Overcoming the risk of relying on email for law firms

Reliance on email is a standard business practice to effectively communicate both internally and externally. This has proven to be of utmost importance as most workforces have transitioned to hybrid working, but this, in turn, has also increased the size of the threat landscape, with cyber attackers targeting vulnerable workers who are away from the immediate support from IT teams.

When sending many emails per day, the risk of human error also arises. Whether this is attaching the wrong document; or CC’ing an incorrect recipient; these mistakes are all too common – but for some industries, it can have devastating consequences.

Within the legal industry, sensitive and confidential data is being handled each day, including insurance claims, financial records, and more. If this information were to fall into the wrong hands, it could have disastrous repercussions for the business. Andrea Babbs, UK General Manager, VIPRE, emphasises the importance of law firms prioritising their email defence, so that they don’t fall vulnerable to a cyber threat.

Legal landscape

Legal professionals are handling sensitive and confidential data, which is subject to strict regulatory compliance rules. And, relying on email to share this valuable data with the relevant parties poses a risk in itself – making them a high target for cyber-attacks. What if documents protected by legal professional privilege are accidentally emailed to the wrong person? This could constitute a breach of confidentiality, which in turn, can have numerous repercussions; such as short and long-term financial costs, to damaging the firm’s reputation – breaches of any kind can affect client trust and business success. Human error was found to be a contributing cause in 95% of all breaches.

The crucial double-check

A layered approach is key to ensuring that no gateways are left open for a cyber attacker to leverage. A multi-faceted security strategy should include encryption and authentication services to prevent most unauthorised interceptions, as well as ongoing security training and strict policies in place regarding the circulation and storage of sensitive data. This reinforcement of security messaging ensures that the whole workforce is capable of spotting a potential attack, and understands the appropriate ways of handling valuable information as they are aware and often reminded of the role they play in protecting their client's data and firm's reputation.

Another fundamental part of a layered security strategy should include data loss prevention (DLP) solutions. Firms can implement security measures for the detection, control, and prevention of risky email behaviours, allowing staff members to be alerted before they click send.

Handling personal and confidential data makes law firms a prime target for cyber-attacks. Therefore, investing in a layered cyber security strategy is crucial. Mistakes are easily made, but they can also be easily avoided by having a combination of key security solutions in place, including DLP solutions, to stop valuable information from falling in the wrong hands.

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