How to Improve Law Firm Cybersecurity

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According to Cybersecurity Ventures, global ransomware damage costs will exceed $5 billion in 2017. This number has seen an increase of almost 15 times from the $325 million in damage in 2015.

Cybercriminals target industries that rely on accessible or confidential data. Law firms are at high risk due to the vast amounts of sensitive client data in their hands.

Because of this, law firms must recognize the need to take action for data protection, as your clients’ sensitive information and case files—as well as your firm’s reputation—depend on it.

What risk looks like for law firms

Hackers are increasingly setting their sights on everything from trade secrets and corporate data to ongoing case files, as we saw in recent cyber attacks on Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP and DLA Piper.

Cyber criminals know their best chance for success is targeting the unprepared. In other words, attackers are performing their own risk assessment of how difficult a system would be to break into before diving in further.

Your firm is at a higher risk if you don’t address data protection by looking at strategies that include all of the following:

  • Prevention
  • Detection
  • Restoration

One type of attack that is capturing headlines is ransomware—a type of malware that holds data hostage until the victim pays a ransom, usually in the form of bitcoin. With this, firms may see paying off the hacker’s ransom as their only option.

Ransom payments, though, will only fuel growth in cybercrime over time versus stopping the problem at the source. In addition, if you pay the fee once, chances are better that hackers will attack you again, since they know you’ll pay.

How can law firm cybersecurity be improved?

The sophisticated methods of attack that cyber criminals use make finding the right defense difficult. While most firms already invest in preventive law firm cybersecurity measures, many have a long way to go when it comes to restorative protocols.

Many firms aren’t even aware of the different kinds of restorative options available to protect client data. One great option for protection is a third-party vendor with the ability to provide data backups and data replication.

Let’s take a closer look at both options.


A backup solution ensures that IT is making copies of important files on a regular basis. An effective backup solution should store copied data in a separate, offline location. This gives firms access to a clean version of data during an attack.

A drawback to this solution is that, because most firms only run backups once or twice a day, there’s a possibility of significant data loss if an attack were to occur between these backups. Additionally, the time it takes to restore data from backups is usually measured in days or weeks.

Organizations should consider two backup methods: offsite cloud backups for short-term retention, as well as tape backups for long-term retention. If a firm’s production site becomes inaccessible, these backups can enable the recovery of backed-up systems and files on the cloud.


Data replication sends your most important data to a readily-accessible cloud location in near real-time. Replication provides the ability to recover within minutes or hours with very little loss of data after an attack.

Recovery to a third-party cloud provider can give your firm access to its data and applications in a secure and “clean” environment while forensic measures are carried out on your primary servers.

Full protection is key

The legal industry is very complex, and disaster recovery strategies are not one-size-fits-all. A mixed approach, using both backup and replication-based solutions is often the best option for protection. A mixed approach also provides both physical locations for copies, as well as more recent cloud-based copies that offer faster recovery times.

Implementing a two-tiered approach can help to mitigate the risks of each approach. Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) providers can offer tailored solutions for individual needs. With the tendency of legal work to be urgent and confidential, the value of an effective disaster recovery solution should be clear.

Legal’s responsibility to client data

It’s the legal industry’s responsibility to keep client data out of harm’s way. Data protection means planning, budgeting, executing and testing backup and recovery service solutions, in addition to preventative measures typically taken.

A well-formed disaster recovery plan isn’t only for larger firms; disaster recovery plans can help small firms or individual legal practitioners keep cyber criminals at bay too.

If you’re seeking some hard facts to help educate your firm on the importance of comprehensive data protection, check out these 28 truly shocking cyber security stats.

And stop by our free directory of law practice management software to help keep on top of your practice.

Looking for Law Practice Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Law Practice Management software solutions.

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About the Author


Jeff Ton

Jeff Ton, executive vice president of product and service development for Bluelock, is responsible for driving the company's product strategy and service vision and strategy. He has over 30 years of experience in business and information technology and previously served as CIO for Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana and Lauth Property Group.



Very nice article.
Thank you so much for sharing with us. But you can also add this 3 point to helping how to improve cyber security for your readers.
1) Multi-factor authentication
2) next-generation firewalls
3) Third-party vendor security requirements
I think this is the most important 3 points so you can also write to details on this point in your language.

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