Mitigating Cybersecurity Risk for Law Firms

Mar 31, 2022
Danya Strait

What do Yahoo!, Equifax, Colonial Pipeline, and SolarWinds have in common? If you guessed that they’re all victims of cyberattacks, you’re right. 

Ransomware attacks and cybersecurity breaches are no longer isolated to large corporations such as those listed above; they’re a very real threat to the longevity of all companies, including law firms. 

Cybersecurity is Critical for Law Firms  

Cyberattacks are not an “if,” they’re a “when.” Law firms cannot count on firewalls or anti-virus applications to provide complete protection; preparation for when an attack occurs is essential. 

According to the American Bar Association, 29% of law firms reported a security breach in 2020 alone. These incidents included “a lost/stolen computer or smartphone, hacker, break-in, website exploit,” and more. 

Cyberattacks are not limited to sizeable companies, either. Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report showed that 61% of cyberattacks affected companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. In other words, smaller companies may be at higher risk of cyberattacks than their larger counterparts. 

When a cyber breach occurs, firms risk serious monetary and reputational damage. According to the Cost of a Data Breach Report , the average total cost of a data breach rose 10% to $4.72 million between 2020 and 2021, with more than $1 million of that increase driven by the shift to remote work. Lost business represented 38% of the average costs due to “increased customer turnover, lost revenue due to system downtime and the increasing cost of acquiring new business due to diminished reputation.” 

Law firms are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the sensitive and confidential information they hold. They have the potential to lose high-profile clients if valuable information is obtained by hackers, particularly if they are found in violation of ISO/IEC 27001 standards for information security management. 

Discover Preparis

See the centralized platform that helps organizations plan for, train, and respond to any disruptive incident. Our software suite delivers everything you need to develop and execute robust business continuity processes.

How a Business Continuity Platform Can Help 

Incident Response and Management Plans 

Only 38% of breached firms had an incident response plan in place in 2021, resulting in a delayed solution to the breach. With incident response software, firms will more easily be able to manage an incident immediately. It will be clear who is responsible for each step, and you will not waste valuable time running around to find answers. 

Emergency Notification System 

An emergency notification system is critical to managing cyber incidents. Communication systems like Slack and email are not enough to notify employees of a breach; instead, count on an emergency notification system like Preparis Alerts that offers different forms of bi-directional communication like voice, SMS text, email, push, and desktop notifications.  

Employee Training 

IT department employees may be aware of the risks to their firm, but what about the everyday employee? Most cyberattacks are a result of employee error or lack of education around risks. One Preparis client found this out the hard way; an employee returned from lunch to find a USB drive on their desk. They plugged into their computer, and within seconds, the entire network was compromised. 

By educating employees on cyber threats and keeping them up to date on the latest risks, you can minimize these costly mistakes. Consider regular cyber threat briefings, trainings, and tests for the entire firm. 

Time Savings 

Time is money. Firms must have business continuity plans to respond to audits and due diligence questionnaires (DDQs) if they wish to work with many other companies and clients. Most law firms are subject to cybersecurity audits annually, and on average, a DDQ contains 200 questions. Both cybersecurity audits and DDQs take up an enormous amount of time better spent elsewhere. With a business continuity plan in place, all your documents will be readily accessible, and you can respond quickly to these requests to not risk losing customers. 

No Need for Dedicated Staff 

At many small to midsize firms, employees wear many hats. The person responsible for business continuity likely has many more roles. By using intuitive business continuity software with easy UI/UX, those in charge of business continuity will have more time to focus on other key tasks. 

Learn from the Experts 

When in doubt, engage with a consultant. Preparis offers consulting in conjunction with our software platform so firms can enjoy the best of both worlds: state-of-the-art software and decades of experience and consulting. Reach out to us today to learn more.

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