At our recent ‘The Cyber Threat Landscape for Law Firms’ seminar, a number of experts in the industry presented their observations, views and suggestions on how law firms can effectively mitigate the impact of security breaches on their organisations. I thought I’d share some of their top tips with you:

  • Know your people – Hackers manipulate people, so gain an understanding of your employees and the organisational culture so that you can monitor threat activity by exception. This approach will also enable you to ‘grow’ your own social engineers as employees will learn the mindset of hackers to spot potential breaches.
  • Adopt behavioural analytics – Behavioural analytics can help you ‘know’ your employees. This approach provides a ‘finger print’ of each employee’s work practices.  Any change in these habits could serve as a good indicator of a potential breach. For instance, a hacker using a, Intellectual Property lawyers ID to access sensitive M&A files on a matter would instantly flag up to the IT department as an anomaly, for appropriate action to be taken.
  • Block all the ways malware can infiltrate your organisation – Email is one of the most common vectors for malware to make its way into the enterprise. Ensure that your email security systems, network protections and web preventions recognise and block ransomware.
  • Play out the attack scenario – Put your systems to the test. In the event of an attack, how quickly will you be able to gain access to back-ups? Will your most business-critical systems continue to function, if hit by ransomware? Ensure that your contingency resources are adequately insulated from live ransomware attacks.
  • Enlist vendor support – Your technology suppliers must be able to support your systems and ensure that they are always current with security updates. Discuss with them where you can harden your systems, be it via application control, whitelisting, continuous endpoint recording, advanced threat protection and so on.
  • Ensure that security, legal, privacy and compliance teams work together – These disciplines are inter-related and a combined approach will ensure that you develop a comprehensive security framework for your firm, especially with the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Adopt intelligence-driven security operations – Go beyond traditional IT security to embrace Adaptive Threat Processing. This will facilitate a big picture of the threat landscape – everything from assessing new threats, adaptive controls, detecting manifesting threats, mitigating the impact as well as monitoring threats and their evolution.
  • Take a long-term view of security – The threat actors are evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way they operate. They operate differently in different sectors.  As you develop your firm’s cyber defences; incorporate future security requirements, looking at the business and threat scenario at least three to five years ahead so that your security measures remain strong and pre-emptive at all times.

Law firms are a major target for all manner of cyber criminals – from Organised Crime Gangs, Hacktivists and perhaps even Nation States. These above tips will help bring together people, processes and technology to shore up your law firm’s cyber defences in a measured and practical manner.

This blog includes tips from experts from The Security Alliance, iManage, Mimecast, DocuSign, Jenny Radcliffe and QuoScient.