Performing an IT Audit - Assess common threats to your Law Firm’s valuable information
Most businesses are aware of their obligations regarding the safety of their client’s data, and Law firms as we know are subject to even stricter compliance and regulations. Internal IT audits can be tedious but highly necessary and whilst a firm will often be fully aware of the importance of assessing their security risks to client or employee data, they should also not forget to include to assess the importance of protecting purely internal documentation such as corporate policies and procedures.
Whilst these types of internal documents may not fall under the strict data protection laws or have value to malicious outsiders looking for personal data, it should be deemed valuable to the firm itself, as the money and time to replace them if they were ever lost or destroyed (due to employee mistake or IT failure) , would be costly.
Law firms must therefore practice a high level of data management, putting in place a set of processes that protects data across all departments, from client files to HR and Business Development.
To ensure this, every law firm should complete a review or audit what data it holds and for what purpose, compiling a master list of all assets that require protecting.
Understanding the threats your law firm’s data faces
- Natural disasters and physical breaches – whilst this is would be a rare occurrence, the consequences of suffering such a threat can be devastating, therefore it should be included in a plan to cover the loss should it happen.
- Malware, and hacking attacks – being aware of external threats is vital to data security. Business Technology for law firms is constantly evolving and attackers are resorting to sophisticated techniques to compromise business data security.
- Ransomware – Law firms can hold some highly sensitive information and for this reason this type of malware garnered popularity in latest years. Law firms should be aware of this potential risk to their client’s data.
- Denial of service attacks – the rise of IoT devices saw a dramatic rise in botnets. Denial of service attacks is now more widespread and more dangerous than ever. If your business depends on uninterrupted network service, you should definitely assess risks associated with loss of service
- Malicious insider threat – one of the biggest threats to a law firm’s data is its own employees or third-party vendors. Data can be easily leaked or misused and unless you have specific monitoring tools in place, it would be hard to detect.
- Non-Malicious insiders – another risk group is the careless or uniformed employee, as not all insider attacks are done out of malicious intent. Data can be leaked unintentionally or errors such as forgetting to lock devices which contain sensitive information, downloading attachments or clicking links from suspicious email addresses or visiting unauthorised / malicious websites from the firm’s network.
Once you have assessed the risks associated with possible threats to your law firm’s data you will need to examine any existing security controls already in place, address those that need improving and implement processes that are missing. For example, you could consider measures such as:
- Firewall and anti-virus software
- Anti-spam filter
- Access Control – assess privilege users
- User activity monitoring - User activity monitoring tracks employee activity and can protect against insider threats
- Employee security training and awareness
- Complete regular data backup
- Server security
- Ensure your firm’s PI insurance include Cyber security cover
Our Regulation and Compliance Service
At The Strategic Partner, (TSP) we have developed a compliance product that addresses each of the key stages of managing a compliant law firm. From implementing policies and IT system reviews, through to file audits and supervision, we work with you to implement a proportionate and sensible approach to compliance.
We also offer an ongoing maintenance programming involving audits and onsite training to ensure that your firm is up to date and always remains compliant. Click here to find out more about our regulation and risk management services
Cyber Security and Insurance
Whilst a PI policy will provide coverage against third party claims, including loss of client money, loss of client data or deformation, an additional cyber security policy would provide additional protection above and beyond that offered by PI insurance. The Strategic Partner can facilitate an introduction to one of our partners and will work with you to obtain the best price for your Professional Indemnity Insurance with cyber security cover that includes a comprehensive on-site cyber-crime and fraud risk assessment that looks at all of the systems and processes in place across your firm, with a report back on practical solutions to possible weaknesses identified. Additionally, Cyber-crime and fraud prevention training can be tailored to your requirements and delivered at your offices.
Our insurer partners can provide you with a bespoke cyber-crime and fraud prevention policy to give everyone in the firm practical advice to pre-empt breaches as well as a bespoke cyber-attack / fraud incident management plan to help you in the event of a successful attack to minimise damage and bring about the best possible result in rectifying it.
Our focus is to allow the owners of law firms to concentrate on the running of their business with the comfort of knowing TSP are working for them to ensure they remain complaint
For more information about how TSP can work with you or to find out about receiving a quotation on PI and Cyber Crim Cover you can: