Statistics Canada conducted a survey in October of 2018 that found that more than 20% of Canadian companies were hit with a cyber attack in 2017, with businesses spending over $14 billion on cybersecurity. Cybersecurity experts feel that the numbers of companies affected are drastically higher. Are you taking reasonable and appropriate efforts to keep your clients’ information safe from a data breach?
Law firms are a high-priority target for hackers, ransomware and nefarious miners of cryptocurrency. Data breaches affecting law firms continues to increase by double-digit percentages year over year.
Your clients are also becoming much more tech-savvy and are seeking lawyers who are implementing more secure methods to safeguard their data. A survey by Microsoft found that 91% of people would stop doing business with a company because of its outdated technology.
Communication with clients is key to representation. Lawyers are responsible for protecting client information when communicating digitally. It’s best practice to utilize the tools available to secure and possibly also encrypt any digital communications between you and your client. Email is the weakest link for many law firms, with phishing emails being one of the most common types of hacking encountered by lawyers.
Lawyers must not only safeguard client data but must also notify a client if a data breach exposes their confidential information. The legal sector tends to stand out due to its large cache of sensitive client data which makes law firms an attractive target for hackers. From patent disputes to employment contracts, firms have a high-level exposure to sensitive information. Hackers will try to find and exploit vulnerabilities if they exist.
Lawyers are required to act reasonably and promptly to stop the breach and to mitigate any damage. It is their duty to inform clients of the breach to the extent that a client can make informed decisions regarding the representation. Having a protocol in place that everyone is aware of if a data breach occurs is essential for law firms. You will be able to better handle the incident to mitigate risks.
Law firms can retain a cyber consultant to assess your vulnerability, create incident response measures and help you set up ways to protect your data. Measures like these are usually conducted by gauging if your law firm can detect or respond to a simulated cyber-attack and then providing practical recommendations to handle your cybersecurity moving forward. Unfortunately, even with preventive measures in place, data breaches may still occur.
It’s best to be proactive rather than reactive in these situations. Let us help you put a plan in place in the event of a data breach. This will allow you to respond quickly and competently.