As law firms strive to become more efficient and move towards the much sought after “paperless” office environment, cyber security must remain at the forefront of any technology initiative. But how can law firms be expected to manage and protect their network infrastructure in addition to managing client matters and cases? While technology can certainly help manage the workload, it shouldn’t have to be a part of your firm’s core competencies.
Unlike the standards and regulations in the United States, Canadian law firms are not explicitly required to use technology as part of their practice. However, the codes of professional conduct and the Technology Practice Management Guideline provided by the Law Society of Upper Canada, does make note of the ethical obligations that require law professionals to adapt to the changing information technologies available to them. With the right technology in place, a law firm can see noticeable improvements in the time consuming process of client intake, tracking of billable hours and overall back office productivity.
Cybercrime and Law Firms
As a law firm determines how to incorporate the use of necessary information technologies for the maintenance and enhancement of their practice, they often discover that the data they work with can be seen as a high value target for cybercrime. Documents filled with highly sensitive information, social insurance numbers and/or financial information is often transmitted between several parties via e-mail communications or shared drives. Because of this, security has to remain the firm’s top priority and should be on upper level management’s radar. Law firms and other professional service businesses often find outsourcing their technology management needs is the best course of action. Outsourcing IT needs to a managed service provider can result in numerous benefits including:
- Reassurance that off-site servers are not only encrypted and protected but are also at secured locations that meet data sovereignty regulations. Having a team of experts monitoring security is any law firm’s best protection.
- The inspection of all traffic on the firm’s network. Analyzing questionable traffic rapidly, restricting malicious activity, and remediating any damage becomes the duty of your IT provider. Results include optimal network efficiency, secured infrastructure and maximum up-time.
- IT service providers can also implement and enforce privileged accounts. Whether threats come from insiders of your organization or not, a good account management system will make it harder for outside attackers to obtain the enhanced privileges that are usually necessary to expose important data.
Partner with a Virtual CIO
A virtual CIO (Chief Information Officer) can be utilized to design a technology road-map that focuses on aligning your IT needs with a focus on improving business functions. A virtual CIO can formulate strategic goals, plan budgets, analyze and rework business processes while providing more forward driven technology initiatives.
With the help of a virtual CIO services, like Compulite provides, you can be certain that a comprehensive security plan is put in place, to ensure your law firm or small business follows its due diligence in the protection of sensitive business data. Partnering with a virtual CIO can go beyond the typical duties of an IT Service Provider and can be relied upon for strategic advice on the latest technologies. With their industry expertise, IT initiatives can be deployed that bring you a competitive advantage and help run your practice better.
Things to Consider
Your firm’s security posture should not remain static but perpetually evolve to address new threats as they emerge. Outsource your technology needs to a service provider with proven experience in navigating data sovereignty regulations, disaster recovery planning and who will implement the right security measures that provide protection while not obstructing productivity. It will ensure your firm meets compliance standards within industry as well as assure client confidentiality remains intact.
Remember that the biggest security hole in every organization is its people, so provide end-user training. Cyber security awareness sessions don’t have to be an expensive one-time event. Yearly sessions the cover current trends and vulnerabilities will help all those in your firm retain best practices and translate security awareness into changed behaviors.