COVID-19 has definitely raised the bar for law firm cyber security. As practicing lawyers work remotely, attend court hearings and meet with clients virtually, and with a significant spike in cyber attacks since the beginning of this pandemic, the need to have appropriate safeguards to protect client confidential data is of extreme importance.
- Utilize secure passwords
- Access your system remotely via a secure VPN
- Encrypt emails containing confidential or proprietary information
- Train lawyers and staff to avoid phishing emails and other scams
- Adopt and test an Incident Report Plan (IRP)
Although it might not seem necessary for your law firm to have an IRP, a recent U.S. District Court decision, In Re: Capital One Consumer Data Security Breach Litigation, MDL No. 1:19md2915 (AJT/JFA) (May 26, 2020), highlights the importance of having a working IRP in place, and following it to the letter. In this case, Capital One was a victim of a data breach which allowed access to personal information. A digital forensics firm was hired and issued a report about the technical problems that led to the data breach. Lawsuits were inevitably filed against Capital One and a court eventually ordered production of the forensics report to the plaintiffs, finding that such was not adequately protected by work-product privilege. Had Capital One followed a process outlined in a carefully crafted IRP, coordinating the forensic process in advance through counsel, controlling dissemination of such to preserve privilege, it might have been successful in protecting such a report as attorney work-product privilege.
The OBLIC Cyber Toolbox can help you get started protecting your firm from a cyber breach and mitigating any potential loss. Additionally, your OBLIC policy provides basic cyber security insurance protection, with additional limits and coverages offered through its subsidiary, the OSBA Insurance Agency. See OBLICAlert What Coverage Do I Have For a Cyber Breach If I Am Working Remotely?
OBLIC is here to assist you at all times. However, as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” If there are any questions about this or any other loss prevention topic, please do not hesitate to contact us at OBLIC.
Gretchen Mote, Esq.
Director of Loss Prevention