British Columbia Law Firms Need to Prioritize Cybersecurity

Posted: November 30, 2021

Cybersecurity is no laughing matter, as it can be associated with many severe legal ramifications… something that many law firms in British Columbia are sure to appreciate. However, how can a law firm keep itself safe from a cyberattack? What needs to be done?

Compliance Requirements That Apply to Canadian Businesses… Including Law Firms

PIPEDA/Personal Information Protection Act

PIPEDA, or the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, is a federal-level piece of legislation that sets the standards for protecting personal information as a business entity. However, PIPEDA only applies in areas that do not already have existing legislation that is substantially similar. Here in British Columbia, we do, in the form of the Personal Information Protection Act.

All businesses are required to uphold a few obligations:

  • All personal information must be protected by sufficient security safeguards, based on how sensitive the information is.
  • An organization is responsible for the data it collects and must have an assigned resource responsible for ensuring continued compliance.
  • Data must be protected against all forms of unauthorized access, theft, duplication, or modification in all forms it is stored in.

In addition to the Personal Information Protection Act, there are numerous other requirements that businesses have to uphold thanks to the growing precedent that Canadian case law is currently accumulating. To avoid issues, all businesses (again, including law firms) should make sure that all security patches are applied in a timely manner, and that there’s a minimal distribution of administrative privileges on their IT networks.

We consider this “bare-minimum” level stuff, and definitely something we can help organizations achieve.

In Case of a Data Breach, Your Firm Needs to Be Prepared

Everyone involved in your law firm needs to have a basic understanding of cybersecurity, at least to the point where they understand the level of risk that your firm could potentially face and how they are expected to conduct themselves so that this risk is minimized.

This makes it important that everyone at least understands and abides by a few essential best practices:

Following Password Best Practices

Passwords are one of the cornerstones of any business’ security, which means that certain standards need to be established and upheld. A law firm needs a password management policy that sets requirements for the passwords used to access its resources. For example, passwords should never be reused on other accounts, passwords should not be written down someplace they can be read, and passwords shouldn’t include personal details that someone could piece together.

Properly Handling the Firm’s Technology

A considerable portion of cybercriminals active today choose to focus their efforts on the users of a business’ infrastructure, rather than the business’ infrastructure itself. All employees, therefore, need to know how to spot and avoid phishing attacks, as well as how to report that one has been spotted. In addition, they also need to know not to use unapproved equipment, like USB drives, on the firm’s technology. These rules, and others, will help support your cybersecurity.

Regular Training and Testing

Every employee of the firm should also be required to undergo cybersecurity training on a regular basis, with evaluations done at random to ensure that the lessons have stuck. Everyone should also be made familiar with some basic IT policies as well, including the wireless policy you have in place.

If This Sounds Like a Lot, It Is… Which is Why We’re Here to Help

Admittedly, we’ve only scratched the surface of a comprehensive cybersecurity policy, so any law firm will need to attend to much more than we’ve listed here. We can help you manage the cybersecurity aspect of your firm so you can focus on your caseload.

For our assistance with your law firm’s cybersecurity needs, give us a call at (250) 483-5623.

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