Mar 20, 2020

As the world braces for COVID-19, cybersecurity is in the spotlight

Most viruses related to cybersecurity are digital. But as of March 2020, every news channel ticker tape in the world scrolls statistics about a biological virus that’s fuelling panic.

Panic has an unsavoury way of setting off cascading levels of collapse.

The COVID-19 coronavirus now has a foothold on every continent but Antarctica. People are scared. Leaving international travel aside, basic day-to-day activities like buying groceries will see a reverse in direction from in to out, from offline to online. Major city centres and public places will get quieter. Corporations and professional companies, including law firms, will operate remotely. The dynamic will shift from face to face meetings to video conferences. Bandwidth will become important. And network security to protect that bandwidth will become even more important. The spotlight is firmly fixed on remote access and protecting sensitive information from cyber attacks, something many professional companies haven’t built into their operations yet.

Those in the information security business must oversee cybersecurity. But, in troubling times, MSPs must also clearly communicate how cybersecurity protects sensitive data from unauthorized access and how malicious software cannot gain access if compliance measures are met. Network security companies who successfully explain (on their websites and over email/phone) how to minimize cyberattack risk, provide both the nuts and bolts of cybersecurity as well as the sought-after assurances that will ease the way for law firms who look to quickly adopt digital alternatives.

Toronto law firms are quickly realizing that they aren’t prepared for a mass exodus from the hub. They aren’t set up for dozens or hundreds or thousands of entry points logging in from the outer spokes. Before 2020, cybersecurity was on everyone’s list in the somewhat near future. But then the coronavirus outbreak became a pandemic and the horizon dropped heavily out of the air and landed on corporate doorsteps. This creates an opportunity for Managed IT Service Providers to hand out safety carabiners to law firms worried about a gross tumble down the revenue mountain (imitating the stock market).

In tandem with this sudden prioritized pivot comes the mass absorption of cybersecurity information. Administrators and legal partners discover overnight that the human factor is the weakest link in a cybersecurity strategy. Weak network security comes in many forms: lacklustre passwords, unmasked IPs, absent VPNs, unsecured home-based IoT devices, and unauthorized apps that create wiggle room for information leaks and privacy hacks.

Approximately 90% of all cyberattacks begin with compromising login credentials… Once in, then ensues the data breach or ransomware attack!”
Encrypted Tokenization-based 2FA Solutions – IAmI

Compounding this list of potential security breaches is the slow adoption of seemingly ultra-futuristic biometric authentication (secure passwordless logins that use fingerprint, retina, face, or voice recognition).

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), UK, has issued a security advisory, urging those who use smart cameras and baby monitors in the home to take the steps necessary to protect their devices from cyber-criminals.

This isn’t a small warning, considering the estimated 25 billion IoT connections expected in homes by 2025. (Gartner: Leading the IoT)

Data leaks for law firms—an industry built on confidentiality—is a particularly critical threat. Security must not only meet compliance requirements, but law-specific routines like electronic discovery, case management, and document management must exceed security protocols. As law firms look to fortify their IT requirements, it’s important to identify the Managed IT companies that are better suited for the legal industry. Because not all MSPs are created equal. Some provide extended hours of support, scalable on-demand resources, and guidance to help law firms achieve technology alignment. Some protect against the different forms of cybersecurity threats better than others. A one-size-fits-all MSP won’t deliver the same level of protection for the legal sector as a Managed Service Provider with years of experience in the legal field.

In league with the rising implementation of cybersecurity measures will be a similar increase in regulatory bodies to police conformity, protecting adopters with multi-level privacy regulations—that come with penalties for non-compliance. This means that sooner or later, cybersecurity will see a portion of company budgets allocated to minimizing risk.

But cybersecurity doesn’t have to be a cost-prohibitive beast. It can come in a custom box, neatly tied by a compliance ribbon that’s shipped out at a price point professional companies like law firms can implement immediately. But getting online-ready for video conferences and credit card payments may cause an economic hiccup for those whose customer base includes an older demographic that holds fast to in-person meetings.

The COVID-19 virus will have its day and eventually fade away. The more robust cybersecurity industry won’t follow this trend. Venture capitalists will invest more heavily in the cybersecurity sector, favouring comparatively low-risk cybersecurity companies to other innovative startups who deal in human contact. And that means growth for the Managed IT security industry not just now but in the future.

Partners and administrators who reinvent their law firms to be more digitally-dependent will see the benefits that come from online efficiency and will stay the course. And as more law firms take control of their sensitive data and strengthen their online ecosystem, cybersecurity companies will find themselves standing at the helm of the digital future. It is an exciting and unexpected opportunity to excel.

Our experienced team provides skilled, managed IT services with unmatched expertise in helping Canadian law firms protect their sensitive data and infrastructure. Contact us today to learn more about what we do and how we can help.

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