The Importance of Secure Digital Assets for the Modern Law Firm
The year is now 2020. It’s been 45 years since the first personal computer hit the market. Since then the progression of modern technology has been increasing faster and faster. It’s hard to imagine a world today where computing doesn’t permeate every aspect of our lives. From smart-phones to smart-homes, technology is irreversibly integrated into our daily lives.
But our continuing reliance on technology isn’t without its downsides. The more we rely on it – the more vulnerable we are when it’s taken away from us. Whether you’re a law firm or a retailer, how many days do you think you could feasibly operate without access to your data?
This isn’t a hypothetical question. Vulnerabilities are exploited every day on the internet. All it takes is a handful of bad practices or poor security decisions and you can leave yourself open to exploitation.
The first ever computer virus hit the ARPANET (the internet’s predecessor) years before the first personal computer was even released.
What We’re Seeing Now
The wealth of potential cyber abuse only grows as the field of software engineering moves on from its infancy. Script injections, phishing and even social engineering are all pretty commonplace across the net.
More recently, an attack which encrypts all local data in exchange for an anonymous ransom payment has seen popularity. The most notorious iteration of this being the fairly recent “WannaCry” cyber attack, which managed to cost the NHS roughly £72m.
The legal sector is NOT free from risk here. Over the course of 2018-2019, 60% of law firms reported some sort of successful security breach relating to their data. This was up from around 40% the previous year.
52% of firms reported detecting any sort of attempt (whether successful or) in the previous year also.
See data above for some of the more commonly reported attacks from the legal sector.
Phishing attacks and other forms of social engineering are amongst the most common. Probably because these are the most successful. But outright, software vulnerability related attacks are still incredibly common.
At this point we’ve stressed enough that your digital assets could be at risk. What can you do to keep yourself secure? One of the key strategies you can implement is ensuring you pick an SEO agency that maintains best practices.
What Cyber Secure Digital Marketing Services Can Offer You
Digital marketers have a great wealth of responsibility on their shoulders when they’re working on your website. Growing your online presence is a massive part of this responsibility, but it’s not the only part. Anyone who’s spent a considerable amount of time in the field of digital marketing knows that there are a handful of good practices that should be consistently implemented. There are also a handful of bad practices that should be avoided.
Keeping any additional software up to date
Plugins and other third party software must be updated constantly. Developers work tirelessly to find and patch exploits before they’re identified by those with malicious intent. Sometimes exploits are already exposed to the general public before an update is released. This means that software updates are time critical and should be kept on top of.
Software shouldn’t really be auto-updated either. There are a handful of business models out there built around purchasing old software/plugins and loading them with backlinks. These extract power away from your domain and off to whoever the new owner of the software may be.
This is a no-brainer for most people, but everyone in digital marketing has encountered SSL certification issues at least once. SSL Certification is effectively a guarantee that all communications between a customer’s computer and your website are encrypted. You can tell if your website is SSL certified by the presence of a green padlock to the left hand side of your URL.
Encrypted Padlock Website Security Image
Not only does this protect the data of your customers, it also inspires more confidence in your website. Google is aware of this and will not rank uncertified websites as highly as websites with the certification (ie Google will penalize any websites that aren’t secure).
Other Examples Of Good Practices Include:
- Removing Directory Indexing
- Implementing 2 Factor Authentication
- Using Reliable Hosting Services
- Regular Back-Ups
- Regular Malware Scans
- Adequate Training In Avoiding Phishing/Spoofing
There are countless other examples of good practices. Any reliable agency will have built up a strong repertoire of these over time.
Bad practices can be harmful for a multitude of reasons. Agencies that ‘cut corners’ don’t just put your work at risk – they put their own work at risk. You can do an abundance of optimisation work on a website, but if you fail to SSL certify it, you’re wasting your time.
In fact, website security across the board is a massive factor in your ability to rank for search engines.
Bad practices don’t just extend to neglecting security either. Using unconventional tactics to artificially boost your rankings can also hurt your business in the long run. Spamming/hiding links to your website across the net on random, low quality domains might net you a short boost in rankings. But once the Google algorithm has had some time to figure out what’s happening, you’re going to have to deal with some serious fallout.
Search engine rankings aside, all it takes is for your digital assets to be compromised once to knock public confidence in you/your brand and business. Especially as people in the modern age grow more conscientious of the importance of their data and how valuable it can actually be.
What Does This Mean For You?
If you run a website, it’s your responsibility to ensure that adequate measures are taken to protect your users. If you conduct confidential business through your emails, you could be in for a serious headache if these emails are compromised.
Losing public trust is never great for a business. Losing trust isn’t the worst thing that can happen either. If you’re unable to prove that all preventative measures were feasibly taken to protect sensitive data, it’s possible for those affected to pursue legal action.
In 2016, world famous cyber security expert Jeff Moss was quoted as saying: “The days of software companies having built-in legal “liability protections” are about to come to an end”
There’s only so much you can do to protect your data, but you want to be absolutely certain you’ve done everything you possibly can.
Pickled Ginger Marketing is a CyberSafe firm.