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Best Cyber Security Practices For Hybrid And Remote Law Firms – New Technology


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, law firms are continuing
to transition to a hybrid work model, affording their employees
more flexibility which, in turn, attracts more talent, improves
retention and encourages productivity.

The sudden, dramatic shift to remote operations just a couple of
years ago facilitated rapid digital transformation, virtualizing
almost everything from paper documents to client meetings to IT
infrastructure. Digital transformation has brought significant
benefits to law practice such as improving information management,
workflow efficiencies, employee satisfaction and enhancing client
service. These key business benefits have become essential in an
increasingly competitive legal market.

However, along with the added benefits comes significant
risks.

As Canadian firms transition to a more digitized, hybrid work
model, with firm members accessing systems from different locations
and devices, they are exposed to more risk for three
primary reasons
:

  1. Remote/hybrid workers have a larger attack surface, both
    digital and physical.

  2. The complexity of managing a hybrid network and remote users,
    combined with the increased risk it presents put significantly
    higher demands on IT departments, which can result in critical
    security gaps in infrastructure.

  3. The number of opportunistic and targeted cyber attacks are on
    the rise since the shift to remote work, and law firms are being
    targeted.

The most common cyber attack on hybrid law firms

Cyber criminals use a variety of methods to attack, however,
phishing emails are the most common, as they exploit the primary
vulnerability in the hybrid workplace – lawyers and
staff.

Phishing emails are typically used for two primary
objectives:

Credentials theft

The goal of a credential-seeking phishing email is to convince
the target to click a malicious link, visit their website and
insert their username and password under the impression that
they’re a legitimate account, such as a bank or retail offer.
Another method is to stealthily load keylogging software onto the
user’s device, which then records and transmits their
credentials back to the cyber criminals, effectively handing them
keys to the network.

Ransomware

Canada often ranks among the top countries impacted
by ransomware, and in just the first half of 2021, the number of
attacks increased by a shocking 151 per cent. Opportunistic
ransomware attackers will send out phishing emails with links that
when clicked, launch ransomware on the user’s device. This is
done quietly, without the user noticing, so that the ransomware can
spread through their files and into shared network folders,
encrypting and locking down data as it penetrates deeper.
Oftentimes, organizations don’t know they’ve been
infiltrated until they suddenly can’t access critical files,
and a notice pops up demanding a ransom payment.

There are other remote user cyber attacks including viruses,
spyware, worms and trojans. Strong endpoint protection can catch
most of these, however, phishing requires more than technology to
prevent system infection – it also requires employee
attention.

If you’re interested in learning about how you can
add a second layer of protection to your organization,
consider
RICOH Ransomware
Containment
.

What firms can do to protect themselves

Despite the challenges, firms can – and should – quickly address
today’s challenges and protect themselves and their clients
from cyber threats. This is especially true for smaller firms who
are at serious risk as cyber criminals view them as
“low-hanging fruit”

Organizations of any size can affordably protect themselves with
enterprise-level security. Here’s where to start.

Change behaviours

Empower your firm members to become your first line of defence
against cyber threats. Educating them about the risks, how to spot
a phishing email, and cyber security best practices to follow will
go a long way toward protecting your business. There are a number
of cyber security training modules on the
market, many of which offer testing and reports to ensure everyone
is engaged and vigilant.

Assemble your leadership and technology teams to define – in
writing – policies and a plan to implement them. Policies should
address user behaviour, alongside firm practices, technologies, and
education to support users and protect your data.

While the specifics will vary from one firm to another, they
should include technologies like endpoint and network protection.
Your policies should also address basic security measures
including:

Passwords – Using strong passwords is a must.
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,
does create a security risk. You want to educate your employees on
what constitutes a strong password, require
password updates regularly using alerts to remind users, and share
tools they can use to simplify password management.

Use of mobile devices – If possible, firm
members should not use personal devices for work-related
activities. Company-issued devices should be secured with pin codes
or passwords. If a firm allows the use of personal devices, they
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 education to keep
firm members informed about current phishing scams and ransomware,
along with how to deal with suspicious notifications, emails and
other communications in a safe way. Education is an essential part
of policy to ensure everyone understands and is aware of their
responsibility to secure data and maintain privilege.

Secure your IT infrastructure

With a hybrid workforce, there are a lot of technology options
to stay connected. To ensure secured infrastructure, consider using
the following:

Multi-factor authentication – With multi-factor
authentication (MFA), you add an extra level of protection around
your network and data by requiring users to verify their login
credentials in multiple, independent ways. For example, you could
have a user provide a randomly generated code sent to their mobile
device or email address to complete logging into a system, after
they have already entered their username and password.

Endpoint protection – Because of the increased
risks that come with remote operations, hybrid companies should
implement anti-threat systems that prevent, detect and act on
potential threats. AI-based solutions such as SentinelOne use
machine learning to monitor the network and immediately recognize
any unusual behaviours. Once an alert is triggered, security
specialists can act quickly to remediate the problem and prevent
damage.

Secure traffic with VPN, firewall and switches
Implementing a virtual private network (VPN) provides
employees secure access to your network. Unless you have gone to a
cloud application-only infrastructure, you must use VPN to keep
your data encrypted and your network secured. VPNs should be
secured with next gen firewalls that provide real-time reporting on
threats that bypass endpoint protections. Hybrid Intelligence
combines both human and machine learning to apply rules to specific
applications and other functions to allow or deny traffic to flow
through to the network.

To get a clear picture of your business risk and
identify any gaps in your IT security, consider booking a security
assessment with Ricoh.
Book an assessment
today
.

RICOH empowers digital workplaces by enabling individuals to
work smarter. Through our portfolio of innovative technologies and
services, we support organizations, law firms and corporate legal
departments in their journey towards 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 to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.



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