Email Security: How Law Firms and Attorneys Can Protect Sensitive Client Information

May 8, 2017

By: Jon Robinson

Email hacking has become quite a hot topic lately, and the American Bar Association (ABA) recently responded by releasing a publication on “Securing Communication of Protected Client Information.”

In row 138, the document stated that it’s “not always reasonable to rely on the use of unencrypted email.”

In row 202, the publication devoted a section on determining “how electronic communications about clients matters should be protected.”

In row 212, the document indicated that “Alternatively, lawyers can consider the use of a well-vetted and secure third-party cloud-based file storage system to exchange documents normally attached to emails.”

So what do all these mean for your law firm?

As a law practice, your clients are entrusting you with their private and confidential information. It’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of such information both during transit and in storage.

A security breach will not only have legal and financial ramifications but also impact the trust and relationships you’ve built with your clients.

As such, it’s critical that law firms and attorneys take precautions to ensure the security of all client information.

With the advent of the digital age, an increasing amount of confidential information is being shared and communicated electronically.

Many attorneys are sending files with sensitive information via emails. Even though this helps expedite many procedures, the often insecure transfer of data also open up opportunities for malicious hackers to profit from exploiting such private information.

Emailing Confidential Client Information Exposes Your Practice To Cyber Criminals

60% of companies in this study said they’ve experienced more than one data breach in the span of two years’ time.

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No email platform is fully protected from security breaches. Email communications involve a large number of moving parts and offer too many “entry points” for hackers to exploit, many of which are not under your control no matter how diligent you are.

For example, if someone you trust got hacked, they could unknowing send you malicious files or links that could give hackers access to your system. The same goes for your employees and clients.

In Q3 2016, 18 million new malware samples were captured.

All it takes is for one piece of malicious code to sneak into one of your employee’s inbox to put your entire company’s data and your clients’ private information at risk.

Not to mention, when a breach happens and an email account got hacked, not only the documents you’re currently working on are at risk but every single document you’ve ever emailed could also get compromised!

Creating a secure IT environment for information transfer using emails with an on-premise server is costly and very challenging.

Even if you manage to set up a secure server environment, you have to ensure that all your employees are following the security protocols at all times.

With the increasingly popular “bring your own device” trend in the workplace, implementing endpoint security can be a huge undertaking if you were to do it on your own.

Not to mention, no matter how secure your IT environment is, you don’t have control over that of your clients’. It takes only one client to make one mistake to create a domino effect of irreparable damage.

A More Secure Way For Document Transfer and Collaboration

As a response to the insecure nature of email communication, ABA recommends lawyers to “consider the use of a well-vetted and secure third-party cloud-based file storage system to exchange documents normally attached to emails.”

What does that mean, and what can you do?

To prevent important data from being hacked via emails or stolen from hardware, more and more companies are relying on cloud services — Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) — to handle sensitive information.

In 2016, more than 94% of companies use SaaS vendors to provide secure environments for keeping their data and information safe when transferring and sharing documents.

Using cloud-based platforms to handle file transfer both internally and with clients is the best way to ensure that your information is secure from the prying eyes of malicious hackers, and here’s why:

  • Your information is protected by endpoint security protocols, such as multi-factor authentication to ensure that only authorized clients and personnel can access the designated files and data.
  • You can rest assured that your data is safeguarded in a secure environment by a professional team of IT experts, 24/7/365.
  • Even if hackers manage to breach your email system, they won’t be able to obtain your sensitive client information because these files aren’t stored on your email server.
  • You don’t have to worry about upgrading your hardware or software to comply with fast-evolving industry standards.
  • You can be sure that your files and data are backed up with a comprehensive recovery plan.
  • Your data and files are encrypted during transit and storage for extra security.
  • You’re protected against ransomware – even if hackers can get into your server, there’s no file for them to hold hostage because your information isn’t stored locally.

Not All Cloud Platforms Are Created Equal

The security of a cloud service is only as good as the company that’s hosting it.

That’s why Litify chooses to build our applications – a suite of tools customized for attorneys and law firms – on the Salesforce platform.

Salesforce’s cloud service is the world’s largest CRM platform trusted by numerous government agencies and global corporations including ADP, Amazon Web Service, America Express, Cisco, Comcast, GE, KLM, L’Oreal, NBC, Philips, P&G, Spotify, T-Mobile, Toyota, Western Union, and many more.

Besides the many benefits offered by cloud-based computing, Litify’s customers can take advantage of the robust security available through the Salesforce platform.

For added protection, our team doesn’t have access to your files and data, which live on the Salesforce cloud and are only accessible by those authorized by your company.

Our team at Litify is ready to help you meet the standard of today’s IT security best practices and protect your firm’s and your clients’ sensitive information from prying hackers. Schedule a live demo to see our software in action.