The legal sector plays a vital role in the running of a society and its economy. At the same time, it is also one of the most underdeveloped sectors when it comes to cybersecurity.
In 2015, 62% of law firms were victims of a cyberattack. Despite this, more than 60% of law firms do not have an incident response plan, even today when the threat of cyberattacks looms at its highest.
According to an American Bar survey, when asked about their preparedness against cyberthreats, law firms had an average response of 3.5 on a scale of 10. This shows that most law firms are far behind the level of security standards that are recommended for businesses to operate today.
In this blog post, we highlight the importance of cybersecurity for legal service providers.
Compliance and Regulatory Requirements
One reason behind the laid back response of law firms is because they are not (yet) the focus subjects of regulations and compliance requirements. However, despite this, there are several instances in which a law firm can be held accountable under the GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.
For example, if you store the information of citizens of the European Union then you come under the regulations of the GDPR; or in the case of health records, you come under the regulations of HIPAA.
Experts predict that we will be seeing regulations specific to the legal sector soon as well. For instance, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 already targets certain law firms in specific states of the US. It is best to be prepared for such regulations in advance by adopting the best practices to protect yourself against cybersecurity.
Failing to meet the requirements of these compliance standards can lead to heavy fines from regulating bodies as well as a loss of reputation for your law firm. In some cases, such as with the GDPR, the fines can be as high as €20 million that can derail even the most successful law firms.
Most Common Ways Law Firms are Targeted
Countless types of cyberattacks can be used against businesses. When it comes to law firms, the most common types of attacks that are used to target them are:
- Spear Phishing
- Email Fraud
- Insider Threats
- Social Engineering
Due to the nature of the information stored by legal service providers and the importance of email in the sector, they are targeted most commonly with email-related attacks such as phishing and email fraud.
Importance of Cybersecurity for Law Firms
When it comes to cybersecurity, remember that it is not just about securing confidential information but also about protecting your reputation. No individual or corporation would want to partner with a law firm that cannot protect its information (particularly information of a nature that can provide leverage to others financially, politically, or otherwise e.g. Panama Papers).
Without adequate procedures and technology in place, law firms bring into question both their professional and ethical conduct rules and also become vulnerable to threats that can be devastating to them.
Therefore, it is as vital for a law firm to prioritize cybersecurity as it is to hire capable lawyers. Adopting the best practices for cybersecurity, building a security infrastructure, and enforcing information security policies can help you detect and prevent cyber threats proactively.
By preventing intrusions and breaches from attackers, you can earn the trust of customers and gain a much needed competitive edge over others in the legal service provider.
Become the trend-setter in the legal sector and establish the norm of prioritizing cybersecurity because after all, for a law firm, reputation is everything.
Apvera is your partner in cybersecurity that helps law firms find security solutions to secure their information and minimize the risk of threats and vulnerabilities. Our proprietary Threat Intelligence platform Apvera Insight360™ provides fundamental security capabilities so that you can remain protected from all existing and emerging cyberthreats while ensuring regulatory compliance. Learn more about how Apvera can help you to effectively manage cyber risks and overwhelming regulatory requirements by contacting one of our experts today.