How to create robust email security processes

Cyber-attacks are rarely out of the news. And, as technology evolves to be more and more prevalent in law firms, cyber-security is also becoming increasingly important. Or at least it should be, with cybercriminals targeting legal businesses due to the unique combination of legal, financial, and personal information that they hold.

When it comes to the biggest online threats facing law firms, in most cases, hackers are using phishing to access a firm’s valuable and sensitive data. To do this, they hijack a domain and create emails that look like they are from an authoritative source. By tricking people into handing over financial or personal information, one seemingly harmless e-mail can compromise your entire firm’s security and reputation.

But, despite the increased risk, too many firms still don’t have an adequate email security policy. In fact, according to a recent study[1], only one firm out of the UK’s top 100 law firms has appropriate measures in place to protect against basic forms of email fraud.

So, what can you do to make sure your firm is shielded against phishing scams?

Educate your people

Most employees have limited knowledge of cybersecurity. So it’s no wonder that accidental disclosure or human error is a leading cause of personal data breaches.

Start by making sure your staff are aware of how important data protection is and what damage or distress could result if there were a security breach. You should also train staff to recognise common scams such as phishing and vishing and make sure they know why they should never click on any suspicious links, download anything they are unsure about, or use any dubious tools. Be sure you also show your staff how to report the scam to you and your IT team.

However, one training session isn’t enough. Security education should be an ongoing effort to ensure your firm is protected against new and emerging threats.

Create an acceptable use policy

To help guarantee that everyone in your firm is aware of their data protection responsibilities, create an acceptable-use policy (AUP).

An AUP helps everyone to know what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to using digital technology, including email. As well as guidance on clicking links, this should include things like sending bulk emails (e.g. making sure staff use the BCC function, so client emails are not disclosed).

Create a password policy

With human error responsible for most data breaches in law firms, implementing a robust password policy is the very least your business should do to keep safe.

Today, this can be easily enforced through technology. For example, a Windows Group Policy can make sure that all passwords are the required length, changed frequently, and are not repeated.

Blocking technology

The best way to prevent email scams causing damage to your business is to identify any malicious activity quickly. And, while you can train staff to recognise threats, it’s even better if these menaces never reach your inboxes.

DMARC technology stamps out email fraud by actively blocking phishing attacks and preventing third-parties from impersonating an email domain. Designed specifically for the legal profession OnDMARC from Lawyer Checker protects staff and clients from receiving and falling victim to email modification fraud.

With cybercrime an increasing risk to firms and clients, it’s vital that firms adopt adequate email security steps to control this type of fraud and stay cyber-safe.