Diversus Group speaks on the impacts of low cyber security in the legal industry.
Cyber security can often be neglected, and technology seen as a ‘set and forget’ issue, yet in 2020, 51% of organisations were hit by some sort of ransomware attack, that is 1 in 2 organisations worldwide. The cyber landscape is continually changing and is an issue for all of us. Our technology environments cannot be left to manage themselves from a security perspective.
Size does not matter:
While you may think, because of your organisation’s size that it is safe, it is not. Size does not matter. A study by SOPHOS revealed that there was a minor difference in ransomware attack rates based on an organisations size. In 2020 54% of large organisations (1001-5000 seats) were hit by ransomware, whilst a similar number – 47% of smaller organisations (100-1000 seats) were hit also. Regardless of the size of the firm, there is an obligation to ensure that you take reasonable steps to put relevant cyber security processes and solutions in place.
Impacts of low cyber security:
Attacks on an organisation’s data are performed by professional hackers. SOPHOS research revealed that criminals succeed in encrypting data in 3 out of 4 attacks, this is a scary statistic, especially in the legal industry where the storage of classified and valuable documentation is an everyday occurrence. Legal firms must place top priority on managing cyber security and the potential impact to the organisation, its technology, and the data held within its IT environment. In an increasingly interconnected world sensitive data spans across internal legal systems, datacentres, public cloud as well as end point devices including mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
How serious is the “unknown”?
- The average data breach is discovered eight months after it happened
- Two-thirds of breached companies find out about it from a third party
Why? Hackers exploit organisations lack of preparation and inaction around cyber security, indeed most security solutions are blind to what goes on in the network. Prevention is key, organisations that took a reactive approach rather than a proactive, often succumb to paying ransoms to reclaim their stolen data. It is not uncommon for criminals to take your ransom payment and not decrypt your data.
Why cyber security is increasingly crucial:
The world since COVID-19 has changed and with it many organisations’ operations. The primacy of mobility has been forced upon us as a core business tenet and with it the inclusion of employee mobility as a foundational element of future cyber security strategies. Mobility and access to data, at any time and from anywhere is no longer a perk but a must-have, the office is now wherever the user happens to be. But with this more flexible work–life comes increased exposure for the systems involved.
Since the pandemic, cyber defences went from being focused on the workplace to needing to incorporate every employees’ personal space, where they share their networks, devices, and cloud services with their children and sometimes guests in their home. The legal industry must initiate cybersecurity strategies in this new norm, assumptions must be made that all operating spaces can and will be contested; nothing is safe or off-limits to adversaries. Having the right technology in place, coupled with associated processes and procedures for effective cyber security is paramount and should not be seen as a ‘set and forget’ issue.
Benefits of cyber security in the legal industry:
A recent survey by the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) and GlobalX found that 79% of law firms surveyed were concerned about cyber security. But only 21% of law firms are confident about their measures against a cyber-attack.
Cyber security does not only protect valuable client and organisational data, but it can also enhance a law practice’s efficiency, facilitate higher quality services, and accelerate client introductions and engagement. Law practices must be aware of the inherent risks connected with unmanaged and unprotected IT and data exposure to loss, resulting in financial and reputational harm. Cyber criminals through hacking and other such adverse events have in some cases caused legal practices to go out of business.
What are the next steps?
Firstly, you must assume your practice will be hit. It‘s not a matter of if, but when. There must be a shift from, detection to prevention. Be better than the average, with only 1 in 4 victims having stopped a ransomware attack. Stop attacks before they can infect organisations and do harm.
Secondly, data must be protected wherever it is held, with the shift in work environments both public and privately located data must be protected.
Thirdly, keep online point in time backups and regularly archive data to allow you to recover individual files through to your entire data holdings should they be infected, encrypted and held to ransom.
Fourthly, cyber insurance is paramount, 1 in 5 organisations have patchy cyber security insurance, 84% of organisations have it, 64% covers ransomware while 20% doesn’t cover ransomware. Having insurance that covers ransomware is vital.
Finally, organisations need to implement the right security architecture to enable this shift, which has three key features:
- Reduce the attack surface – gain full visibility into traffic on your network, across applications, threats, and user behaviour.
- Prevent known threats – stop known exploits & malware, and gain control over the traffic entering your network.
- Identify and prevent unknown threats – identify and block any unknown threats. Attackers will continue to deploy zero-day exploits and develop new ransomware variants every day.
Gain a clear understanding of your organisation’s needs:
It’s always better to be proactive vs reactive, to analyse an organisations’ technology and network to pinpoint potential weak points. A Security Lifecycle Review (SLR) can analyse what’s really happening within your network by highlighting:
- Malware & spyware on your network
- Unauthorised applications
- Violations of your security policies
- Malicious websites your employees are accessing
- Non-work-related applications & activities
- Comparison data for your organisation, versus that of your industry peers
- Specific details on ways adversaries are attempting to breach your network NOW
- Shadow IT
- Immediate areas to focus on to reduce your risk exposure
Find out where you’re most at risk now and take action immediately. Schedule your free Security Lifecycle Review from Diversus Group and Palo Alto Networks. Give us a call on 02 6111 2900 or submit your details here.