Skip to content
8 min read

Why Managed IT Services for Law Firms are Crucial

Why Managed IT Services for Law Firms are Crucial

Are managed IT services for law firms the way to go to overcome data security issues? When polled about the state of cybersecurity within their firm at the end of 2022, 27 percent of legal professionals shared that their firm had experienced some kind of security breach—and another 25 percent were totally unaware. 

There’s no question that legal professionals need to address the increase in security threats. But what about all the new technologies available today? There’s so much room for growth in the way legal firms leverage these tools—if only they had the time to research and implement them.

Here’s what you need to know about the challenges law firms face regarding technology today—and how to address these issues.

Cybersecurity for Law Firms: What Makes Them Such an Appealing Target?

Cyber attacks, data breaches, and other incidents are on the rise everywhere—so why are legal firms at a higher risk?

It all has to do with the kind of information with which these firms are dealing. Law firms hold sensitive—and potentially valuable—information for a wide range of individuals, organizations, and other entities. For cybercriminals, this makes for an appealing target; they can maximize the impact of one attack by going after a single source. 

What’s more, law firms may be an easier access point to gather sensitive information about an individual company in comparison to that organization’s database. Without the proper protections in place, they likely would come across more sophisticated security measures within the company’s database than those used by the law firm.

The combination definitely makes sense to bad actors: A wealth of valuable data plus easier access makes for a highly appealing target for an attack.

Cyber Threats Within the Legal Sector 

As with any other industry, the threat landscape for cyber attacks is continuously changing and evolving. One small vulnerability in a firm’s network security could put the entire firm in jeopardy. Law firms looking to stay ahead of malicious activity need to stay updated regarding the latest threats.

Insider Threats

An insider threat happens when someone within your internal team uses their authorized access to harm your organization. These threats may be intentional and malicious or completely unintentional. But either way, they can damage your resources, your team, your network, your data, and your systems. 

Unintentional threats may look like:

  • Negligent behavior like ignoring security or IT protocols that open the door for an unauthorized user to enter a network or system through a secured entrance point. This could also be losing a device or failing to install updates or security patches.

  • Accidental behavior may involve some kind of error, such as sending sensitive information to the wrong email address or unknowingly clicking on a link in a phishing email.

Intentional threats are usually associated with some kind of mal-intentioned insider, with the goal of doing significant damage to a firm either for personal benefit or as a response to some kind of personal grievance. These may look like leaking confidential or privileged information, intentionally sabotaging a system or device, or stealing data to use against the firm.

Malware and Ransomware

Malware attacks on legal firms are on the rise—as evidenced by the malware attacks that targeted six law firms at the beginning of 2023 through two separate attacks designed to infect specific devices. The goal of these attacks? Espionage and data extraction geared at exploiting confidential data stored within the legal firms’ networks. 

Ransomware involves bad actors gaining possession of a law firm’s most important files through the use of malicious software, encrypting this data, then holding it for ransom. These cybercriminals demand some kind of fee to decrypt the data and restore files for use. 

Firms that don’t have incident response plans are faced with the choice of losing their data forever or paying a hefty sum. Cybercriminals have realized that the legal sector holds mass amounts of sensitive, valuable information, usually stored on an e-discovery database or single server. This information can include the following:

  • Intellectual property data

  • Information about mergers and acquisitions

  • Confidential business, personal, and financial information

Cloud Network Vulnerabilities

Cloud networks are growing in popularity among law firms looking for flexible, redundant storage and computing solutions that are scalable, affordable, and easy to use. Especially in the new era of remote work, cloud computing empowers legal professionals to work from anywhere. 

But it’s important to note that cloud networks can be vulnerable to the threat of attack—and not all firms have taken the time to enact a cybersecurity strategy to ward off malicious attacks. Without the right cybersecurity tools in place, bad actors can gain access to a firm’s network and its sensitive data.

Cloud-based networks offer all kinds of conveniences that legal professionals can benefit from. Even so, law firms must know and address the risk that cloud networks offer and have a reliable incident response plan in place.

Other Risks to Legal Firms

Data Breaches pose a significant risk for legal firms, which must deal with financial, operational, and reputational damage. 

Website Attacks happen when legal professionals visit websites that are not fully secured. Bad actors exploit the vulnerabilities of these websites to infect the computers and networks of site visitors. 

Malpractice Suits can happen after a breach or inside attack. Clients can file a malpractice suit if they feel their attorney has not done everything necessary to protect their sensitive information.

Potential for Growth in IT for Legal Firms

It’s not just cybersecurity issues that have law firms stretched thin. There are so many emerging technologies available to support operations—but there just isn’t the time to research these solutions, implement them, and train staff on best practices and security protocols regarding these tools. 

Law firms are leveraging technology in all kinds of ways today—here are a few ways some firms are maximizing their potential with new solutions:

  • AI is used to respond to cyber threats and fortify cloud networks.

  • Zero-trust policies require authentication for users and devices to ward off unauthorized users.

  • Encryption is safeguarding data from bad actors, even if it falls into the wrong hands.

  • Password tools like multifactor authentication and biometrics authenticate users.

  • Mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are providing new opportunities for remote work, printing, and more, but require additional precautions to keep the network secure.

IT Support for Law Firms: How Managed IT Services Can Help

The list of cybersecurity-related concerns and potential areas for development continues to grow with each passing season—so how can legal professionals begin to keep up with it all?

The answer lies in managed IT services for law firms. Managed IT services for lawyers and other legal professionals are designed to help firms conquer the ins and outs of information technology—including looming cybersecurity threats and new technologies. These managed services free up busy firms from having to take on cybersecurity alone—or add full-time IT staff to payroll. Managed IT services for law firms are a thorough solution to outsource all IT and security needs so legal professionals can place all their focus on their core operations. 

Assistance can be tailored to meet the needs of the firm but include things like:

  • Security strategies and support to prevent cyber attacks and detect potentially suspicious activity. With managed IT services, firms can improve their level of preparedness and awareness, stay current with the latest security updates and patches, and locate even small changes within their system network to mitigate damage from malicious activity.

  • Protect regulated data like personal health information (PHI) and personal identification information (PII) that is covered by compliance regulations. Managed IT providers ensure legal firms are compliant, keeping data secure from attack and preventing costly penalties and fines.

  • Incident response plan and IT disaster plan development, implementation, and testing to get essential systems up and running after an attack to minimize damage and protect data from total loss.

  • Implement and monitor new technologies, tracking third-party vendor security and fortifying cybersecurity strategies for these solutions.

  • Continuous monitoring to spot potential threats as soon as they happen. Legal professionals need this level of defense 24/7 and managed IT services for law firms are a smart, cost-effective way to ensure attacks are handled promptly.

  • Downtime support to keep costs under control, limit the time spent on repair and recovery, and avoid the steep fees a non-managed IT service would charge to address downtime issues.

  • Innovation and growth can happen with the support of managed IT service providers, who can research strategies to foster improvements to a firm’s current IT infrastructure.

  • Team training to educate staff members on safe digital practices, email use policies, and general security protocols. Managed IT services can help ensure everyone within a firm acts as the first line of defense against phishing attacks, weak passwords, misconfigurations, and other similar threats. 

    At Christo IT, we’re dedicated to providing exceptional managed IT services to busy professionals in the greater Philadelphia area—and that includes staying in the know regarding the intricacies of maintaining a strong IT infrastructure within the legal sector. We’ll help you stay compliant with changing compliance regulations, stay ahead of bad actors, and level up your IT strategy to make technology work for your firm. 

    Ready to learn more? Connect with our team today!