How to protect your law firm’s data and stay protected against security breaches

Category: Blog, Practice Management, Staying Compliant 12th March 2024

On November 24th, 2023, CTS was the victim of a malicious cyberattack. The IT service provider had its services shut down and impacted for almost a month, causing major disruption for law firms across the UK.

This has put a spotlight on the importance of data security and business continuity across the legal industry. With millions of pieces of sensitive data stored in case management systems (CMS) across the sector, it’s crucial firms increase protection and security of their tech. We’ve highlighted four quick wins for law firms to better protect their business data.

4 quick wins to protect your law firm’s data and ensure business continuity

1. Two-factor authentication (2FA) and stronger passwords

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a system that requires two individual steps to gain access to your system. It can be comprised of a regular log-in through a password, with a second step added to it that may include:

  • A code sent through an SMS message through a mobile phone
  • Hardware tokens that require confirmation of your identity
  • Installing an authenticator app to add a second layer of security

Accompanying 2FA with a stronger password will help to protect your data. Effective password best practices include:

  • Avoid using personal information or interests
  • Don’t use personal passwords for work accounts
  • Use password generation websites to create stronger passwords using random lines of letters, numbers, and symbols
  • The password should be longer than 15 characters and include capital letters, special characters, and numbers

With the combination of a strong password and 2FA integration, it helps serve as the first line of defence for protecting access to your data.

2. Role-based access

A legal CMS serves as a single source of truth for all stored data in a law firm. No matter whether you’re at the office or working remotely, all your files and matters are available to you, helping to maintain business continuity if an unforeseen event occurs. However, without controlled access, this could lead to internal breaches.

Setting up role-based access within your CMS sets parameters and restrictions on who can view, edit, or access a file. Role-based access includes protection on client and matter data but also business financials, reports, performance metrics, and more. The security measure enables full control of the data held within your CMS to give leadership – and your clients – peace of mind.

3. Keep your systems up to date

A simple business policy, to implement across your law firm, is to ensure that all your systems and hardware are kept up to date.

Malicious third parties are always looking for weaknesses within a business, and out of date systems or devices is an easy door in.  Not using the latest software release, or up to date device leaves the business vulnerable and less secure.

4. Employee training on your CMS

90% of data breaches occur from human error. Employee cyber training is an important step in avoiding breaches and raising awareness. But, investing in training on your CMS can also help protect your data and help you to operate more securely.  

Operating with good data entry practices, embedding risk management actions in workflows, or securing client communications are ways in which the CMS can protect your data and ensure business continuity.  For example, using a web portal to send and receive client data and documents avoids relying on emails which can potentially be interfered with.  

Prioritising training on your legal software ensures confident users that can utilise the system to perform their best, whilst also following risk best practices.

Incorporate simple operational changes to ensure the security of your data

Rule 2.5 in the SRA Code of Conduct for Firms states, “identify, monitor and manage all material risks to [their] business.” This regulation relates to a multitude of risks a law firm could face including data protection and cyber-attacks.

Your most valuable asset is the data stored within your legal software and these four quick wins are an easy start to ensuring your data is protected and security risks are managed.

Upgrade your case management solution to an all-in-one solution to manage your entire firm today. Book a free consultation today with our product experts and discover how Osprey can help benefit your firm.