Network Security Best Practices

Law Firm Network Security Best Practices for Protecting Data

Like nectar attracts honeybees, law firms harboring lucrative data attract cybercriminals. Meanwhile, clients trust legal professionals to safeguard their most intimate secrets, whether it’s corporate information related to intellectual property or confidential personal information details from a case. For this reason, it’s paramount that network security for law firms be taken seriously.


Hackers of all types target law firms for myriad reasons. There are attacks by fraudsters and hacktivists, unprincipled competitors and nation-states. To help firms of all sizes, from solo practices to multi-branch offices, we present our expertise in the form of an easily digestible set of best practices.

Know Which Threats Most Significantly Impact Network Security for Law Firms

Your firm should have a good understanding of the most common threats targeting law firms. Top threats to watch include:


Ransomware - Keep an eye on the latest trends in the world of computer viruses. In recent years, ransomware has become the most feared threat vector, wreaking havoc across the globe. As you may deduce from the name, ransomware is programmed to lock infected systems or data until a ransom is paid. A similar class called wiperware is also on the rise, but unlike ransomware, wiperware is specifically programmed to wipe an infected system of all its contents.


Outdated Technology - Considering the rate of change in technology, what was cutting edge just a few years ago is now obsolete in many cases. This means law firms that fail to keep their network security infrastructure current make themselves more susceptible to hacks. You should keep close tabs on the systems and software you rely on to conduct business.


Weak Password Policies - Cracking weak passwords continues to rank as one of the most common ways for hackers to gain access to networks. If your firm doesn’t stress the importance of using strong passwords, you’re putting your practice and its clients in undue jeopardy.


Hacktivist - In simplest terms, a hacktivist is an activist hacker driven by a political or social agenda. Attackers that fit into this category are more interested in exposing secrets than financial gain. Law firms that represent clients in socially controversial industries such as big oil, big pharma banking and others are more likely to be targeted by hacktivists.


Develop a Robust Plan to Ensure Your Security

After you have established a firm understanding of your threats, it’s time to design and implement a solid plan to address each one. Here’s a list of essentials to follow:


  • Create a thorough list of all the hardware and software you’re using. Establish that everything is up to date. Also, ensure that your vendors still maintain the software and systems you’re using. Microsoft, for example, announced the company would end official support for Windows 7 as of January 2020.


  • Hire or elect a highly skilled, technically literate employee to be your point person regarding network security. If you don’t have the talent in-house, consider hiring a managed network security provider like ChimeNet.


  • Rely on the protection afforded by next-generation solutions. Network security pioneers like Cisco, for example, offer a portfolio of bleeding-edge network appliances and services engineered to bolster the most sensitive networks.


  • Have your breach plan ready. Know the policies you should follow during as well as after a breach. When it comes to network security, unfortunately, it’s not a matter of if, but when you'll be attacked. According to the ABA’s 2019 Cybersecurity Survey, “26% of respondents report that their firms have experienced some sort of security breach” in 2019.


  • Make it a priority to keep your staff educated on the latest threats. Given the vastness of the modern threat landscape, securing your network is an “all-hands-on-deck” operation. Train all employees to properly handle email, manage devices holding sensitive data and practice secure web browsing etiquette.


  • Encrypt everything. Encryption is an affordable, highly effective risk management tool. Use encryption to protect laptops and other devices that contain client information. If a device is lost or stolen, the encrypted data is useless without a key.


Hire a Managed Service Provider

With over 20 years of experience, ChimeNet can help your firm shore up its network security. As a certified Cisco Premier partner, we can help you procure, install and manage next-generation Cisco solutions. Engineered to detect, monitor and thwart even the most sophisticated threats, our clients rely on these renowned security appliances to protect their organizations. As a managed service provider specializing in network security, we help law practices of all sizes to create secure network systems.


To learn more about our managed services and how we can help secure your law firm, visit our network security overview.