Is Your Firm Ready for Cybersecurity Awareness Month?
For any business—let alone law firms storing and processing sensitive client information—cybersecurity is a key issue. It’s so important, in fact, that the month of October is officially recognized as Cybersecurity Awareness Month by the White House.
What is cybersecurity awareness month? How does it help promote cybersecurity maturity? Most importantly, what can you do to increase cybersecurity awareness within you law firm to ensure both firm and client data privacy?
What Is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?
Cybersecurity awareness month started as a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to help promote cybersecurity awareness among the general population. Launched in 2003, the cybersecurity awareness month program has served as a critical reminder of the need for constant vigilance to both individuals and organizations ever since.
While the event might not generate much fanfare, law firms and other businesses should take this opportunity to increase their cybersecurity maturity level so they can better identify and protect against network intrusion attempts.
What Is Cybersecurity Maturity?
Cybersecurity maturity is a measure of how well your cybersecurity program can detect, identify, respond to, recover from, and protect against network security breaches. A mature cybersecurity program is one that goes beyond the bare minimums needed for basic compliance to proactively protect against the latest threats (or the newest permutations of existing cyberattack strategies).
The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense divides cybersecurity into three levels under its cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) 2.0 program: Level 1 (low/basic cyber hygiene), Level 2 (good cyber hygiene), and Level 3 (advanced/progressive cyber hygiene).
Most organizations should strive for Level 2 maturity under CMMC to meet or exceed their basic cybersecurity compliance standards and provide adequate protection against cyber threats.
Level 3 CMMC compliance, while ideal, may be cost-prohibitive for law firms that aren’t dealing directly with government-level clients or other clients that require (and can pay for) such strict and proactive levels of security. Furthermore, as of the time of this writing, the requirements for Level 3 compliance under CMMC 2.0 still haven’t been finalized and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense website simply states that: “Level 3 information will likewise be posted as it becomes available.”
Previously, there were five tiers of cybersecurity maturity to contend with under CMMC, but the 2.0 version of the framework streamlines it down to three levels.
3 Tips for Improving Cybersecurity Awareness in Your Law Firm
So, you want to increase cybersecurity awareness throughout your law firm so you can meet higher CMMC levels and attract high-value clients who are security conscious. What can you do?
Here are a few tips to help you improve cybersecurity awareness in your firm:
1. Hold Regular Cybersecurity Training Sessions
To ensure that everyone in your legal practice knows the cyber threats your business faces, it’s important to first hold routine training sessions on cybersecurity topics. During these sessions, you can discuss some of the latest cyber threats, let staff ask questions on any topics they might be confused about (even, or perhaps especially, questions like “why does this matter?”), and even hold impromptu quizzes about basic cybersecurity topics to see if staff are maintaining a firm grip on lesson content.
Having a quarterly training session via a conference call or, if most of your staff are in-office, in person can go a long way towards ensuring that everyone is at least cognizant of cyber threats.
These quarterly training sessions can also be a good chance to remind everyone what they’re expected to do during and after a data breach or other cybersecurity event—whether that’s changing their user passwords, reporting the incident to a superior (or the IT team), or reaching out to clients to inform them of the potential data compromise.
2. Set Up Cybersecurity Drills
In between cybersecurity training sessions, it can help to hold “fire drills” for cybersecurity events. Here, you would have your staff run through what they would do during a cybersecurity incident—reporting, containing, remediating, etc.
In these drills, you can walk employees through each step of the process—it doesn’t have to be a sudden surprise test of their knowledge. The point is to make security breach remediation routine to avoid panic or interruptions during your cyberattack response.
3. Conduct Simulated Cyberattacks
In addition to having cybersecurity drills where your staff go through what they should do during a cyberattack, it can help to conduct a few simulated cyberattacks—like sending fake phishing emails. This can give your team some much-needed experience in recognizing an active cyberattack as well as getting them to run through your attack remediation strategy.
However, if you do conduct fake phishing attacks, it’s important to be extremely careful with the information requested in the simulated phishing email. Personal information should never be part of the fake phishing attempt since it could result in the recipient giving it up if they fail the test.
Get Help from Converged Technology Group
Cybersecurity—and IT management in general—can be incredibly complicated and difficult to manage. Finding the right tools, researching the necessary compliance standards for your business, and integrating everything with your current workflows is a daunting (and time-consuming) task.
However, you don’t have to manage your IT and cybersecurity entirely on your own. There are IT consulting firms and managed service providers (MSPs) that can work alongside you and your staff to help raise cybersecurity awareness, implement new tech solutions safely, and provide ongoing management that takes the pressure of IT management off of your shoulders.
Ready to up your cybersecurity maturity? Reach out to Converged Technology Group now for a free IT assessment!