When a data breach occurs, one of the first concerns is the effect it will have on your clients’ data. Most law firms have moved away from paper-based bookkeeping and data management, choosing instead to store client information on physical or cloud-based servers. While this allows for more efficient and fluid business processes, it also opens the door to hacking and data breaches. As a result, you will need to implement the most up-to-date software and security protocols to ensure the safety of your clients’ data.
Risks of Unprotected Client Data
Whether your firm manages its own client data or utilizes a third-party service, there is always a chance that data could be leaked, mishandled, or even hacked. In any case, there are certain risks associated with storing a large amount of sensitive client data. You will need to evaluate the following risks before developing a data security plan:
- Sharing of Private Legal Information – Naturally, you will need to store information related to legal cases for your clients. More often than not, this information is highly confidential, and exposure could put your clients at risk of losing their case in a court of law, or facing embarrassment if private information were to go public.
- Identity Theft – In addition to legal data, you may need to store certain identification information such as client names, addresses, contact information, social security numbers, and bank account information. If this data fell into the wrong hands, it could be a disaster for your clients and your business.
- Lost Business – Needless to say, losing client data through leaks or hacks can be a PR nightmare for your firm. In many cases, clients will lose trust in your business and choose to seek legal counsel elsewhere. This is why it is so important to implement strong security protocols to prevent a catastrophe.
IT Solutions to Enhance Data Security
Evaluating the security of your client data is not as complicated as it seems. There are certain standard practices for protecting data, so if your firm is not currently implementing any of the following strategies, it is definitely time to develop a new security plan for your client base:
- Keep Your Software Updated – No matter what kind of software you use for your business, you should never work with out-of-date programs. With most software updates, cybersecurity is improved to keep up with changing technology and new methods for data infiltration.
- Use a Firewall – A firewall is essentially a safety net that covers all of the data your firm stores. It is one of the best ways to keep out hackers and secure client information.
- Encrypt Your Local Network – If your law firm operates from one primary location, you will want to encrypt your local network. This process ensures that messages and files are unreadable to those outside of the network.
- Educate Your Workforce – A data security plan is meaningless if it is not implemented across the board at your company. Educating employees on the necessary protocols are vital to ensure that your client’s data remains safe, no matter who is handling it.
In addition to protecting your systems and networks, you will want to ensure the security of your company’s devices. For most law firms, important information is also stored locally on hard drives, computers, and mobile devices. In the event that you lose a device or a hacker gains remote access, sensitive client information could be at risk. Here are a few additional tips to keep your devices safe and only accessible to authorized individuals:
- Upgrade Hardware – While it will require greater upfront costs and continual investments, using the latest hardware is a must. New hardware means faster processors, more robust operating systems, and enhanced security measures.
- Lockdown Devices – While much of your data security will be concerned with protecting cloud-based servers and encrypting files, you must also protect your devices. When developing a security plan, consider limiting employee access to company computers, tablets, and mobile devices outside of the workplace.
- Change Passwords Regularly – One of the easiest ways to protect client information is through passwords. However, it is easy to forget passwords, so employees often save them somewhere on a device or even write them down, making it easier for prying eyes to get access to sensitive information. Changing passwords regularly and implementing strict password management policies will help prevent this problem.
- Two-Factor Authentication – Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection when employees (or clients) are signing into a given system. This requires an additional step when signing in, such as confirming the user’s identity with a second account or device.
- Avoid Personal Devices – It is really convenient for businesses and employees to take work home, or work from personal devices, but this increases the risk of hackers gaining unauthorized access through old software or viruses. Try to limit business to company-owned devices that use proper security software.
Working with Computer Management Services
Many law firms are not prepared for the complexities of data security and often take unnecessary risks as a result. At Scale Technology, we provide managed services for all of your data security needs.
Need to beef up your network security? We will evaluate your infrastructure and develop a security protocol that fits the individual needs of your firm. This way, you do not need to change the way you do business in order to keep your client’s data safe. We take the stress out of securing your data and give you (and your clients) peace of mind. In addition to preventative measures, we also address your data backup and disaster recovery needs.
Do you want to learn more about managed services? Scale Technology is a cybersecurity and data recovery company with professionals who can provide your business with IT solutions and expert advice. Call us for a free consultation or check out our website for more information!