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28/10/2020

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Remote Working: Cybersecurity Tips for Lawyers

Adapting to working from home has understandably triggered action regarding how law firms can work remotely following best practice whilst ensuring all company and client data is safe and secure. However, moving a law firm to remote practice isn’t as straightforward as simply relocating the staff. With such highly sensitive data, it is crucial that legal cyber security is a top priority for law firms. If a law firm has a data breach not only does it cause reputational damage but can also threaten lives as well as issues with compliance.

Regardless of the size of the practice, all law firms can be a target for cybercriminals, and in fact, the smaller organisations which are less equipped to working from home can be very attractive as they are easier to infiltrate.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. By following these simple tips, you can stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals whilst carrying out remote legal work.

Awareness and training

To fully protect your law practice’s data there are four key starting points;

  • Be aware of the cyber security risks.
  • Be aware of the weaknesses within your system.
  • Regularly train staff on security procedures.
  • Ensure these procedures are adhered to.

Awareness and training will ensure that there is joined-up thinking within the organisation and that vulnerabilities can be fixed before they become an issue.

Email protection

With potentially sensitive information being sent via email, it is essential that the email systems are secure. There are three main ways to do this:

  • Robust password – Whilst it’s not necessary to change passwords every month they should be difficult for the hackers to crack. They should be very complex with a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters, or it should be a string of unrelated words with numbers and special characters.
  • Avoid phishing campaigns – It is believed more that 90% of emails sent are spam. Whilst all are annoying some are potentially dangerous and staff should be aware of the implications of clicking on links within email (including unsubscribe) from unknown senders.
  • End to End Encryption – E2EE ensures data shared over a network cannot be infiltrated and read by a third party. Essentially E2EE scrambles the data when it is sent, meaning it can only be read by the intended recipient by way of a decryption key.

VPNs/Remote Access

For remote workers dealing with such sensitive data, it is safer to set up a virtual private network (VPN) to connect employees with the company network safely. A VPN ensures everything that is accessible in the office will be available remotely with the same level of security.

VPNs are considerably more secure than a home network as they encrypt data as it is sent over WIFI preventing unauthorised access to that data. Additionally, data is then sent through the company servers adding an extra layer of security as it masks the IP address and encrypts passwords and browsing history.

Using a VPN reduces the likelihood of being hacked than when using a home or unsecured WIFI network as they typically use IPsec or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to authenticate the communication process. For further information on secure business communication systems click here.

VOIP services

For remote legal workers, it is important that they can be reached by telephone, and whilst the majority of people have mobile phones these can be unreliable. Therefore, it is a better option to use VOIP services such as the EVE phone system.

This provides your business with a telephone system which can be used remotely but with the capability of the office phone network. It offers a number of applications such as collaborative whiteboard sessions, video conferencing and in-system chats designed to streamline the communication process. For more information on EVE services click here.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Any organisation dealing with highly sensitive data should be using Multi-Factor Authentication as a matter of course.

This means in addition to a strong password as outlined above, users should also be required to provide a fingerprint, pin code or automatically generated code sent to their email or phone.

This means that even if a hacker gains access to the password there is still another layer of security to pass through.

Bespoke cloud technology

For remote workers, the easiest way of sharing data is through the cloud. However, the private cloud, corporate cloud or internal cloud is a more secure option than the public cloud and it is provided either via the internet or a private internal network.

The private cloud has individual user set-up, meaning it is only accessible by selected personnel and can be catered precisely to the needs of the individual organisation. It is a perfect option for highly regulated industries like the legal industry who have a very strong security requirement. For more information on cloud services please click here.

IT support

Engaging the services of an IT consultancy like CIS is a valuable weapon in your arsenal against cybercrime. Not only can an IT support service ensure your systems are running smoothly, but through constant monitoring of your systems and network, we will often spot and isolate a threat before it can infiltrate and affect your data. CIS are also able to offer robust cyber security services and upgrade your communication services to ensure they are as secure as they can and need to be.

Prevention is better than firefighting so contact CIS to see how we can support you https://www.cisltd.com/services/cyber-security/

Support Plan

An IT support service like what we offer at CIS will help to ensure:

  • Back-ups of your data are carried out regularly so should the worst happen, important data is not lost and enables you to continue trading.
  • Regular updates of malware, ransomware and anti-virus software.
  • A disaster recovery plan is in place. For more information on disaster recovery solutions click here.
  • All systems are kept up to date including onboarding and offboarding staff and their access.

Without an actionable plan, it is easy for vital cybersecurity processes to be missed, potentially putting your data and your business in danger.

What next?

If you feel your law practice is not suitably ready to work safely from home, contact the team at CIS today to see how we can actively support you and put together a security plan for your business. We can also offer practical cyber security advice. 

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