Your law firm’s website establishes your online presence. In our digital world today, every firm should have a well-designed website. While the American Bar Association (ABA) reports that 87% of law firms surveyed have a website, many smaller and mid-sized firms are falling behind on website design and maintenance. At ONE400, we are the award-winning leaders in legal website design. Our team puts a strong emphasis on security. Law firm websites need to be protected from hacking and other cybersecurity breaches and in most states it is a Bar Association requirement. Law firm websites in most states are considered “attorney advertising” which means that your firm must have at least two years’ rolling backup of your website’s content. ONE400 also offers a monthly website hosting and compliance package that includes that required two years’ rolling backup.
In this post, you will find an overview of the best practices to protect your law firm’s website from being hacked.
Law Firm’s Website Hack: Know the Risks Posed By Cybersecurity Breaches
The internet has made it a lot easier for businesses and organizations to connect with their target audiences. A law firm’s website is an excellent tool to establish your firm’s brand and value proposition, demonstrate authority in the field, and engage with and acquire clients. Unfortunately, all websites also face certain risks from hackers and other cyber-attackers. According to data from IBM, an average of 30,000 websites are hacked every day. The consequences of hacking can be devastating for businesses, organizations, and government entities. TechRepublic reports that the total annual cost of data breaches in the United States now exceeds $1 trillion. A website hack can cause serious problems for a law firm. Here are some of the specific risks associated with the hacking of a website:
- Loss of Resources: A lot goes into building an effective legal website. A hacker could destroy all of that work.
- Taking Down of Your Website: Certain types of hacks and cyber attacks could take your website off of the internet—potentially for an extended period.
- Loss of Consumer Trust: When a website is hacked, it can harm a law firm’s reputation. The authority that you build could be undermined by hacking. Protect your law firm’s reputation with proper cybersecurity practices.
- Blacklisted/Downranking on Google: Google downranks and even blacklists hacked websites. A website that was performing well in search results (strong SEO) could lose all of that progress because of a website hack.
- Extortion: Website hackers may try to extort your law firm through ransomware. They may effectively demand a ransom payment to get your own website back.
- Contagion: The hack could spread, potentially even allowing a cybercriminal to get access to sensitive financial information or sensitive client information.
Five Best Practices to Protect Your Law Firm from a Legal Website Hack
How do you protect your law firm from the risks posed by hackers? You need a comprehensive digital security system. Here are five of the best practices to protect your law firm’s website:
- Limit Access, Ensure Passwords are Strong and Changed Regularly: As a starting point, it is important to limit access to the websites and to ensure that passwords are strong and changed on a regular basis. Did you know that the single most common way that hackers gain access to websites or other computer systems is through phishing attacks? In effect, they get the login credentials. Limiting access and protecting passwords are among the most foundational and important aspects of cybersecurity.
- Ensure all Data is Properly Encrypted: Sensitive data should be encrypted. As defined by Cloudian, data encryption is a “method of protecting data confidentiality by converting it to encoded information.” In effect, encryption makes data unusable for anyone (or any computer system) that does not have the proper code. By itself, encryption is not a surefire method to prevent the hacking of a website. Still, it is an important part of a more comprehensive cybersecurity system.
- Implement Regular Back Ups and Create a Data Retention Policy: What happens if your website gets hacked? Will you lose everything that you put into it? Is all the sensitive data gone forever? As with other types of data, the answer is “it depends.” By implementing regular backups of your data, your law firm can go a long way toward protecting it. Every law firm should have a well-considered data retention policy in place. Protecting your website and your website’s data is an important part of data retention.
- Conduct Regular Cybersecurity Audits: It is best to think of cybersecurity as an ongoing process. That is to say that protecting your legal website from hackers is not a “one-time” thing. It requires continued efforts, including the review and, if needed, the revision of your policies. It is a best practice to conduct regular cybersecurity audits for your law firm’s website and for your law firm’s technology tools more generally.
- Make Sure that All Devices are Fully Secure: Finally, it is imperative that you ensure that all devices used to access sensitive accounts—including your law firm’s website—are fully secure. A significant number of cybersecurity breaches happen because devices are compromised. Computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices need to be fully secure. Among other things, this means ensuring that these devices have the proper anti-virus software and anti-malware software installed and updated.
Digital security is complicated. It is imperative that all law firms have a secure, well-designed website that is properly protected from hackers.
ONE400 is a Leader in Digital Innovation and Technology Tools for the Legal Industry
At ONE400, we are leaders and digital innovation and technology for the legal industry. We help firms build effective, fully secure websites. If you have any questions about the best practices to protect your law firm’s website from being hacked, we are here to help. Give us a call now or connect with us online to set up a completely confidential initial consultation. ONE400 works with law firms in the United States and around the world. You can also visit ONE400 on LinkedIn here.