Cybersecurity 101 for Your Law Firm

Eight in 10 firms use spam filters.

A little more than half of law firms (53 percent) have a formal policy for managing and safeguarding data and information, and that number has been rising over time.

That’s according to the 2021 American Bar Association TechReport.

The ABA “encourages all private and public sector organizations [law firms included] to develop, implement, and maintain an appropriate cybersecurity program that complies with applicable ethical and legal obligations and is tailored to the nature and scope of the organization and the data and systems to be protected.” [Source: ABA Report and Resolution 109]

An effective cybersecurity program should be tailored to the specifics of your law practice. The program should cover People, Procedures and Technology.

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Law Office Cybersecurity 101

“Security should not be left solely to IT staff and tech consultants,” writes attorney and cyber expert David Ries in the 2021 ABA TechReport. “In addition to measures to prevent security incidents and breaches, there has been a growing recognition that security includes the full spectrum of measures to identify and protect information assets and to detect, respond to and recover from security incidents and data breaches. Cybersecurity programs should cover all of these functions.”

  • Comprehensive cybersecurity program
  • Standards and frameworks
  • Manage and minimize data
  • Incident response plan (36 percent of firms of all sizes have some sort of response plan, per the 2021 ABA TechReport)

Here are some law office technology usage statistics from the 2021 Survey:

  •  53 percent of responding firms have a data retention policy
  • 60 percent have a policy on email use
  • 56 percent for internet use
  • 57 percent for computer acceptable use
  • 56 percent for remote access
  • 48 percent for social media
  • 32 percent personal technology use/BYOD
  • 44 percent for employee privacy

Twenty-five (25) percent of firms said they either had no cybersecurity policies in their office or did not know whether they had any.

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