5 Security Measures Law Firms Must Implement in 2023
Cyber security threats like ransomware and phishing attacks are top of mind across the legal industry. Firms are responsible for keeping data safe, and in today’s ever-evolving world of technology, law firm clients are requiring specific security measures be implemented and rigorously followed.
For example, as of January 1, 2023, all attorneys in New York must take continuing legal education courses on cybersecurity topics as a condition of practicing law in the state. This is just one of many examples around the country that showcases the critical importance of cybersecurity education and awareness across the legal industry.
Continue reading for the top five security measures law firms must have in place to satisfy client and cyber insurance expectations, keep client data safe, and prevent cyberattacks in 2023.
1.) Impose Multi-Factor Authentication Requirements
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a multi-step account login process that requires users to provide one or more additional verification factors to decrease the likelihood of a successful cyberattack. While strong passwords are important, they shouldn’t be the only method relied upon to protect data. MFA adds an additional level of protection such as: asking for answers to personal security questions; verification codes sent to other devices; or authentication apps that use biometrics like fingerprints and facial recognition to confirm the user’s identity.
2.) Require Security Awareness Training
Most firms have some level of cyber security training incorporated into their onboarding processes. However, some roles still don’t require it. Requiring all employees to complete security awareness training increases their understanding of cyber threats and empowers them to take proactive steps to ensure security policies are followed when handling company and client data. Firms that regularly train and test employees on data security practices, phishing email scams, and other attack techniques are more likely to prevent potential breaches.
3.) Implement Proactive Threat Hunting
There is a good chance firms have active cyber threats lurking undetected in their network. Threat Hunting is essential to achieving maximum cyber protection. If hackers evade early detection, they can live within a firm’s network for months. Once a hacker has access to an inner network, most firms lack the advanced detection capabilities needed to stop further attacks. “Threat Hunters” assume there are already invaders in the network and consistently scan for unusual and anomalous behavior that may indicate the presence of malicious activity.
4.) Institute Robust Information Security Policies
One of the best ways to ensure preparedness is to develop and implement IT and cybersecurity policies. Security policies are now being required by cyber insurance carriers and some law firm clients. Documented policies should include acceptable use, business continuity, incident response, records management and data loss, mobile devices, and passwords.
These policies are the foundation for programs, consistency, communication, and clarity around a law firm’s operations. As a set of internal standards, they will provide law firm staff the guiding principles and responsibilities necessary to safeguard firm data and systems. Most importantly, it’s not just a matter of the firm having these policies in-place but also having an annual review and run-through, known as a “tabletop exercise”. If your firm has policies but does not run the annual “tabletop exercise” then you are at significant risk when an incident occurs.
5.) The Latest Cyber Insurance Requirements to Get Coverage
In response to the growing threat of data breaches, cyber insurance policies are finally addressing the need to stay on top of the constantly evolving cyber threats facing law firms and their clients by demanding cybersecurity policies and practices be implemented and regularly monitored. Insurance companies also recognize the likelihood that firms who may be less aware of cyber threats or historically unprotected may already have a hacker in their system the day coverage is activated. Firms must now prove they have security measures in place at least 30-60 days prior to receiving coverage.
By being proactive in implementing strategies that safeguard and protect client information, firms better protect data and ensure they are covered in the event of an attack.
Not all breaches will be prevented, but education and planning will help mitigate and minimize the impact. At Frontline, we believe a proactive, comprehensive approach to cybersecurity is key. Our team of 100+ cyber professionals provide solutions that are easily scalable, efficient and cost effective. Our tested methodologies, experience, full suite of security best practices and 360 degree approach to technology and cybersecurity protect your firm on every front.
To learn more about cyber security measures to protect your firm and its data in 2023, watch the recording of our most recent Frontline webinar: Click Here
Michael Glasser is an Executive Vice President of Managed IT Services at Frontline Managed Services and has over 25 years of experience exclusively in Law Firm Technology, Firm Process Automation/Efficiency and Cybersecurity Consulting.