Today’s workspace extends far beyond your firm’s headquarters. Follow these six remote working security tips to ensure that your users don’t pose a security risk when they’re away from the office.
If agile working has been the direction of travel for some law firms over the past few years, nobody could have predicted the rapid shift to remote working that we have seen over the past year. Everyone agrees that agile working is here to stay – even for the traditionally conservative legal sector.
Law firms throughout the UK have been forced to embrace remote working, enabling users to work from home typically with laptops and remote access to the data and applications they need. But even though your users may be able to communicate, collaborate and remain productive thanks to agile working technology, it’s essential that you consider your law firm’s posture when it comes to remote working security.
Modern cyber security threats come in many forms, from the malicious to the innocent and unintended. And with regulators threatening to issue huge penalties for data breaches, now is the time to take remote working security seriously. In this blog post we’ll take you through our top six remote working security tips for law firms.
Top Six Remote Working Security Tips
Remote working introduces another dimension of security threat to your law firm. Your physical and system security may be robust and well-established at your headquarters, but the same can’t always be said for your fee earners’ home offices.
The following six remote working security tips will help you to implement security best practices for all users who access your systems, regardless of their location:
- Keep equipment safe. Your users’ laptop, smartphone, and tablet devices are all targets for criminals. As lockdown eases, your users may well venture back to your offices or perhaps to local coffee shops to work. If users are commuting or working in public spaces, they should never leave their equipment unattended. They should also be aware of shoulder surfers, who may be looking at confidential information that is displayed on their screen.
- Create a strong password. You’ll need a strong password policy to ensure that – if the worst happens and equipment is stolen – criminals won’t be able to login to your profile. Strong passwords also provide a level of protection from brute force attacks that attempt thousands of potential password combinations to gain access to your users’ profiles.
- Use multi-factor authentication. Your law firm should use multi-factor authentication (MFA) as standard across your entire infrastructure. Cloud-based tools like Microsoft 365 are a hugely popular target for cybercriminals, and although it can be a challenge for some firms to enable protections such as MFA globally, it’s important to do so. Where there are gaps, there exists the chance of infiltration.
- Be wary of public Wi-Fi. Unsecured public Wi-Fi services – such as those offered by coffee shops and transport providers – can present a security risk, as data transmitted through public Wi-Fi can be intercepted. Tell your users to use their mobile phone networks rather than public Wi-Fi services.
- Use a secure remote access method. Incorrectly setup, ill-configured or unpatched VPNs can leave severe vulnerabilities in your law firm’s cyber defences. Take the time to test your remote access method for vulnerabilities, and address any you find before cybercriminals have the chance to exploit them.
- Carry out continual security training. It’s been proven that users are less security-aware when working remotely than they are in the office. This can leave them more susceptible to phishing emails and other forms of cyber-attack that thrive on users’ lack of diligence. Carry out continual security training to ensure your users remain aware and alert, no matter where they’re working.
Cyber Security for Law Firms
Cybercriminals are persistent, resourceful and adaptable, and there is no single solution to protecting your law firm from all cyber-attacks. However, by applying the measures listed above and combining them with a mature cyber security model that incorporates people, processes and systems, you will enhance your firm’s cyber security posture and reduce the chances of suffering financial, operational and reputational damage as the result of an attack.
Our new eBook Cyber Security for Law Firms highlights the seriousness of cyber security, how cyber-attacks can have a detrimental effect on a law firm and its reputation, and how firms can implement agile working practices, expanding the workspace while continuing to safeguard their systems and data from potential security vulnerabilities.