Over the last few years, law firms across the world have been fighting a raging war with cybercriminals. The legal industry operates largely under the terms of absolute confidentiality and discretion, and a breach can have a direct impact on business and bottom lines. If law firms do not fortify their security infrastructure to counter modern security threats, they might be looking breaches that could not only compromise data but also see them losing some of their biggest clients.
Legal Industry Security Facts
- The legal industry faces over 10k network intrusion attempts per day
- 40% of law firms didn’t know they had a security breach
- 48% of the law firms had their data security practices audited by at least 1 corporate client
Why Law Firms are Prime Targets for Attackers
Valuable Data: Hackers want to get their hands on data that they can sell on the black market and they know law firms have volumes of data in the form of client records, intellectual property, business intelligence, and mergers and acquisitions information.
Money: Monetary gain is another prime motivator for hackers to target law firms. While some attackers prefer to extort law firms with ransomware attacks, others might go straight for the kill by hacking banking passwords and swiping away the firm’s cash reserves.
Lack of Security: Despite dealing with confidential data, the fact remains that most law firms do not have a robust security infrastructure. The Logicforce Q4 2017 Law Firm Cyber Security Scorecard states that 62% of law firms don’t have a dedicated information security professional. This makes it easier for cybercriminals to hack into law firm networks and get away without even being noticed.
Proactive Security: The Need of the Hour
Law firms rely heavily on data to make a strong case for their clients. Most of this data is stored and accessed using a Document Management System – which is used extensively by lawyers and paralegals. A hacker who has penetrated through the firm’s security defenses could delete, steal, or worse, manipulate data without anyone noticing. This could have devastating consequences for your law firm and clients.
Most law firms do not allow anything other than company-owned devices to connect to their applications. While this is a good practice, there must be stricter, well-defined access control policies based on user devices, operating systems and role-based access to critical applications.
According to the American Bar Association 2017 Legal Technology Survey, 22 percent of law firms experienced a cyber attack in 2017. That’s up from 14 percent in 2016. Hackers have evolved techniques that can circumvent traditional security measures like perimeter firewalls and antivirus software. As attacks increase in frequency and sophistication, law firms and the legal industry need to consider shifting to proactive security architecture.
How Legal Firms Can Protect Themselves Proactively
Gain Complete Traffic Visibility
In most cases, the law firm’s security personnel have no visibility of server to server traffic which makes it easy for an attacker who has hacked into the network to remain undetected. Once inside the network, the hacker lurks around trying to gain access to servers that hold sensitive and confidential data. So, the first step is to gain complete visibility of cross-segment traffic which will allow your security team to monitor and analyze any suspicious patterns in network activity.
Isolate Critical Assets
No matter how strong your perimeter security is, hackers might still be able to find a way in. Taking this reality into account, the best course of action is to limit the attack surface so that an attacker does not have the means to access confidential client data. By enabling micro-segmentation within and across your environments spanning bare metal or hybrid-cloud, you can isolate critical environments and grant access purely based on the user’s role and authority.
Secure Devices and Endpoints
Time and again, forensics have shown that your employees are the weakest link in your security strategy. An inadvertent click or download of a malicious file is all it takes for an attacker to gain access to your employee’s device causing an enterprise-wide infection or a dormant internal threat that could eventually expose sensitive data. Security solutions that provide granular visibility and control of endpoints like laptops and desktops will allow you to implement a customized lockdown, thereby making them tamper-resistant to known and unknown threats like malware, ransomware, and sophisticated APT lateral threats.
Simplify Your Audits
With clients demanding regular audits and better security practices, your law firm should be in a position to consistently meet regulatory requirements. Comprehensive traffic visibility and the ability to segment your users, workloads, and applications reduces both time and operational costs for reporting and remediating audits. It also allows you to continuously assess your security posture and meet your client’s compliance requirements.
ColorTokens’ security solutions enables law firms and legal information security teams to implement a proactive zero-trust architecture that can discover, visualize, and protect every asset, from hybrid data centers all the way to terminal legacy endpoints.