Employee data exposure in the legal industry can leave employees vulnerable, lead to identify theft, and jeopardize the integrity of a legal office. That’s why it’s important for you to take the necessary steps to protect against data exposure as well as understand the techniques hackers use in order to implement successful countermeasures. This article will explore what you need to know about employee data theft and the best methods defenses to implement in your own law office.
The Danger of Social Engineering
Often, the most common reason employees data is exposed in the legal industry is due to user errors. Hackers know how to exploit this, and often employ social engineering techniques to obtain employee data.
One of the most highly effective social engineering methods is known as pretexting, which involves a hacker using deception or lies to appear as someone who should have legitimate access to confidential information. In some cases, this might mean they impersonate a law office staff member or a legal authority that should have access to the information.
Another method is baiting, which involves leaving a flash drive or other repository of information infected with viruses or malware in a public area where an employee might try to access its contents on their own work computer, such as a nearby coffee shop or in a break room. The virus or malware enters the computer and starts stealing data or infecting a system.
Although rudimentary, shoulder surfing also happens to be highly effective. Hackers can use crowded areas like an airport or coffee shop to steal information from a target. The data thief will literally look over someone’s shoulder to view confidential information or even steal passwords. It’s also possible that they might take the outright step of stealing a flash drive or personal computer.
Ensure Security in BYOD
Bring Your Own Device, known as BYOD, is common in many law offices. However, it’s important to ask yourself if you own legal office has a BYOD policy and if so, then what are the guidelines involved. That means ensuring you have security measures in place that are up-to-date and sufficient to protect against potential threats.
Since employees may be leaving your premise with sensitive data, outline which data is acceptable to have on a personal device and which data isn’t. Also be sure to have an IT team or computer specialist examine the basic safeguards on your employees’ personal devices, such as password strength and anti-theft measures.
It’s also important to have a remote wipe option that allows you to erase data from a computer even if you don’t have it physically present. This means a computer or device has all data related to a legal office erased once it’s reported lost or stolen, or once an employee stops working at a legal office. This won’t only protect employees, but also other sensitive data you might have due to legal work saved in your legal office or elsewhere. Just ensure that your employees explicitly agree to this remote wiping in your Acceptable Use or BYOD policy.
Building a Solid Defense
One of the most important steps you can take to protect your legal office is to increase employee awareness. Ensure employees are trained regarding social engineering techniques with a training course or at the very least an office-wide e-mail. Encourage employees to question a source and ask specifically why the person they’re speaking with needs the information they’re requesting. Also let employees to know that they shouldn’t be afraid to double-check someone’s credentials or ask politely to prove someone is who they say they are.
It’s also important for your legal office to consider implementing a cloud policy. That means restricting the amount of sensitive data that can identify employees stored in a cloud, which is often vulnerable to hacking. It also means installing strong password protections to cloud platforms and limiting access to cloud storage to only those who need it.
Finally, it’s important to have an incident-response plan in the case of a data breach. That means installing a system for informing employees when a data breach occurs, providing them useful information if their personal information was stolen, and measures you can take to protect employees further, such as quick reporting to the authorities.Ultimately, strategies such as educating employees, upholding a strict BYOD policy, and using cloud data storage the smart way can go a long way to keep your employees data safe. If you'd like more information on protecting against data exposure, please feel free to contact us!