1000+
customers

50+ countries
across the world

Outsourcing leader
since 2008

Technology-driven
services

Stringent
quality processes

Law Firms Must Remain Secure in the Remote Work Era: Know How!

Last updated: 24 Feb, 2022 By | 6 Minutes Read

With the rapid shift in the working methods, the IT and security professionals at the law firms are encountering more pressure to make sure their organization is safe and secure from any potential cyber-attack and malfunctioning. 

Since clients provide so much sensitive data and information to their lawyers, law firms have become a prime target of cyber-attacks. As per the 2019 ABA Cybersecurity Tech Report, a data breach has been experienced by 26% of firms and it is sure that you don’t want your law firm to be a part of this 26 percent.  

But as per the experts, this pandemic will still linger around for a decent amount of time. Therefore, law firms must develop a work atmosphere that has safety and wellness along with effective services to the clients. As legal professionals bounce back at the law business, they will encounter a new normal in the way how law firms seem, operate, and provide services.  

Challenges erupted due to remote working

The phenomenon of holding delicate and valuable client information makes law firms the most desirable prey for cyber-attacks. In addition, the pandemic has further increased the vulnerability to these attacks. The reason is that employees are working from home due to lockdown and safety protocols. Unsafe WiFi networks, acquiring proprietary information on insecure home devices, and sharing information via the same machines, provide opportunities for cybercriminals to grab and exploit this vulnerability.     

Covid-19 has made possible what many thought would take decades and compelled law firms to work remotely and till now, it’s working smoothly. However, before the pandemic, if any law firm staff member wanted to work from home in the long term, they would have risked their position just by showing interest in this option. This is now changing drastically because experts have started to consider this working method not just as a temporary covid situation-related solution but also as part of the business’s operating structure in the near future.  

This can be the change that the corporate culture was looking for. But data security still continues to be a big challenge. As when it comes to cybersecurity, law firms have been relatively slow in adopting the right technology to manage risks. Hackers and cyber attackers have started thinking of these law firms as wealthy soft spots of sensitive client information. Also, data breaches can cost a considerable price that is often challenging to recover, including reputational injury, violation of ethics, and loss of clients’ trust.  

How can law firms assure security during the remote work era?

A. Make & maintain the cyber hygiene list

 I. Understand delicate information

Personal information is crucial in the legal profession. This includes not only social security number and driver’s license number but also basic items such as name and address. Sensitive information should be classified into specific definitions like:  

  • Personal information of clients 
  • Personal data of partners and employees  
  • Cases information  
  • Financial information 
  • Business proprietary information 

II. Protecting delicate information

Safeguarding sensitive information is law firms’ legal obligation. As employees are working remotely these days, it has to be made sure that the workstation they are using is protected. Start with: 

  • Introducing a strict cybersecurity policy for all employees. 
  • Understanding the security protocol differences between company-owned systems and (Bring-Your-Own-devices). 
  • Implement common sense. While using a family member’s computer, don’t access your work email and software.

Also Read: Impact of Data Breach on the Legal Industry

III. BYOD checklist for safe home usage

  • Clear all the junk from cache and log files to ensure clean digital workspaces.  
  • Install an extensive security suite that includes an anti-malware Virtual Private Network (VPN) with a password manager for connecting to public WiFi securely.  
  • Keep your workstation in lock mode when not in use. 
  • Shred useless print documents before throwing them in the junk.  
  • Turn on automatic updates to ensure all devices stay up-to-date. 
  • Uniformly change the login password for your home router.  
  • Create strong passwords for logging in and creating WiFi home networks. 

IV. Checklist for safe usage in a public place

As commerce sets back in motion and the world begins to open up, the urge to sit in your favorite cafe and sip coffee while working can be pretty intense. Therefore, if you find yourself working in a public space, make sure:  

  • Sit in a position so that others can’t view your screen.  
  • Never leave your devices unattended. 
  • Step outside when on call to avoid being overheard. 
  • Never use public WiFi without a VPN  .
  • Try using your cellular data instead of public WiFi.

 V. Checklist for handling devices and accounts

Hackers are also evolving in order to adapt to the remote-work culture and are looking forward to you going home, connecting to your WiFi, and making a mistake so they can attack your system via one of the many connected devices in your house. So take the required measures and for devices that travel with you, make sure: 

  • To use passwords for accessing other devices like printers, tablets, phones to ensure nothing bad happens in case they get stuck into the wrong hooks. 
  • Make sure your devices get locked automatically in case you lose them.  
  • Never share your devices with anyone as they can return with a virus.  

VI. Ensure third parties are safe

Most risks discovered in cyber risk assessments and security tests are imperfect information handling processes or third-party security issues due to a rushed project. “Loose ends” from vendors installed and configured technology who lack their own security program are also common. Here are a few measures which you can imply: 

  • Conduct uniform cybersecurity risk assessment on anyone handling your data and look for security certifications on websites for cloud and software providers.  
  • Set requirements for third parties to have their own information security policies and programs.  
  • Compel vendors to sign agreements requiring that they submit to audits and show that they comply with the new U.S guidelines in cybersecurity and privacy by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

    B. Set clear expectations with clients and staff

    Communication is an essential aspect of preparing your staff and clients for transitioning from in-person law practice to working remotely. Begin with introducing expectations and transition methods with the team, for example, which virtual communication platforms to use, the deliverables’ submission process, and how meetings will be conducted. Acknowledge your client ahead of time that their in-person meetings may be replaced by video conferencing.   

    Along with telling them how you will be moving to remote work, tell them the reason why this shift is happening. This will help your employees and clients understand the transition and develop a positive mindset regarding it.  

    C. Make sure your staff is fully equipped for remote work

    In order to make remote working an efficient process, make sure your staff has an access to the required equipment and technology. All Attorneys, paralegals, and office managers of the firm must have access to a computer, strong internet, and a telephone connection at their residence.

    Install remote-access VPN or cloud-based management solutions to ensure secure access to all your files and data of the firm. Acquire chat and collaboration software for smooth communication. Move to video conferencing from in-person meetings.   

     

    Install remote-access VPN or cloud-based management solutions to ensure secure access to all your files and data of the firm. Acquire chat and collaboration software for smooth communication. Move to video conferencing from in-person meetings.

    D. Keep a check on staff productivity

    It has become challenging to communicate and coordinate due to the initialization of lockdowns and cancellation of in-person meetings. So don’t lose time while you are working from home. Set timelines for regular updates and be even more communicative than before in email, phone, or through virtual platforms. Ask your employees to time their working day.

    This will give you the serenity that the business is progressing forward. If you have any non-billable staff in your team, you can track their productivity by logging their calls and tasks performed daily. Through this, you will stay ensure that employees are working on the relevant tasks and projects. Take the help of a virtual legal assistantif you feel overwhelmed with answering calls and cannot focus on managing your team. The employees should also retain the standards for time and billing.  

    E. Conduct training

    Even with the aid of all the available tools, the most vulnerable point that hackers can take advantage of is you. Schemes like Phishing emails can install ransomware or any other harmful virus when a link is clicked. But this can be avoided by generating basic online security awareness. Conduct occasional training for your team to educate them. You can also take the assistance of legal support solutions provider for this.  

     

    F. Look for stolen usernames and passwords

    As per a recent survey, almost 35% of the companies that hackers attacked traced the breach to the activities of a remote worker and disturbingly, one-fourth of all hacks were a result of password problems. Therefore, it is important to consistently check for stolen usernames and passwords and keep changing the passwords regularly. Also, it is vital to check whether any one of your email accounts has been compromised or is safe. 

    Conclusion

     This is the situation that the legal industry is facing, just like the whole world, It should be considered that there will be occasions where the staff want or need to work from home due to childcare, health issues, etc. Also, getting back to work after the pandemic won’t be as straightforward as it was during pre-pandemic times. Nobody knows how long it will take things to start getting back to normal. 

    Amid all these disruptions and effects caused by the pandemic, are you looking for solutions to manage excessive workload at your law firm? Are you running short of resources to manage operations effectively and securely? If yes, get in touch with Cogneesol offering practical legal support solutions. We have the answers to all your queries related to legal process management.

    To learn how we can help, call our experts today! Call at +1 646-688-2821 or email at info@cogneesol.com. 

    Latest Blogs

    Virtual Bookkeeping: Everything You Need to Know [Infographic]
    Read More
    blog-img

    Practical Ways for Lawyers to Be More Productive [Infographic]

    Read More
    blog-img

    A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Realistic Revenue Goals for CPA Firms

    Read More
    blog-img

    Role of BPO in the Insurance Industry: Experts Opinion

    Read More
    blog-img

    Boosting the Accounting Function: A Guide for Restaurant Owners

    Read More
    blog-img

    Top Tax Planning Strategies to Follow in 2022

    Read More