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Law firms: maintaining compliance and keeping security front of mind is more important than ever

Steve SumnerLegal firms handle a great deal of sensitive information. This can include everything from corporate intellectual property, client and financial data to personally identifiable information (PII). In many cases, some or all of this information is accessible to employees via their work-issued smartphones and laptops. Your firm’s IT team is probably responsible for providing the firm with video conferencing, secure access to a whole host of SaaS-delivered applications and general internet sites through web browsers. In the same vein, they are probably also supporting requests for the use of non-traditional apps (in order to meet client preferences) for modern communication and social media interaction. It’s these kinds of apps that have the potential to put a firm out of compliance or give hackers an additional entry point to be able to compromise the firm’s data security.

What options does your firm have then with a view to maintaining compliance and keeping security firmly in mind?

Mobile security is vital in the legal world, where devices and apps pose a major risk. Legal professionals are prime targets for attacks designed to access sensitive information. Therefore, your firm must safeguard information in the cloud while providing better access to data. A useful place to start here is with an endpoint / app security assessment. This allows your firm to select the right measures for protection and should include the design, implementation and support of a secure solution that meets all of the security requirements in this password-less, post-perimeter, cloud-based era. The freedom to work anywhere comes with risk, so make sure that every mobile device your employees use for work-related matters is secure. 

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Endpoint protection

Most legal firms have been forced to adapt their way of working to enable their employees to connect seamlessly. Therefore, ensuring you have secured access to their endpoints is critical. Endpoint protection is a critical part of any firm’s cybersecurity. For example, data is an extremely valuable asset to any legal firm, so losing that data could endanger the entire organisation. And there are fresh challenges for firms to face - not only a growing number of endpoints, but also an increase in the number of types of endpoints. This has allowed a rising number of new or unknown attacks (defined as “zero-day attacks) that involve the exploitation of undisclosed vulnerabilities - more traditional, signature-based detection solutions cannot recognise these.

Remote work and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are very challenging for perimeter security and serve to create vulnerabilities. With the threat landscape becoming more complicated, hackers are coming up with new ways to gain access or steal information that will be of use, often with financial gain as the end goal. The reputational cost for any legal firm of a large-scale breach (plus any regulatory punitive damages) serves to prove why endpoint protection platforms should be considered as a must-have from a security point of view.

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A new approach

Delivering effective security and endpoint detection & response (EDR) for mobile is very different to that of legacy devices such as servers, desktops and laptops. On mobile devices, you cannot rely on tactics that will cause battery drain, privacy invasion, or require privileged access to the operating systems and apps. In the past, if an endpoint was attacked and legacy antivirus solutions were not able to block it, security teams would have struggled to correctly address the situation and nullify any threat. EDR was essentially developed with this in mind - a means to help security teams quickly detect attacks on endpoints (and collect data in real-time to facilitate response). EDR also enables remote control of the endpoint to contain the attack and prevent it from causing widespread damage. Solving complex endpoint security problems – especially security emergencies – and all the associated analytics reports and analyses that need to be run is both costly and time-consuming. You need a persistent, unbreakable connection to every endpoint providing the device visibility your firm's IT team needs to troubleshoot problems quickly and efficiently.

Taylors Vinters

Many of the issues discussed here were faced by Taylor Vinters’ IT team - they needed a solution that could help protect the firm’s data and also meet regulatory requirements. Appurity, a U.K.-based Lookout Elite channel partner, delivered the Lookout Mobile Endpoint Security Platform with Phishing and Content Protection and Modern Endpoint Protection to optimise security across all of Taylor Vinters’ mobile devices. The Lookout platform is purpose-built for mobile devices and protects user privacy by not collecting personal information. By leveraging telemetry from nearly 200 million devices and over 140 million apps, Lookout understands what a mobile threat looks like – it can automatically detect and respond to app, device and network threats.

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It is clear to see the economic damage (and potential reputational damage) cyber attacks inflict on the bottom line - for any firm or organisation. Cybercriminals are able to bypass enterprise antivirus solutions, so building a business case for endpoint security these days speaks for itself. Protect your workforce and protect your firm.

Steve is Director of IT for Taylor Vinters, a a global legal and advisory practice, operating from innovation clusters in the UK, US and Asia. A key part of Steve's role is aligning technology to the business growth. As IT Director, Steve has the responsibility to set out the technology roadmaps to deliver the highest service provision for all systems, especially the business-critical ones.
 

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