Are Employees the Greatest Threat to Law Firms’ Security?

on April 9, 2014 by James Hunt

SFTH 11Law firms have been going to great lengths to protect their digital data. From passwords to encryption codes to firewalls, attorneys are making significant efforts to improve their cyber security and protect their clients’ confidential information. However, it is possible that the firm’s own employees are the greatest threat to protecting their clients’ private information.

While most human resource managers provide training for employees on not discussing protected information outside the office and ways to safeguard restricted documentation, but few cover digital data protection measures. Employees pose a threat by inadvertently downloading a virus, losing an unencrypted firm laptop, or through a phishing scheme.

While many law firms do not want to be run like a police state, it is essential to have a security policy that every employee is fully trained on. Attorneys cannot assume they are safe from hackers because they are not working on cases hackers would be interested in, because many viruses simply attack certain types of software.

Law firms must consider whether employees should be allowed to access their personal email accounts using internet services such as Gmail or Yahoo using firm devices. This is a controversial topic for many, so other options should be considered. Of course, remote access to firm information compounds the problem. Firms should store the information in a cloud-based system or an off-site server.

Other helpful actions include requiring strong passwords that are changed every 90 days or, further, require a password and a code generator for a two-factor authentication for remote access. All firm devices should have a program with a “kill command” to implement when a device is lost, allowing the firm to wipe the device clean.

Cybersecurity is a concern for all companies, retailers and law firms. It is important to review your current digital data protection measures and implement policies to safeguard your client and customer’s confidential information.

Slater, Tenaglia, Fritz & Hunt, P.A. is a full service law firm.  Our practice focuses on commercial litigation and personal injury matters.  For over 35 years, we have been providing superior legal counseling and representation to institutional clients, including Fortune 500 Corporations and individuals throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and nationally. We can be contacted by phone: (201) 820-6001 or (212) 692-0200 and we can also be found on the Internet, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Youtube and on Facebook. We also have a network of local counsel throughout the United States. All initial consultations are free.