Law firms are unique in business. Not only do firms handle massive amounts of digital data, but they are also required to store data for periods much longer than the average company. Law firms are often privy to data which they do not own, and a lax security policy can lead to risk for both a firm and their clients.
Law firms that overcome the digital security challenges of today will be more successful in serving their clients and protecting their future business.
Understand BYOD and Implement Effective Security Policies
The practice of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is commonplace in all sectors of business. BYOD covers the personally owned laptops and mobile devices that employees and associates use every day to perform their legal work. BYOD brings convenience as staff can use familiar devices, and it can also reduce IT procurement expenditure for firms.
For BYOD to be successful, there needs to be a clear strategy for securing devices and controlling how, when, and where they can access sensitive information. If access to data and systems is not tightly controlled, BYOD can become a liability.
A managed IT service can provide ongoing consulting while also designing systems and processes that ensure BYOD does not expose a law firm to data theft.
Develop a Framework of Security for Potential Access Points
In addition to BYOD, data can be accessed through a number of end points. These end points are comprised of internal networks run by legal firms, VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) that provide external access, and all of the individual devices that are used to access sensitive data and systems.
Security policies and systems need to be built from the ground up to protect data at every potential end point. This can include the basics like anti-virus and anti-malware solutions on workstation PCs, as well as the more complex firewalls and traffic routing systems that exist on higher levels of a network.
Law firms don’t typically possess expertise in network and data security. Availing the services of a leading IT consulting firm is essential when developing security policies and systems.
Create Data Retention Policies Suited to the Legal Industry
Data can be both an asset and a liability for law firms. Secure data storage is essential for any organization. Data leads to better decision making through insights, and it can be used to guide long term strategy. Data can also be used effectively in legal proceedings to strengthen the position of a firm and its clients.
Stored data can also be misused and stolen. Older information could even be used against a firm and its clients when it is obtained through the legal process of discovery.
Developing rules around data retention can maximize the use of data as an asset, while reducing the liability of storing expired information that is no longer required by law.
Implementation and Training Through Expert Consultants
For law firms to develop the necessary systems and knowledge to protect data; the assistance of an IT consulting firm is essential. Training helps to remove the human risk of data compromises, and consultation allows for the design of secure systems and policies that safeguard client data and the interests of any legal firm.
With the ever evolving nature of digital security risks, the future success of any law firm will be dependent on how they meet the security challenges of today. With IT security consulting and ongoing support, even the most traditional law firm can implement a modern and versatile digital security strategy.