Regardless of where you work, cybersecurity should be a top concern. The average cost of a cyber-attack now exceeds $1 million. But law firms, in particular, need to take security to the next level. Privacy is built into the legal profession’s very foundation and fails to guarantee it could result in an irreparable blow.
Above all, this starts first and foremost with legal marketers. As the businesses’ public-facing representation, it’s up to them to create a strong cybersecurity foundation. Here are a few reasons why legal marketers should improve their cybersecurity knowledge and what steps to start now.
Why Cybersecurity is Essential for Legal Marketers
To start, law firms and the legal profession are a frequent target for cyber-attack for numerous reasons. Like all businesses, they face the standard threat level that simply exists with living in our digital age.
But law firms are especially vulnerable. Cybercriminals know how to hit where it hurts—their case files. In the last few years, ransomware has increasingly jeopardized client data. Ransomware is a unique type of malware. Hackers use it to encrypt essential data, locking their rightful owners out. To regain access, victims must pay a fee or ransom.
Hackers have already attempted to extort $42 million from law firms around the country. But that’s not all. Unsurprisingly, even firms that have eventually given into hackers and paid the ransom still haven’t been able to regain access.
And this leads to the largest single-issue threatening law firms—liability. Most legal practices know just how important this concept is. Well, it can get turned back around on them if judges find them liable for not adequately safeguarding their data.
Everybody in a law firm must work together to protect cybersecurity. But the burden of this undoubtedly falls on marketers.
Marketers have access to all kinds of sensitive information and accounts. They have an idea of what’s going on inside the law firm and control access to important firm channels, including email, web, and social media. If hackers get access to these, they might deface them and post messages that harm the firm.
Or they’ll leverage access to these to infiltrate personal accounts or private networks. Either way, it is dangerous. That’s why now is a good moment for marketers to use their position to advocate for better security measures.
Key Ways to Improve Law Firm Cybersecurity
Radically improving cybersecurity neither has to be a difficult nor expensive proposition. Taking steps in a few key areas will pay off immensely. Here are five easy, affordable, and effective measures all legal marketers should take.
1. Get Serious About Network Security
The vast majority of all digital threats happen over the internet. This is the main access channel people have to your network and devices—so you need to secure it.
The easiest and most effective thing to do is use a VPN. VPNs or virtual private networks harness encryption power to prevent hackers from gaining access to your internet connection. They also anonymize your IP addresses helping to minimize your digital footprint.
With high-quality VPNs like NordVPN, you can get robust security plus a wide array of other benefits for legal marketers like anonymous research and local SEO research, making them the ultimate win-win.
2. Enhance Your Account Security
With access to so many important accounts come great responsibility. Now’s not the time to recycle passwords and lead hackers right to your doorstep. Every account must be secured with a unique, complex, and lengthy password.
That’s why you need a password manager. Password managers help you create, manage, and store highly secure passwords that no hackers could ever crack. Be sure to enhance your security by also enabling two-factor authentication and biometric security tools.
3. Backup Your Files
Files are the lifeblood of any legal office. Unfortunately, so many firms still don’t have adequate backups in place—and some have no at all.
You must follow the rule of three. That means having all important data backed up in three different places and at least two different media (i.e., hard disk and cloud).
With secure backups in place, you reduce the damage hackers can do via ransomware immensely. Just make sure you also encrypt all backups while you’re at it.
4. Maintain the right software
We’re not saying go out there and spend millions on antivirus solutions. But find a powerful antivirus/antimalware solution and make sure it is applied to all devices. At the same time, don’t let hackers in the back door by failing to take updates seriously.
Hackers routinely exploit vulnerabilities in software, operating systems, and even content management systems like WordPress. Fortunately, responsible developers usually find these holes quite quickly. All you have to do is to update! Turn on auto-updates and check once daily manually.
5. Create a Contingency Plan
By following cybersecurity protocol, you’ll hopefully never have an issue. But we all know the expression, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” Your contingency plan should include incident response procedures, physical data copies you can rely on, and other elements to make sure you never lose a second of productivity.
It’s Time to Get Serious About Security
Legal marketers need to start taking cybersecurity seriously. You have a responsibility to your firm, your clients, and yourself. Start integrating these tips and tools into everything you do now.