The amount of confidential data a law firm handles makes them a prime target of attacks

Poor data management can leave law firms vulnerable to external threats including phishing emails, ransomware and data breaches. These bring along with them additional compliance risks and sometimes the impact of irreparable damage to a firm’s brand and reputation.

Looking at the news, it does not take long to understand how relevant and high on the agenda security and data protection needs to be for law firms. For example, consider the leak at Mossack Fonseca which resulted in the headline news of the Panama Papers. Hacks and leaks have brought some of the world’s leading law firms under the spotlight of the world.

Data protection is often an afterthought

In 2018, a survey by PWC UK found that cyber security was a concern for 82% of the world’s top 100 firms. In the same survey, 60% of the firms reported having suffered a security incident in 2018. However, for most firms, especially smaller firms, data protection can be somewhat of an afterthought, with more business focus prioritised around other areas. Despite the headlines and worrying statistics, many firms believe that they are well protected, or that hacks and leaks only happen to big law firms. This often leads to IT investments being neglected and dropping down the long list of business priorities.

Legal professional privilege is built on entrusting law firms to protect sensitive data such as patent information, insider information and financial data. Clients expect firms to take precautions to keep their data secure therefore when a data leak or hack happens, this trust is broken. The fall out of this on a firm’s reputation can often make this client relationship difficult to restore.

How to protect your firm

It is important for firms to have a backup system in place to help with data recovery should a disaster happen. Keeping your client data safe and secure in a cloud-based solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the natural choice. Dynamics 365 keeps client data secure from physical threats (for example, a fire or robbery) and allows firms to rest easy with the knowledge that their data is safeguarded by Microsoft’s state-of-the-art datacentres.

Firms can further protect themselves by using the dedicated secure file sharing portals or communication channels available within Office 365. These systems also allow you to put in place access and sharing restrictions for confidential documents and allow you to view audit trails of who has viewed and edited files.

As a law firm, you must take measures to combat the possibility of a data breach by ensuring that the data you hold is secure. To discover more about the tools available to help protect your firm, download our guide – harnessing Microsoft Dynamics 365 to drive profitable outcomes in the legal sector.