pre-established protocol everyone understands so action can be taken immediately following a data breach. Start out by verifying what happened. Assign someone to lead the investigation. Focus on solving the most pressing problem such as eliminating hackers from the network. Gauge the extent to the damage and whether outside assistance will be necessary. If a data breach occurs, consider the steps the law mandates be taken in the aftermath of such an unfortunate event. Continue to bolster your digital safeguards as time progresses and you will decrease the chances of a similar attack proving successful in the future.