Law firms and in-house legal departments are charged with protecting the private information of the clients and companies they serve. However, over a 100 law firms have reported data breaches, according to Cybersecurity threats are one of the leading threats to any business, including law firms. Below is 2b1 Inc’s prediction of the top 10 cybersecurity threats to law firms and in-house legal departments in 2020:

  1. Phishing/Social Engineering Attacks

Phishing occurs when a fraudulent email, text, or message is sent by an individual or business pretending to be a reputable company to induce an individual to reveal personal or corporate information, such as financial account information or passwords. Phishing attempts may also contain malware. Phishing attempts are not new, but continue to become more creative and harder to spot. Phishing scams are easy to deploy and highly effective. Cybercriminals would stop using them if they didn’t work. In the high paced legal field, it is easy for employees to click before investigating the source of an email or message leaving a law firm vulnerable to attacks. Employees receive on average 4.8 phishing emails in a 5-day work week and 30% of phishing emails make it past default security, according to Small Business Trends. Proper cybersecurity training for employees and privacy policies are essential in order to combat phishing and prevent data breaches and loss. Advanced email security software in addition to proper cybersecurity software is vital. Software should include intelligent scanning, full-suite protection, and layered security. Contact 2b1 Inc. for assistance in finding the right cybersecurity software and employee security training to protect your firm.


  1. Mobile Devices and Other BYODs

The amount of firm and client data stored on mobile devices and other BYODs (“Bring Your Own Device”) continues to grow, because of the hectic schedules, demands, and the workaholic nature of legal professionals, increasing the likelihood of a data breach. Every device used to access your law firm’s system is another end point that may be vulnerable to an attack. Apps on the devices may contain malware posing a serious threat to a law firm’s data and system. Proper employee cybersecurity training and firm BYOD policies are essential to any firm in order to prevent data breaches. Risk can also be reduced by implementing a secure web application infrastructure with real-time vulnerability management. Contact 2b1.Inc. for employee cybersecurity training and cybersecurity consulting.


  1. IoT

The use of IoT (“Internet of Things”) devices is growing within law firms and can create efficiency within the firm. However, IoT devices also allow more entry points for hackers posing additional security threats to a law firm’s network. Not all IoT devices on the market have the adequate security and provide security patches promptly. Connected cameras, smart locks/alarms, smart lights, voice assistance, and smart thermostats/HVAC are some examples of IoT devices that firms may use. Choosing the right smart devices, proper password management, managing software updates/patches, and high-quality endpoint security can help protect your law firm from IoT device breaches. Contact 2b1 Inc. for employee cybersecurity training, cybersecurity software, and software update management.


  1. Cloud Security Issues

Any place data is stored will be targeted by cybercriminals and cloud solutions are no different. Cloud services provide many benefits to law firms and can be as safe or safer than older methods of storing data if managed and protected properly. You can feel secure in saving your firm’s data to the cloud by taking the right precautions such as having backups, using encryption, strong passwords, cybersecurity software, security testing, choosing the proper cloud provider, and having the right cloud-based software. Contact 2b1 Inc. for assistance with cloud services, cloud-based practice management software and protecting your data.


  1. Ransomware

Ransomware is malware that infects a system and encrypts the systems data, so the data cannot be accessed until the ransom is paid to the cybercriminal that initiated the ransomware. Although, ransomware attacks targeted towards individuals is decreasing, business related ransomware incidences are on the rise. Companies have more incentive to pay the ransom in order to have their data released than a private individual. Firewalls, antivirus software, employee cybersecurity training, and business continuity/disaster recovery plans can assist in preventing or mitigating the effects of ransomware. An effective business continuity/disaster recovery plan will include separate backups, so if a law firm’s system is infected their data can be recovered from the backup. However, cybersecurity software has a new challenge with the emersion of a new hybrid ransomware and data breach program that encrypts systems while in safe mode. The new programs instruct Windows to run a safe mode reboot and then encrypts the system while in safe mood, according to SC Magazine. Most security software does not run in safe mode leaving the system vulnerable to this new ransomware strategy. Contact 2b1 Inc. for ransomware protection options and employee cybersecurity training.


  1. Third Parties

Vendors, Consultants, Contractors, and Partners all pose a cybersecurity risk for law firms and the companies of in-house legal departments. A firm or company can take all the necessary cybersecurity measures within their organization and may still be vulnerable to an attack by a third party that did not take the correct measures to secure their company’s system and devices. Law firms frequently use contractors to help manage discovery projects and other projects leaving the firm’s system vulnerable to the carelessness of a contractor. Often a contractor is given access to a law firm’s or company’s network without the proper cybersecurity training. The proper policies, network access requirements, and cybersecurity training can help protect your firm or company from data breaches and malware attacks introduced by third parties. Contact 2b1 Inc. for cybersecurity solutions and consulting to protect your firm or company from third party threats.


  1. Shortage in Cybersecurity Professionals

As cybersecurity threats increase the demand for cybersecurity professionals out numbers the supply. The number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs is expected to grow by 350%, from one million positions in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2021, according to Cybercrime Magazine. This is particularly concerning for in-house legal departments or large firms with in-house IT departments with inadequate cybersecurity staff caused by the shortage. 2b1 Inc. IT consultants can assist your firm in filling the gaps in cybersecurity protection caused by staffing shortages by providing employee cybersecurity training, cybersecurity software, and IT consulting.


  1. Cybersecurity Budgets

Companies are increasing their cybersecurity budgets and so should law firms. This is particularly concerning for small law firms that have smaller budgets or do not see the importance in investing in cybersecurity. 2b1 Inc. can work with your firm’s budget to find the cybersecurity protection and employee cybersecurity training your firm needs.


  1. Insider Attacks

A law firm’s or company’s own employees are one of the greatest security threats to a firm’s or in-house legal department’s system and data. Disgruntled and careless employees leave your firm’s and company’s data and system open to attacks and data breaches. Proper system access level protocols, system access monitoring, policies, and employee cybersecurity training can help reduce the risk of insider attacks and accidental system compromise. Contact 2b1 Inc. for cybersecurity consulting and cybersecurity training services.


  1. Data Management

You cannot protect your firm’s data if you do not know where sensitive private data lives within your firm’s system. Law firms, especially small firms, lack the data management policies, procedures, and software platforms to organize, store, and archive their data to ensure the proper access levels for employees and third parties are in place. Data scattered throughout a firm’s system without the correct document management software and practice management software leaves a law firm at risk for data breaches and loss. Proper document management and practice management software can also decrease insurance costs, because of the proven decreased occurrences of data breaches and other activities that increase insurance claims. Contact 2b1 Inc. for information on document management software and practice management software solutions. You can also read more about practice management software at “Top 5 Reasons Your Firm Needs Legal Practice Management Software” and “Choosing a Practice Management Software.”

Make the resolution to secure your law firm’s network and data in the New Year. Contact 2b1 Inc. for assistance in protecting your firm or company from cybercriminals.

By: Renee Schildgen, Business Development Consultant