Data security should be a top concern for solicitors considering the large volumes of sensitive information which are retained and accessed every day.
As we are all aware the cases of cyber-breaches have increased dramatically over the past two years, this will continue to do so as we move forward.
While it is of vital importance to have advanced Anti-virus/Malware software on your firm’s devices, this alone does not provide guaranteed protection.
Cyber-criminals are highly skilled and resourceful, new sophisticated techniques and malware are continually being developed to try to evade detection.
Despite the efforts that are being made across the cyber-security sector, there is always the chance that a breach can occur.
IT Support For Solicitors Tip 1:
Software cannot protect against human error.
Human error has been the primary cause of large-scale data breaches and payments made to fraudulent accounts in many high-profile cases.
We have all witnessed the impact that ransomware has had on the HSE.
Many data breaches and cyber-attacks are initially launched through social engineering techniques that staff fall prey to such as phishing emails.
As data controllers and processors, solicitors and law firms should be on guard from possible cyber-breaches and accidental damage/loss of client and firm’s data.
The financial cost of recovering and rebuilding an I.T. system can be devasting to practices.
- Investigation & remediation costs
- Direct monetary losses-money transferred to fraudulent accounts, client pursuing legal action against the practice for data loss etc.
- Compliance issues/GDPR fines
- Downtime due to inaccessible files
- Damage to reputation
IT Support For Solicitors Tip 2:
The impact of a cyber-attack or an incident that incurs data loss can be greatly minimised by being proactive and taking action before the event.
The current level of IT risk to solicitors and law firms
A European survey from CWSI reveals that 54% of Irish companies have seen a rise in cybersecurity breach attempts in the last year, the highest in Europe and compared to 42% on average for European firms.
Phishing is perceived to be the highest cybersecurity threat in Ireland (76%), followed by human error (58%) and ransomware (46%).
The survey also found that 55% of Irish SMEs/Organisations believe that security is the most important factor to continue a remote working option for staff.
Of those, 97% believe that secure remote working technologies are key to enabling workers to access files and communicate safely and reduce the risk of an I.T. breach. (1)
Despite the findings of this survey, which indicates a high level of awareness concerning the subject of cyber security issues there is still a high level of GDPR fines being issued relating to data breaches.
According to Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, a total of 6,615 data breaches were reported in 2020. In comparison to its E.U. counterparts, Ireland has the sixth-highest level of breach notifications across Europe and the third highest on a per capita basis. (2)
Of course, some of these fines would be due to a lack of transparency and consent around the processing of data. However, with the substantial increase in cyber attacks on SMEs/Organisations globally during the pandemic, there is a direct correlation in the figures.
As CWSI Ronan Murphy- CEO comments
“Many businesses and IT leaders are over-confident in their ability to protect data from loss or theft, without the necessary security measures to back this up, and there is a clear disparity and false sense of security here which needs to be addressed.”(1)
Solicitors are well aware of the fines that data breaches can cost a company with many practices specialising in this area. Therefore, a high standard of data protection and cyber security is fundamental to any size law firm or sole practising solicitor.
IT support for solicitors & law firms, security, data protection and GDPR
While the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR does not state specifically what security measures organisations should implement, “Articles 25 and 32 do place an obligation on data controllers and processors to implement data protection by design and default and ‘appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk, taking into account:
- the state of the art
- the costs of implementation
- the nature, scope, context, and purposes of processing; and
- the likelihood and severity of the risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals.
It goes on to suggest the following indicative list of appropriate measures.
- the pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data.
- the ability to ensure the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing systems and services.
- the ability to restore the availability and access to personal data in a timely manner in the event of a physical or technical incident; and
- a process for regularly testing, assessing, and evaluating the effective of technical and organisational measures for ensuring the security of the processing.
Data controllers and data processors are also obliged to ensure that their staff and “other persons at the place of work” are aware of security measures and comply with them. The legal obligation to keep personal data secure applies to every data controller and data processor, regardless of size.” (3)
IT Support For Solicitors Tip 3:
Conduct a thorough review of your current policies and procedures relating to your firm’s GDPR compliance and Cyber Security protocols.
Here are some points to consider:
- Are the measures you have in place robust enough to withstand a breach?
- Do you have an emergency response plan in place if such a scenario was to occur?
- Does your staff have a direct I.T. specialist to contact immediately if there were suspicious emails, alerts, or unknown software appearing on their work devices?
- Are all files securely backed-up and up to date?
- Is your back-up sufficient to restore the bulk of the vital documents and files that your firm requires to operate and support clients?
- Is your back-up clearly organised and easily accessible to trusted I.T. remediation services?
- Have you ever tested your current recovery system to ensure that it is an effective resource to have in a crisis?
If you can’t answer YES to each of the above points take action now.
How I.T. Support 4U can upgrade your backup systems
I.T. Support 4U provides top-grade security software. BCDR systems and secure online file sync & share platforms that are all 99.99% HIPAA, GDPR & SOC2 Type II compliant.
These are offered in affordable monthly packages which also gives your solicitors practice priority access to I.T. support for any difficulties that you may experience while in the office or remote working.
This allows you to focus on your work without the inconvenience of having to source various I.T. services to deal with mundane tech-related problems.
It also ensures that you have a designated specialist on call if you were ever in a position that required files and data recovered.
The file protection and BCDR systems that we provide offer a higher level of security and retention time in comparison to other technology on the market.
Six-month versioning protects against accidental deletion, and corrupted data can be recovered quickly by users or with the assistance of our specialist I.T. manager. Our BCDR systems can retain files for longer periods.
Datto’s BCDR technology is reliable and image-based. Through performing continuous file and folder backups business documents are protected against ever-present threats such as human error, hardware failure, ransomware, and lost or stolen devices.
Once connected to the internet the backup is performed whether you are on the move or in the office. “Rapid roll-back” restore options allow users to target specific files and folders rather than having to restore large volumes of data to gain access to certain material.
However, if you were in a scenario in which you required a full restore this can be done quickly and efficiently. This means you can bounce back faster than before rather than the painfully slow process of rebuilding the system from missing every file, folder, and scanned document!
The range of Datto BCDR products can accommodate any size of solicitors or law firm including single solicitors. There are various products to choose from which can meet your requirements.
- DATTO WORKPLACE–File Sync & Share Platform
- DATTO FILE PROTECTION–continous file & folder backup,data encrypted.
- DATTO CLOUD CONTINUITY FOR PCs–BCDR system for PCs provides complete backup of all data stored on specific PCs- ideal for sole business owners.
- DATTO ALTO 3– Suited to small-medium businesses,all-in-one BCDR system, infinite cloud retention & back-up appliance to provide complete protection.
- DATTO SIRIS–Suited to medium to larger businesses,all-in-one BCDR system, infinite cloud retention & back-up appliance to provide complete protection.
To learn more about IT support services for solicitors we provide, click the button below to book a free no-obligation consultation.