IT Planning For Law Firms – why, and how

Apparently there is a growing threat of cyber attack of law firms. What’s surprising is the number of law firm intrusions which often go unreported.

In fact, since March of 2014, financial institutions and law firms have begun talks to establish a collective effort to share hacker threats. The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (F.S.-I.S.A.C) is in development to thwart hackers through a threat management advisory council.

Having worked with many law firms over the years, we’ve seen some that suffered from data overload both in security as well as internal processing of client records. In these scenarios, these firms are decades behind their competition in managing their networks and data.

Growing your legal firm is a work in progress. Prospective clients contact you in various forms including email and by phone. However, we speak with many office managers who struggle with piecing together more robust systems to not only manage their network but also keeping records on pending client cases.

Successful law firms receive hundreds inquiries everyday. Perhaps you’re wondering what techniques they use to handle these amount of data. For starters, they don’t rely on closed data systems such as Microsoft Office and the like which are highly unsecured. Instead, thriving law firms have invested in developing a robust IT plans and security gateways to support their busy offices as well as protect sensitive client information.

Big data is a trend that you’ve probably read about in the news in the last few months. But how does big data management add value to your business?

Often we speak with law firm owners who tell us there’s very few hours left in their workday to worry about IT and security issues. However, the firms we consult with on a long-term basis see the time-savings by implementing a scaled approach to managing their networks.

Remember, scale is critical to your business. An IT network designed without plans to grow avoiding expensive upgrades offers the worst return-on-investment. But not only in costs. Actually, lost manpower time impacts whether your office staff can help your firm grow.

An IT network designed without plans to grow avoiding expensive upgrades offers the worst return-on-investment

One of the areas we see needing the most improvement in law firm IT is database management. Too many firms rely on task-oriented processing of traditional paper-based client records. The smarter approach is to convert your contact management software to a secure web-based product which allows your employees to pinpoint critical client information in seconds as well as providing better security measures.

A new trend we’ve witnessed by firms is their lack of security management of client records. Specifically by storing records on thumb drives, emailing private data across unsecure networks and even storing information on laptops and iPads. The problem with this type of data management is it’s highly unsecure if accessed across wireless networks.

Law firm IT security is critical to controlling your risk. With cyber threats growing more robust in recent months, it’s no longer a question of if you’re firm will be attacked, but when. The question on your mind if you’re reading this far is what types of security will protect your organization?

We recommend analyzing access gateways to your networks. Typically in hacker testing scenarios. Often these types of tests can pinpoint parts of your network which can be infiltrated with minimal effort. The most obvious invasions we see are poorly encrypted networks as well as outdated firewalls. However, these are only a few of the many ways hackers are invading law firm data.

Despite many major retailers experiencing cyber attack, law firm threats go unreported due to these organizations being privately held. But the risk and liability of breach is exponential based on the proliferation of cyber threats.

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