Addressing the Unique IT Management Needs at Law Firms
April 11th, 2018 by admin
Law firms face many unique IT management challenges that stem from the confidential nature of the information they work with. And that confidential data is why law firms must make the protection of information a key IT priority. Threats can come from outside (such as hackers using pressure to extort money from the firm) as well as inside (from technology failure). In order to adapt as threats change, it is important to understand both why law firms are prone to specific IT management challenges and how to address those challenges.
Why Are Law Firms a Prime Target for Ransomware?
As with other businesses, law firms must be ready for the growing number and scope of ransomware threats.
Hackers see law firms as ideal targets because lawyers may opt to pay the ransom to recover information for a case with an immediate court date.
Additionally, hackers may seek to exploit a larger law firm's substantial financial backing to get an easy payday: A $300 ransom is worth much more to an individual than it is to a large firm. The 2017 ransomware attack against prominent global law firm DLA Piper demonstrates how serious these attacks can be.
Law Firms Are Vulnerable to Data Theft
While technology automates a great deal of law firms' work, it also brings additional risks for information theft. The 2017 Equifax hack demonstrates exactly how far-reaching damage can be when hackers steal personal information.
Law firms also need to be concerned about keeping confidential client information confidential. Hackers may try to steal information stored on servers or personal computers through malware attacks and software exploits.
What's less obvious is how criminals can use social engineering — such as posing as a client via email or during a phone conversation — to get law firms to give up confidential information.
External and Internal Data Loss
Law firms work with a substantial amount of information that can go missing due to both external and internal factors. For example, a firm's server or an employee's laptop may fail and lose all the data stored on the device. Additionally, employees may not always properly manage their documents and information, which makes them difficult to find. In fact, poor document management can cost a firm hours of productivity every week. IT management can help organize information through platforms such as a document management system to help minimize data loss related to human error.
Law Firm IT Management SolutionsWhile law firms face many unique IT challenges, businesses can take several steps to minimize risk and mitigate damage:
- Implement a three-copy backup policy to safeguard against data loss related to ransomware, malware, device failure and human error.
- Make sure that all software on all devices is up to date and running the latest version. Hackers tend to exploit user laziness by attacking security holes that could have been patched had the user not skipped an update.
- Confirm that all information exchanges are secure. Don't fall for social engineering schemes or use compromised public Wi-Fi networks.
- Use document management systems to prevent losing data from mismanagement. These also serve as a type of backup.
If you would like to learn more about how your law firm can better manage its IT assets and protect itself from online threats, contact the IT experts at ATS today.
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