Cybersecurity is an unstoppable force in today's digital world. Law firms have been falling victim to data breaches. According to the blog from Above The Law, "Law Firm Data Breaches Surge in 2023", there is an alarming spike in data breaches affecting large
and small law firms. This phenomenon extends beyond the United States, with cybersecurity agencies in the UK and France warning law firms to strengthen their defenses against ransomware attacks. Just as we cannot guarantee 100% immunity from a virus like COVID-19, organizations cannot ensure they won't face a cyber breach. Large corporations with substantial IT resources can't constantly fend off skilled hackers. So, what can small to midsize firms do to strengthen their cyber defenses? Here are 6 practical tips to sharpen your cyber defense:
1. Implement 2FA (MF
Two-factor authentication (2FA), or multi-factor authentication (MFA), is a must! It provides an additional layer of security by requiring users to provide a password and dynamic code generated on their mobile devices. This code changes every 30 seconds, making it exceedingly harder for hackers to breach your account even if they have physical access to your device.
2. Choose Qualified Software Providers and Avoid Silos:
Large tech companies may not always offer affordable solutions tailored to smaller firms. Consequently, smaller organizations often use multiple siloed software applications. This approach can increase security risks due to:
Users are managing numerous passwords, potentially leading to weak password choices.
Need to gain expertise and resources in vetting various software providers.
Significant administrative overhead and difficulty streamlining onboarding and offboarding processes can result in security gaps.
That's why we created MATTEROOM, a single platform to aid small professional service organizations in bridging gaps caused by silos.
3. Implement Unified User Management:
This is the foundation of MIS Security 101. Ensure all your software applications support LDAP-based directory services such as Microsoft Azure AD, MS Active Directory, Google ID, or ApacheDS. This industry best practice simplifies user management and enables quick access revocation during onboarding/offboarding. Avoid systems that do not support LDAP and store all passwords in a database.
4. Prioritize Regular Backups:
Backing up your data is crucial. In the event of a ransomware attack, do not surrender; discard the compromised device/data and restore it from a secure backup. Store your backups offsite, 30 miles away, preferably with a trusted cloud provider like Azure or AWS, which is much more affordable. This ensures your data remains safe even if your primary computing device is compromised.
5. Don't Self-Host:
Hosting your IT infrastructure might have been an acceptable option decades ago, but today, it's an open invitation to hackers. Technology has evolved, and the risks of self-hosting have increased. Use Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions and let the experts handle it. SaaS providers often serve more extensive and prestigious clients, providing an additional layer of security, and most of them also leave the infrastructure (data center) to be managed by the BEST, like Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS. You can also hold the SaaS provider accountable if a breach occurs.
6. Establish and Enforce Good Cybersecurity Habits:
Human error is a significant factor in cybersecurity breaches. Even the most vigilant employees can slip up when tired or busy. To reduce this risk, implement cybersecurity policies:
Enforce a 90-day password change policy through directory services.
Ensure anti-virus and anti-malware Software is installed on all devices.
Keep all computing devices current on upgrades, which can be managed through directory services.
Automating these policies reduces reliance on individual vigilance and enhances your overall cybersecurity without a hefty investment. Complete cybersecurity may be elusive, but small to midsize firms can take practical steps to reduce their vulnerability significantly. These achievable tips can help fortify your defense and protect your organization from cyber threats.