Cybersecurity Best Practices for Hybrid and Remote Law Firms – New Technology
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, law firms continue to transition to a hybrid working model, providing their employees with more flexibility which, in turn, attracts more talent, improves retention and encourages growth. productivity.
The sudden and dramatic shift to remote operations just a few years ago facilitated a rapid digital transformation, virtualizing almost everything from paper documents to customer meetings to IT infrastructure. Digital transformation has brought significant benefits to the practice of law, such as improved information management, workflow efficiency, employee satisfaction, and improved client service. These key business advantages have become essential in an increasingly competitive legal market.
However, with the added benefits come significant risks.
As Canadian enterprises move to a more digitized hybrid work model, with members of the enterprise accessing systems from different locations and devices, they are exposed to more risk for three main reasons:
- Remote/hybrid workers have a larger attack surface, both digital and physical.
- The complexity of managing a hybrid network and remote users, combined with the increased risk it presents, places much higher demands on IT departments, which can lead to critical security holes in the infrastructure.
- The number of opportunistic and targeted cyberattacks has been on the rise since the shift to remote working, and law firms are being targeted.
The most common cyberattack against hybrid law firms
Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to attack, however, phishing emails are the most common, as they exploit the main hybrid workplace vulnerability: lawyers and staff.
Phishing emails are typically used for two main purposes:
The goal of a credential-seeking phishing email is to convince the target to click on a malicious link, visit their website, and insert their username and password. passes under the impression that it is a legitimate account, such as a bank or a retail offer. Another method is to stealthily load keylogging software onto the user’s device, which then records and transmits their credentials to cybercriminals, effectively handing them the keys to the network.
Canada often ranks among the best countries affected by ransomware, and in the first half of 2021 alone, the number of attacks increased by 151%. Opportunistic ransomware attackers will send phishing emails with links that, when clicked, launch ransomware on the user’s device. This is done discreetly, without the user noticing, so that the ransomware can spread through their files and shared network folders, encrypting and locking data as it penetrates deeper. Organizations often don’t know they’ve been infiltrated until they suddenly can’t access critical files and a notice pops up asking for a ransom payment.
There are other cyberattacks from remote users, including viruses, spyware, worms, and Trojans. Enhanced endpoint protection can detect most of them, however, phishing requires more than technology to prevent system infection – it also requires employee attention.
If you want to know how to add a second layer of protection to your organization, consider RICOH Ransomware Containment.
What businesses can do to protect themselves
Despite the challenges, businesses can—and should—quickly respond to today’s challenges and protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats. This is especially true for small businesses which are at serious risk as cybercriminals view them as “low hanging fruits”
Organizations of all sizes can protect themselves affordably with enterprise-grade security. Here’s where to start.
Empower your firm to become your first line of defense against cyber threats. Educating them about the risks, how to spot a phishing email, and cybersecurity best practices to follow will go a long way in protecting your business. There are a number of cybersecurity training modules on the market, many of which offer testing and reporting to ensure everyone is engaged and alert.
Bring your leadership and technology teams together to define – in writing – policies and a plan to implement them. Policies should address user behavior, as well as company practices, technologies, and education to support users and protect your data.
While the specifics vary from company to company, they should include technologies such as endpoint and network protection. Your policies should also address basic security measures, including:
Passwords – Using strong passwords is essential. Passwords should be reset often, at least every 90 days. Weak passwords remain a problem for many organizations and individuals which, while understandable with so many passwords needed today, creates a security risk. You want to educate your employees on what constitutes a strong password, require regular password updates using alerts to remind users, and share tools they can use to simplify password management. Passwords.
Use of mobile devices – If possible, firm members should not use personal devices for work-related activities. Company-provided devices must be secured with PINs or passwords. If a company permits the use of personal devices, it should have a clearly communicated BYOD policy and signed consent for the installation of a mobile device manager that protects company information.
Education – Provide regular training to keep firm members informed about current phishing scams and ransomware, as well as how to handle suspicious notifications, emails and other communications securely. Education is an essential part of the policy to ensure that everyone understands and is aware of their responsibility to secure data and maintain privilege.
Secure your IT infrastructure
With a hybrid workforce, there are plenty of technology options to stay connected. To ensure a secure infrastructure, consider using the following:
Multi-factor authentication – With Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), you add an extra layer of protection around your network and data by requiring users to verify their login credentials in multiple independent ways. For example, you can ask a user to provide a randomly generated code sent to their mobile device or email address to terminate login to a system, after having already entered their username and password. pass.
Endpoint Protection – Due to the heightened risks associated with remote operations, hybrid enterprises must implement anti-threat systems that prevent, detect and act on potential threats. AI-based solutions like SentinelOne use machine learning to monitor the network and immediately recognize any unusual behavior. Once an alert is triggered, security specialists can act quickly to resolve the issue and prevent damage.
Secure traffic with VPN, firewalls and switches – Setting up a virtual private network (VPN) gives employees secure access to your network. Unless you’ve moved to a cloud-only app infrastructure, you should use a VPN to keep your data encrypted and your network secure. VPNs should be secured with next-generation firewalls that provide real-time reporting of threats that bypass endpoint protections. Hybrid intelligence combines both human learning and machine learning to apply rules to specific applications and other functions to allow or deny traffic to the network.
To get a clear picture of your business risks and identify gaps in your IT security, consider booking a security assessment with Ricoh. Book an assessment today.
RICOH empowers digital workspaces by enabling people to work smarter. Through our portfolio of innovative technologies and services, we support organizations, law firms and corporate legal departments on their journey to digital transformation and better business outcomes. Let us help you redefine work and change. For better.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.