Cybersecurity Essentials Every Law Firm Needs


Law firms possess vast quantities of highly sensitive information that puts them at the top of hackers’ hit lists. Everything from trade secrets, to personally identifiable information, to private information that can be used for extortion are considered high-value material on the dark web.

Prominent leaks in recent years, including the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, have heightened client awareness of privacy and cyber security. Consequently, the legal sector is expected to demonstrate exemplary security posture in the face of rampant cyber crime.

To that end, every law firm must have these five essential cyber security capabilities to protect client data.


 Cyber Security Expertise

No combination of even the best cyber security tools can replace the knowledge, skills and abilities of certified security analysts. Despite the rise of automated threat detection tools that minimize false positives, access to cyber security experts remains necessary for threat intelligence gathering, selection of the most effective tools, fine-tuning of threat detection systems, and incident response to alerts and indicators of compromise (IOCs).

Seasoned cyber security experts can help identify gaps and conceive and execute strategies that shore up a law firm’s defenses. Law firms with dedicated cyber security professionals on staff demonstrate to current and potential clients their seriousness about cyber security. IT staff who are not career cyber security professionals lack the knowledge and expertise to fulfill this function.


The list of available security solutions is long and growing: antivirus, next-generation firewalls, anti-spam, intrusion detection systems, endpoint detection and response, mobile device managers and many more.

To streamline management, disparate log data from these resources must be aggregated into a single, central management console known as a security information and event management (SIEM) system. From this control panel, security analysts can unify log-data streams into a single point of truth, where it can undergo continuous analysis.

 24×7 Continuous Monitoring

Even with a SIEM, continuously monitoring network traffic is a complex endeavor. This 24/7, 365 process can overwhelm the most seasoned IT operations teams

Increasingly, certified security analysts leverage artificial intelligence (AI)-based analysis to reduce SIEM noise. This hybrid AI approach to continuous monitoring sifts out false positives, which frees analysts to chase down truly pernicious alerts. Even with AI’s help, there may be hundreds of daily alerts requiring investigation. The strength of an organization’s threat detection hinges on its ability to eliminate false positives, proactively hunt for signs of false negatives (threats that appear quantitatively innocuous but have qualitatively threatening properties), and respond to them in real time.

 Incident Response Plans

Organizations must respond swiftly and effectively to IOCs to, ideally, prevent loss of data and other damages. If the threat progresses, however, the goal becomes containing the threat to prevent further damage to the organization, or to implement a disaster recovery plan.

This process, known as incident response (IR), is an all-hands-on-deck effort. It requires quick thinking by incident responders on the front lines (system quarantines, patching, etc.), but also strategic action from employees, managers, public relations teams and other stakeholders whose jobs are to maintain business operations and mitigate reputational fallout. It’s not a matter of if, but when your law firm gets breached. Incident response is your last line of defense.

 Security Operations Center

All of the above are central components of the security operations center (SOC), a critical element of any modern cybersecurity strategy. For law firms, the combination of full-time expertise, a SIEM, continuous monitoring and incident response seemed like a pipe dream, and up until recently, it was.

Today, however, SOC-as-a-service is a viable option for law firms unable to budget millions of dollars to create and operate their own SOC. AWN CyberSOC™ delivers the required components–security expertise (via Consierge Security Engineers), SIEM technology, continuous monitoring, threat detection and incident response­—all at a predictable, subscription-based cost.


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