Client Trust in the Digital Age: How Law Firms Can Build Trust Through Cybersecurity

November 7, 2023

Cybersecurity Law Firm

We know you’re great at winning cases, but are you equally adept at keeping your court files, briefs, discovery materials, exhibits, etc. secure? If you’re scratching your head, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Cybersecurity isn’t just about shiny gadgets and complex jargon; it’s about trust. It’s about showing your clients that in your hands, their sensitive information is as secure as Fort Knox. So, let’s dive into how you can boost your law firm’s cybersecurity and consequently, your client’s trust.

  1. Educate every employee in your law firm about cybersecurity

The American Bar Association (ABA) highlighted in their 2022 cybersecurity report that 75% of surveyed law firm employees confirmed they have some form of technology training available to their firm. The ABA suggests that technology training should not only cover the technology used internally by law firms but should also incorporate cybersecurity awareness training. This cybersecurity awareness training should occur at least once a year and, if possible, more frequently to ensure that employees can refresh and retain the knowledge gleaned from these training sessions.

Why? Because cybersecurity isn’t a one-person show. It’s a team effort. So, ensure everyone understands what phishing attacks look like or why ‘password123’ might not be the best password choice. Especially positions with critical access to documents like your office administrator, accountant, paralegal, C-Suite and partners at your law firm. Here is a free downloadable infographic on cybersecurity awareness that you can share with your staff or print and post it at the prominent location of your office.

  1. Invest in security technologies that work for your law firm

Use strong security technologies, like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, antivirus software and encryption tools. Regularly update and patch these systems to stay protected against new threats. Here are three of the critical security measures a law firm must take at minimum in 2023:

  • Encrypt messages:Encrypting sensitive data is like putting it in a safe that only you have the combination to and share only with the receiver on the other end. It’s a must-have in your cybersecurity toolkit.
  • Regular Updates:Keeping your systems updated is like getting a regular check-up; it can catch vulnerabilities before they become threats.
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA). It’s an extra layer of security that verifies user identities not once but twice! Because you can never be too careful.

Having a cybersecurity plan is not only a good business decision to keep your law firm and the integrity of your attorneys intact, but ABA reported that 33% of law firms were asked for their cybersecurity plan/policy by a client or potential client in 2022. This means your client base is becoming more aware of the cyber threats and wants to work with partners who are up-to-date with their security policies.

Here is a tip: Look for a local IT service provider who also has a strong cybersecurity portfolio, like Konica Minolta IT Services, who are skilled at building and maintaining a secure IT infrastructure that is custom to your firm and supported at a fraction of the cost of an in-house team.

  1. Embrace Secure Document Management to Store Case Files
    We know that as a law firm, you generate and handle a massive number of documents. But how are you making sure it’s all secure? A physical document room is not the way to go. Implement a secure virtual document management system that offers access control, version tracking, audit trails and the ability to work on it from anywhere. This not only helps protect sensitive information but also ensures that documents are easily accessible when needed. If you don’t have a digital transformation strategy in place, our strategies for digitizing paper could help.
  2. Prepare for Cybersecurity Threat Incidents at your law firm

Despite your best efforts, security incidents can still occur. Develop a comprehensive incident response plan that outlines how your firm will respond to data breaches or other cybersecurity incidents. This should include a complete plan of action on how to deal with the incident, who needs to be informed and in compliance with legal requirements for data breach reporting. Think of it as a ‘What to do now’ plan for when you are in the middle of a cyber incident.

Law Firm Incident Response Plan
Image Reference: Respondents of 2022 Cybersecurity Report by American Bar Association.

According to ABA, only 42% of law firms have an incident response plan in place, of which only 46% of law firms with 10 to 46 attorneys had an incident response plan.

  1. Simple Ways to Build Trust Through Cybersecurity in a Law Firm

Now that we understand the importance of cybersecurity in building trust, let’s look at some easy steps professional services firms can take to build trust with their clients:

  • Conduct a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment: Identify your organization’s weak points and potential risks. This should include checking existing IT inventory that is past end-of-support, security measures, potential threats and suggesting areas for improvement. Our Security Posture Review may come in handy to conduct a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment of your firm.
  • Create a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy: Based on your risk assessment, create a cybersecurity strategy that aligns with your professional service firm’s objectives and industry regulations. This strategy should encompass data protection, network security, employee training and incident response plans. If you don’t have the support of an IT security provider, take a look at our free e-book on Cybersecurity 101 that will help you get started.
  • Monitor and Respond: Have continuous monitoring in place to detect and respond to potential threats in real time. Have a plan in place to minimize the impact of any security breach.
  1. Show Off Your Cybersecurity Efforts to Your Clients
    Transparency is key to building trust. Don’t hide your cybersecurity efforts. Instead, show your commitment to data security to your clients and potential clients. Here are a few ways we suggest communicating your cybersecurity efforts:
  • Privacy Policies: Ensure your privacy policies are clear and easily accessible on your website. Explain how you collect, store and protect client data. Consider creating marketing collateral about your cybersecurity measures in physical and digital formats, making it effortless for your attorneys and staff to share with clients and partners.
  • Compliance and Reporting: Stay compliant with relevant regulations and provide clients with evidence of your commitment to data security through regular audits and reporting.
  • Security Certifications: Obtain industry-standard security certifications (e.g., ISO 27001) and display them prominently. These certifications serve as tangible evidence of your commitment to cybersecurity. Here is a pro-tip: if you don’t have a prominent certificate, work with an IT provider who does, like Konica Minolta IT Services, and leverage that in communications with your clients.
  • Client Updates: Periodically update your clients on your cybersecurity initiatives and their outcomes. Share success stories, such as thwarted cyberattacks, to highlight your vigilance.
  1. Get a Cybersecurity Expert by Your Side

Think of it as having a secret agent on your team looking out for threats and keeping your firm’s data safe and sound. We understand that building an in-house IT department is not a viable investment, and hiring one IT employee may not provide all the skills you need. Here is a tip: Look for a local IT service provider who also has a strong cybersecurity portfolio, like Konica Minolta IT Services, which has a dedicated lawyers helpdesk and is skilled to build and maintain a secure IT infrastructure that is custom to your firm and supported in a fraction of the cost of an in-house team.

By cementing these cybersecurity practices into your law firm, you’ll not just be locking down your digital premises but also building an unbreakable bond of trust with your clients. After all, trust isn’t just about winning cases; it’s about making your clients feel secure in this vast, digital world.

Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta aims to partner with clients to Give Shape to Ideas by supporting their digital transformation through its expansive Intelligent Connected Workplace portfolio. Its business technology offerings include IT Services, intelligent information management, video security solutions and managed print services, as well as office technology and industrial and commercial print solutions.