Tips for Protecting Your Law Firm’s Website From Hackers
With hacks and data breaches affecting even the largest of businesses, cybersecurity is one of the most important topics that need to be addressed by corporations of all sizes. That includes law firms. In fact, law offices are some of the most targeted businesses due to the sensitive information they pass around.
Law firm breaches are considered to be so serious that the American Bar Association has issued Formal Opinion 477, which states that any law firm should make a reasonable effort to protect their clients’ valuable information; if they do not, then it is considered to be a breach of legal ethics. The Formal Opinion is somewhat vague about what constitutes a reasonable effort, but there are several steps that you can take to ensure your lawyer website design is as secure as possible.
Backup Your Files Regularly
Data breaches are not just about accessing valuable information, in some cases, they can prevent you from accessing your own information via ransomware or wipe it out completely. Running regular backups of your files is a good practice that will help to maintain your law firm’s website security. Follow the 3-2-1 rule of storing data:
- Make three copies of your files.
- Make sure that two of the copies are physical copies such as external drives or USB sticks.
- One copy should be stored off-site—like in cloud storage—for disaster recovery.
There are variations to this strategy, such as the 3-2-2, that involves using two offsite copies. Whichever option you choose, make certain that you have several backups so that you can always recover your data should a breach occur.
Choose Strong Passwords
Yes, we know that the average person needs to manage dozens of passwords in their regular life, and that complex passwords are difficult to remember. Nonetheless, using a weak, simple password for your data is akin to leaving your front door wide open. You should always use strong, hard-to-guess passwords, but they do not have to be a hard-to-remember string of random letters and numbers.
Often a passphrase, like “whereiswaldohiding,” or something similar, is easy to remember and tough to guess. You should also change passwords regularly, and if they are written down, then they should never be stored in an easy-to-find place like a Post-it note on your monitor.
Make Sure Your Website Has an SSL Certificate
The green padlock you see beside the URL on a website means that it has been SSL certified; the communication between the web browser and the website is securely encrypted. Using an SSL certificate on your entire law firm website is a good idea, but it is particularly important on login pages and form submission pages. The reason is that you do not want anyone gaining access to your passwords or your client’s personal information.
Keep Your Software Updated
Out-of-date software is the reason for a lot of website hacks because web software is often updated with more security features. Hackers often target websites that use outdated software, so keeping your software current is extremely important. This goes for your website builder as well as all the third-party extensions added to it.
Use The Principle of Least Privilege
This principle states that anyone should only have access to what they need and nothing more. So, if a user only needs to access client files, they should not have the account privileges that allow them to change any information on the website. This reduces the chance that hackers can target an unsuspecting employee and gain access to your whole site and the valuable information contained therein.
A Hack Can Ruin Your Business and Your Reputation
Law firms of all sizes are prime targets for hackers, and an attack of ransomware or malware can end up costing a law firm dozens of billable hours and thousands of dollars to fix the problem. Furthermore, the reputation of your law firm could be irrevocably ruined because few people will trust a company that has exposed their sensitive information.
To reduce the chances of a security breach, the company behind your law firm’s website development should follow the necessary security protocols. You should also make sure that everyone in your office follows all the practical methods to keep valuable information about your firm safe and secure.
We hope you enjoyed this promoted piece as much as we did!