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Law Firms Need To Take Business Continuity Planning Seriously

Stay Aware, Stay Safe

law firm disaster recovery

Law firms are not protected from a potential cyber attack. In fact, cybercriminals are looking for easy targets for their ransomware, phishing and other criminal online activities and law firms are falling into those cross hairs.

The reason law firms are being faced with more frequent cyber attacks is because many law firms don’t have a dedicated business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place nor are they working with a BCDR specialist. No longer than the firm’s IT Guy be relied upon to protect the firm’s valuable and confidential cyber assets. Cybercriminals are so high tech with their malware and ransomware attacks that it requires the specialized services of an individual whose sole focus is on protecting your business and assuring your law firm will survive a ransomware attack by having a BCDR plan in place before any attack occurs.

All too often, law firms and small to medium-sized businesses believe they are “too small” or that a cybercriminal is more likely to go after a “larger” target. The opposite is true. Cybercriminals look for the path of least resistance and in many cases it is law firms that are in that pathway.

If your firm is like most, your client data is stored in the cloud. Cloud storage is a boon in many paper-heavy industries and it allows lawyers and staff to access documents whether they’re in the office or in a courtroom. This convenience comes with a cost though – if a cybercriminal accesses those documents, what happens to your firm’s (and your client’s) valuable data? If your data is taken over in a ransomware attack your firm is essentially out of business. How can your firm function without access to its data?

Your firm can recover from a ransomware or other malware attack IF it has a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place. BCDR planning needs to be taken seriously and needs to be implemented immediately.

Here are some of the ways your New Jersey law firm can avert and recover from a cyber attack:

  1. Preparation and being proactive is key to your ultimate survival of this disaster. A cyber attack, data theft, phishing scam, ransomware attack or others can cripple your business and recovery involves much more than simply paying the ransom.
  2. Human error can be the downfall of your firm. If you aren’t continually training the lawyers, paralegals and other staff in your firm, inadvertent human error could shut down your firm. A link clicked in an email that looks legitimate can quickly spread malware and viruses throughout your entire system. Within minutes, a virus could freeze your firm’s access to its documents and can kick your network offline. Your firm could be rendered helpless and unable to perform any work, access email or recover critical case files and documents. How much is your law firm willing to risk if you don’t have a BCDR plan in place? Remember, even if your firm pays the ransom (and most times the fees are exorbitant) you don’t know whether you’re receiving a decryption key that works and even when you access the data it could still be infected and still be wreaking havoc on your records.
  3. Disaster recovery planning cannot be considered a “nice to have.” Disaster recovery planning is crucial to your law firm’s continued success and viability. What should be included in your firm’s disaster recovery plan? A risk assessment, an impact analysis and the recovery plan itself.
  4. Your law firm’s data just might be its most valuable asset. If your firm is digitizing everything and storing it in the cloud, you’re improving productivity but increasing the chances of a cyberattack.
  5. Look at your firm’s liability if losing data negatively impacts client cases.
  6. Data backup needs to be more frequent, more robust and faster. Nightly or weekly backup aren’t enough. Data needs to be backed up consistently and constantly – hourly even. The data backup needs to be dependable and reliable and needs to be tested. Don’t wait until a system failure to discover the backup isn’t as complete or stable as you’d imagined. Work with your BCDR professional to evaluate the viability of your data backup and the ease with which it can be accessed and restored.
  7. Data recovery and business continuity needs to be immediate. Depending on the size of your firm and its servers, it could take days, or even weeks, to recover all its files, if your BCDR systems aren’t as robust as your firm and the amount of data it has requires.

Be aggressive when working with a business continuity and disaster recovery specialist. He or she should continually evaluate and re-evaluate the systems that were put in place. Your firm needs to be aggressive in setting up systems and processes for recovery and restoration.

I run an IT & Cyber Security Consultancy focusing on Business ContinuityDisaster Recovery (BCDR). We work professionals in many fields including legal, real estate, accounting and medical.

If you have security and business continuity and cybersecurity questions let me know. I am also filling up my calendar with guests on my Security Disciple Podcast. If you’d like to be a guest, please DM me @waregeeks, call (877) 653-7146, or email me info@waregeeks.comwww.waregeeks.com

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