Blog

How Lawyers Can Protect Their Clients’ Data

Posted on

For law firms, data security is always top on the list of priorities. Law firms are entrusted with very sensitive client information in the course of their day to day business. The need for data security is of the utmost importance. Lack of security for law firms can lead to lawsuits from clients whose data may leak because of a breach of security.

Hackers do not rest. They are always on the prowl, looking for new victims. Law firms are especially prone to hacking due to the amount of sensitive data they store. If your data is not properly encrypted, hackers may intercept it, or infect your system with ransomware. Here are some of the ways a law firm can protect itself from hackers and malicious software.

End-user training

People are the biggest security loophole in most organizations and every person in a law firm needs to get end-user training. Having the lawyers attend theoretical classes is futile. Information is never retained for long and the training is more costly than end-user training.

The best program is the use of phishing emails sent internally, but using external email addresses, and designed to test the end-users’ ability to spot phishing emails. Such emails are often followed by instructional emails that teach users how to avoid being phished. These can be sent on irregular intervals to ensure the end-users stay alert.

Embracing technology

Some firms have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOB) policy. This allows the users to access data when they need it, wherever they may be, either in the courtroom or the office. It means more devices to protect, but it is a lot safer and easier to pinpoint in case of a breach. The software only allows lawyers to access data via trusted devices, cloud services, and apps. The IT administrators select the different access levels for different employees.

Some firms use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to read unstructured information in legal documents, then store the same in the cloud. The software allows for less human effort and time spent combing through physical documents and also fewer paper documents that may get lost and compromise client information.

Provide a secure visitor check-in

Paper messages can easily expose clients’ data and cause a confidentiality breach. Papers that are improperly filed can end up with the wrong people, while post-it notes that might be stuck in the office on computer screens can give away passwords. Paper logs show who has been in and out of the office on any given day, past or present.

The first step is to eliminate the physical paper logs and use a secure tablet. Management Software for visitor management not only boosts security, but also offers your front desk staff a chance to check visitors in faster and keep an eye on the lobby. When the lobby is secure, potential criminals and unwanted elements are kept away, and the chances of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands are reduced.

Ensure you have 2 Step authentication

Passwords, no matter how strong, can be hacked using a brute force password attack. A 2 step authentication system ensures that no employee can be impersonated by a hacker. Using a password and an extra measure such as fingerprints or retina scans make it harder for any malicious person to log in. Password attacks can come in many forms, and a multi-factor authentication is a secure option.

Insist on social media policies

Most people love sharing their personal information on social media. Social media, while very helpful as far as networking and marketing are concerned, can be very risky and you can inadvertently disclose classified information.

Most lawyers know it is their duty to keep client-attorney discussions private. Sometimes lawyers, in their excitement of winning a case, might disclose private information without meaning to. Official policies spelling out what constitutes a breach of confidentiality must be set out for both lawyers and non-lawyer employees.

Enforce electronic communication policies

Email is the most used in electronic communications. A communication policy must address all digital messages like those sent via apps such as Whatsapp, websites and electronic file transmission. Employees must know enough to double-check any correspondence sent out and ensure it has the right recipient.

The professional email must include an official disclaimer, citing confidentiality, and to avoid opening suspicious emails.  Phishing is a real threat and training is important. Ensure all employee devices, which are the biggest threat, are secure. The IT should ensure firewalls, and all software are up to date.

Conclusion

Attorney-client confidentiality is critical. A client must be assured that all sensitive information given to the lawyer is secure. If any information leaks, a law firm can face expensive lawsuits, so the firm must make every effort to secure its system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *