Increasing Security Risks for Law Firms

Over the start of the year 2020, some law firms have acknowledged the increase of security risks in their industry. Many law firms also find that data risks are very scary and costly. It should be that way, due to the large amount of sensitive data their clients have trusted onto them.

The downfall in today’s law industry is that many still lack the fortification and safeguarding of their data. There are some law firms that are still very traditional and ignore threats that can be caused by data breaches, security threats, and other forms of attack.

In reference to the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which was hacked in 2016. The data hack lead to a leakage of 2,600 GB of data, most of which was attorney-client privileged information, and in addition to that there were documents related to offshore businesses.

The risks pertaining to data security for law firms are increasing, as law firms hold the second most valuable data, compared to the financial institutions. To ensure that your highly reputed law firm and data-rich storage of sensitive digital information should be fortified with only required personnel access, like what some government entities use in today’s fight for data privacy and protection.

Types of Data that could be exploited from Law Firms

If internal data storage is not secured and fortified, law firms that store digital sensitive information, could have the following data exploited:

  • Patent information
  • All Communications between Clients and Attorneys that is confidential – Client-Attorney privilege
  • Personal Identity (Personal Information – PI) of Employees
  • Clients and 3rd party service providers personal data
  • Sensitive Data pertaining to insider deals
  • Healthcare information
  • Authorized lawsuit strategy information
  • Highly confidential business growth and expansion information
  • Confidential payment details, such as credit cards and data pertaining to finances

Are Law Firms Ready for Digital Security of their Data

Not yet! Some of the major law firms are not fully complying with Data privacy rules and regulations. While many law firms are not aware of the threats or cost of utilizing a non-secure medium for communications or storing data, having a CTO, or Technical background personnel can keep law firms into acquiring the right data security platform.

In general cases, law firms do have the weakest link in terms of securing data and how communications with their clients occur either through a 3rd party service provider that doesn’t have any encryption or security protocols.

Potential Consequences

There are fatal consequences of insecure and open client data. Firstly, if the data has been exploited, the reputation of the law firms’ clients will be damaged, aside the fact that a chain reaction of events will occur, such as monetary, compliance, and legal troubles. Bankruptcy is inevitable.

Secondly, when the industry knows that a law firm has a data breach or exploitation of sensitive information, it gets removed from the industry. Existing clients will terminate your services, and potential clients are most likely to move to another competitor. When a law firm’s confidential data is exploited, the law firm faces the worst fate possible.

What Are the Moral Responsibilities of Law Firms?

When it drills down to the confidentiality and privacy of client’s data and information, there are responsibilities of law firms and attorneys. Law firms are completely aware of the AMA Model Rule 1.6( c ) which states:

“[a]lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.” (Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information, 2020)

Most law firms do not use a data protected platform to communicate, manage and execute their work. Utilizing a secured and private network of systems that fortifies the law firm’s data is crucial in data protection protocols.

Data Security Recommendations for Law Firms

Law firms should make data privacy and confidentiality a priority and take proper measures to ensure the safety of their client’s data and owns are secured. A couple of ways to ensure a law firms data is a secured:

  • Data encryption
  • Limited network and data access privileges
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Multiple layers of data and network security
  • Data discovery and classification
  • Patching and software updates
  • Employee training and education in data security and confidentiality

Besides the recommendations, always run a thorough background check with vendors to ensure they have all their policies in place, and most of all are a complete data security platform.

Dooth Vault is a secured web application that incorporates multi-layer security protocols to run your entire organization in just one web application. Secured file sharing with password encryption and first of a kind video verification, interactive online meeting that can host up to 1000+ attendees, Dooth Exchange that includes email, internal chat system, a messaging app, calendar, and notes. All these features securely integrated into one web application to ensure your data is safeguarded and secure. Dooth Vault brings you a securely fortified and complete business suite platform with the highest care for your data privacy and confidentiality. Dooth Vault – Be Confident. It’s Confidential!

Reference:

Americanbar.org. 2020. Rule 1.6: Confidentiality Of Information. [online] Available at: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_1_6_confidentiality_of_information/