There was a time not so long ago that you could leave your front door unlocked at night, your car keys in the ignition, and use the word ‘password’ as your computer’s password and not have too many worries. Those days are long gone. These days cybersecurity has to be a top priority for any company that handles sensitive data, even those that might think of themselves as an unlikely target. With small data breaches occurring almost daily, and major ones on a frequent basis, the importance of computer security can’t be overstated. A breach can cost a company millions of dollars in damages and even put it out of business altogether.
Cyber Security For Vancouver Law Firms
Law firms rely on computer systems and the Internet more than many businesses, for communication between employees and clients, record keeping, scheduling interviews and court appearances, and for collecting and storing the mountains of data they work with. And considering the highly confidential nature of their client’s information and the individual cases they’re involved in, data security is essential. To do other than have the best protection in place would be to fall short in their professional duties and obligations to their clients.
Security Vs. Convenience
Unfortunately, with today’s technology, having a high level of system security means a much lower level of convenience to the users. It’s crucial that companies determine their specific needs and vulnerabilities to find the appropriate balance between information security and user needs. Too many companies underestimate the risks and choose a convenient and easy-to-use system, often to their regret. This is especially true of law firms with their heavy workload. It can be a very costly mistake.
A Multi-Layered Approach To System Security
The most effective approach to cybersecurity is one with multiple layers of protection, each addressing a different vulnerability, with overlapping functions that work together as a whole to erect a strong barrier against hackers and spies. Although there will probably never be a fool-proof system that is 100% secure, there are many precautions that can be taken to get pretty close to one. Here are nine steps your firm can take for the best protection currently available.
9 Steps To Effective Computer Security For Vancouver Law Offices
- Antivirus Protection – Most companies and individuals are already using some software to protect against malware and viruses but they often don’t use it correctly. To be effective an antivirus program needs to be updated for new threats on a regular schedule, and it needs to be monitored and warnings acted upon immediately to contain an attack.
- Firewall Protection – This is much like antivirus protection except it is aimed at protecting hardware components by inspecting data packets and quarantining any that contain code that looks malicious. Like antivirus software, it needs frequent updating and monitoring.
- Internet Gateway Security – This works in tandem with the firewall to scan outbound network requests to known dangerous websites and block the connections. This is effective against ransomware and many other Internet-based threats.
- Anti Spam Software – Spam has been a fact of life since email was invented. As much as 60% of emails are spam. It’s not only annoying, but spam emails can also contain malicious links that can download code to compromise your system. Not all spam will be detected by any product, but good software can catch most of it.
- Two-Factor Authentication – Law firm employees will often need to have access to data when they are outside the office, meaning they will need to log into the system remotely. Having a unique username and password is standard, but two-factor authorization requires another factor to log in, often a randomly generated number sent to their phone. Unlike a password, an encrypted code generated at the time can’t be stolen.
- Mobile Device Authentication – Smartphones have become essential tools, and attorneys will often have a client’s personal information stored on their phone. A stolen and compromised telephone can also be used to impersonate an employee. It’s critical that phones lock after a short time, and require numerical passcodes and a thumbprint to unlock.
- Password Policy – Passwords are the most basic protection for a law firm’s data. Unfortunately, people like to use easy passwords that they can remember and they are often careless about keeping them secure. It may be inconvenient, but strict guidelines requiring regular password changes using a variety of different alphanumeric characters is a must.
- Desktop/Laptop Screen Locks – Employees can’t be around their office computers all the time. Especially at night and on weekends, unauthorized personnel like maintenance workers will have unfettered access to their machines. It’s essential that computers lock after a few minutes and require a password to get in.
- Backups – Regular system backups are necessary for the event of hijacked data that’s being held for ransom or disaster recovery after a fire or a flood. Storage of backed up data should be both onsite and offsite for comprehensive protection.
Implementing these fundamental security measures and maintaining them properly will significantly decrease your vulnerability to information breaches and attacks.
Compunet InfoTech can help your Greater Vancouver law firm design the best data security for your needs. Contact our offices for more information.