How can law firms and businesses better protect their most critical infrastructure – the IT systems and networks that are the backbone of those organizations?
Law firms and businesses today are subject to a variety of cybersecurity risks, some predictable and some not, that can dramatically affect their value, reputation, and functionality. In some cases, cyber attacks can threaten an organization’s information technology (IT) infrastructure with complete collapse.
Strengthening cybersecurity is difficult and advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things and the metaverse it will inevitably make things worse. Indeed, a world in which more objects are computerized and digitized is a world with more targets for cybercriminals. Even more concerning is the unpredictability of cyberattacks that can trigger cascading failures of networks and systems that go far beyond existing cybersecurity policies or strategies. So it’s no surprise that the US Securities and Exchange Commission in March proposed rules for companies to disclose your cybersecurity risk management policies and strategy.
However, as TS Eliot wrote, “Between idea and reality falls a shadow.” In other words, the gap between theory and practice can be wide.
Law firms and companies do not lack strategies or ideas to strengthen their cybersecurity policies; however, many lack practical guidance on how to effectively implement these policies and put them into practice. The strengthening of cybersecurity standards extends beyond the installation of firewalls. In fact, one of the most effective countermeasures to prevent cyber threats is to implement robust strategies, procedures, and standards that can protect an organization’s critical IT infrastructure while aligning with its business objectives or operational mission.
Building a resilient cybersecurity framework
As cyber attacks have become more sophisticated, the need to create a resilient cybersecurity framework has grown. In fact, according to the UK Cyber Security Gap Survey 202239% of UK businesses said they were victims of cyber attacks in the last 12 months.
Given this scenario, it is natural that what worries us most is the range of risks generated by cyber attacks. However, despite these concerns, these risks can be managed. In this sense, a law firm or company must expand its cybersecurity strategy by implementing effective countermeasures to create a resilient cybersecurity framework. This involves a thorough analysis of the critical components of an organization’s virtual ecosystem, as well as identifying what could happen if any of the critical components were to fail or be compromised.
A law firm or business must also consider and identify the critical components of its overall computing environment and consider how each component interacts with one another. The goal is to ensure that you can identify the weakest link in your current computing environment by pinpointing a weak component at an early stage and creating an effective response to manage and mitigate potential attacks on your overall digital infrastructure.
Once a weak component is located and identified, it is critical to assess what relevant cybersecurity policies and strategies need to be put in place to strengthen the weak component and achieve an overall secure computing environment. Equally important, organizations must establish which of their professionals is responsible for paying attention to the operation and safety of essential components of the organization, and this requires a top-down management approach. Senior managers and decision makers need to understand the driving force behind the development of an enhanced cybersecurity framework and establish a robust information security program that aligns with the business objectives of the organization.
One such step would be for the organization to create a cybersecurity strategy that captures the conditions required to create a cyber-resilient environment. Demonstrating strength in some of the following areas is one way to create effective countermeasures:
- Establishment of well-defined recovery plans and processes to ensure the ability to fully recover and restore IT systems with minimal downtime.
- Train employees on how they can fulfill their job responsibilities in a way that can preserve the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive data, as well as encourage employees to improve security through vigilance and collaboration.
- Ensuring that IT systems and networks are up to date and able to keep pace with ever-evolving cybersecurity threats.
Furthermore, implementing the kind of cybersecurity standards defined by the International Organization for Standardization it can also be an effective tool for protecting an organization’s IT systems and sensitive data and mitigating the risks of cyber attacks. For example, one such standard may form a model for organizations to implement the procedures, policies, and framework necessary to manage information security, cybersecurity, and privacy protection for a law firm or business; another allows organizations to protect their storage, processing and transmission of cardholder data. In fact, that standard specifies 12 operational and technical requirements that can help organizations prevent credit card fraud and maintain a secure environment for their customers.
In today’s increasingly interconnected world, where people, goods and services move across borders, it is critical that organizations respond to cyber threats in a timely and effective manner to protect their most critical components and contain , prevent and protect your most important data from being attacked, stolen or compromised. To best protect their IT systems, networks, and infrastructure, law firms and businesses must define, develop, and implement robust cybersecurity strategies and procedures that can strike the right balance between concern and action.