Protecting Your Client’s Data Is A Must
Whether it’s Equifax, eBay, Yahoo or Ashley Madison, high-profile data breaches have skyrocketed in recent years. Data breaches can be disastrous and cause embarrassment for an impacted company. Businesses are forced to notify their customers, pay legal fees to defend against lawsuits that might result and spend thousands of dollars on cybersecurity services to correct the damage.
While confidentiality of information has long been a staple of a lawyer’s duty to their clients, in this digital age, attorneys are going to have to do more than lock their office doors when they leave for the day. Here are some tips lawyers can protect themselves, their firms and their clients from cyber criminals:
- Protect firm computers and networks: don’t just use the free “trial” antivirus software that was on your computer when you bought it. Install a robust security and antivirus program that protects against malware or malicious software, not only on computers, but on mobile devices as well.
- Require strong authentication: I know, I know, remember complicated passwords is a lot harder than pressing “1111.” However, the extra seconds it takes to create a strong and hard-to-guess password, could save you thousands in headaches down the line. Also, don’t use the same password for multiple devices or accounts.
- Provide firm-wide education: establish security practices and policies for all employees and spend the time it takes to educate employees and also enforce the rules. The most sophisticated anti-hacking software in the world is no match for an employee who forgets to lock their cell phone and leaves it on the train.
- Access information on secure internet connections: who doesn’t love free Wi-Fi? Unfortunately, hackers love it too. “Free Wi-Fi” at your favorite café isn’t really free if your device gets kidnapped. When handling work remotely, only connect using secure wireless network connections. Prices for unlimited data plans from mobile carriers are more and more competitive these days.
- Suspicious emails, attachments and unverified apps/programs: cyber-criminals have become more and more sophisticated in their e-mail phishing attempts. It won’t be the “foreign prince” trying to wire you millions of naira. It will be a random and/or unsolicited invitation to a CLE, or some other legal service, that tricks you into clicking a link that could compromise your network. Be suspicious of all such emails. Pay attention to domain names that look strange. Try running the company’s name through a google search, to see if they’re legit.
- Software updates: software companies regularly provide patches and/or updates to their products. Update your devices and programs as soon as these are offered. Again, the extra time it takes to install the latest version is a good investment in time.
- Cyber-security Insurance: what can’t be insured these days? Even with all these tips, sometimes hackers get through even the most sophisticated defenses. A general starting range for small and medium-sized businesses would be $650-$1000.