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For the sake of productivity alone, law firms always need to be as forward-thinking and as tech savvy as possible in order to do the best work for their clients and remain competitive in the market as a whole. However, for every new, disruptive piece of technology they embrace, they potentially put themselves at risk for the type of catastrophic data breach that can subject those same clients to an immeasurable amount of harm. Preventing law firm data breach scenarios isn't impossible, but it does require you to approach the situation from a very particular angle.
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The number one way to prevent a law firm data breach is to start taking the situation every bit as serious as it really is. According to studies, at least 80% of the 100 largest law firms in the United States have been affected by a data breach in the last few years. Your best bet is to assume that it is not a question of "if," but "when," and to start planning accordingly.
Storing all your data on site allows you to remain completely in control of it, but it also makes the big assumption that you know how to properly control it in the first place. Partnering with third party vendors who deal with the protection and security of information every day for things like file sharing, software-as-a-service or even security-as-a-service, gives you a better chance at keeping your firm's data away from prying eyes.
Regardless of the type of law firm you're running, not every employee is going to need access to every last document at any given moment. There's no reason why a secretary (not a paralegal, but a secretary) will need unfettered access to a particular client's file. Make sure that you're putting firm access controls in place regarding who can access files, where they can access them from and what types of edits they can make moving forward. Put firm rules in place regarding the penalties for violating these access controls to get your employees to start taking security as seriously as you do.
Data security concerns like these are just a few of the many reasons why it is always recommended to be judicious when selecting file sharing and data hosting providers in the first place. Just because a particular vendor can facilitate productivity does NOT mean that they have taken all the right steps to guarantee the safety of that same information. Only by choosing a vendor that cares as much about data privacy as you do will you stand a chance at preventing a law firm data breach from striking your organization.
Download our free Data Security & IT Compliance Policy template to keep your law firm safe from security breaches.
Founder of Sharetru (Formerly FTP Today) and a respected voice in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.
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