I hear a lot about Cybersecurity. Do I really need to worry about that?
Well … yes, you really do. Let’s talk about Cybersecurity and why it is important to you and your firm.
Cybersecurity has been defined as “the state or process of protecting and recovering networks, devices and programs from any type of cyberattack. Cyberattacks are an evolving danger to organizations, employees and consumers. They may be designed to access or destroy sensitive data or extort money. They can, in effect, destroy businesses and damage your financial and personal lives ….”
Let’s start with something you likely use multiple times every day – email. At least that’s safe, right? In fact, when email first appeared in the 1960s security was not even a consideration. Email was designed to be convenient, not secure. So much has changed since then. Spam, Malware, Phishing, Ransomware, and more can infect your system and cause significant, and expensive, harm.
Phishing is a common technique to gain access to your data, typically through email. “Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing. A good security setup can help reduce the likelihood of a successful phishing attack, but a program to properly educate your staff is also critical.
Ransomware has been around for decades, but has become more common over the last few years. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system’s data until payment is made. Ransomware can infect your own system, but you also must be wary of a potential attack on software vendors, cloud hosting services, and other providers you may rely on. Several large law firms have been victims of ransomware, leaving them without access to critical client data for days or even weeks and potentially costing them dearly, both in terms of their finances and their reputations. In one recent instance, a well-known case management company was victimized, and as a result numerous law firms were unable to access their clients’ data for up to two weeks. Several trials and other court proceedings had to be adjourned as a result.
These are only a few examples of the many cyber-risks your law firm faces every day. In the words of former FBI Director Robert Mueller: “There are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that will be.”
There are no easy solutions, but here are a few things you can do to mitigate the risk.
- First and foremost, hire a good IT person or firm, who will maintain your technology and ensure that your antivirus and antispyware software and other cybersecurity efforts are up-to-date and appropriate for your firm’s needs.
- Educate your employees on best practices to help protect themselves and your systems from cyber threats.
- Regularly update your software. This is particularly critical with operating systems, security software, and any programs that maintain or use your most critical data.
- Make regular backups of your data. Then make more backups. And more. For additional security, backups should always be stored off-site.
- Don’t wait until you face a problem; be proactive. Make sure you are familiar not only with your own security protocols, but also those of any firms that capture, maintain, or utilize your data. Remember, your security is only as strong as theirs.
At SmartAdvocate, we understand the critical nature of the data you entrust to us. We constantly review and consider our own cybersecurity settings and work to ensure that all of our customers, both Server and Cloud based, will maintain access to their SmartAdvocate system and data.
SmartAdvocate Cloud users’ data and documents are backed up regularly to two separate off-site locations. Multiple backups are maintained.
SmartAdvocate Server users should check with their IT professional(s) to be certain their data is securely backed up. You also may want to consider moving your server to a cloud hosting service with a reliable provider, to remove dependency on your local server.
SmartAdvocate, the Award-Winning Case Management System, is the most powerful, fully integrated, and secure case management system available. Initially designed by and for personal injury and mass tort litigation firms, SmartAdvocate is now used by a wide range of litigation firms throughout the United States, Canada, and beyond.
Please call 1-877-GET-SMART (1-877-438-7627) to schedule a demonstration of how SmartAdvocate can make your firm more efficient and more profitable.