“A Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Cybersecurity Questions Lawyers Ask” by Sensei’s Sharon Nelson and John Simek was featured in the May 2019 issue of the San Bernardino Bar Bulletin.
Excerpt: As many readers know, we lecture a lot. A whole lot. So we thought it might be interesting to relate the questions we have been asked most often in the past several months. Always fascinating to see what is “top of mind” at conferences and CLEs.
“I’ve been thinking about cybersecurity – what’s most important? A security assessment, penetration testing or employee training?”
Well . . . let’s start with penetration testing. For most solo/small law firms, this is probably overkill unless you have major league clients or extremely high value data. In pen testing, you are asking a company to pretend they are the “bad guys” and attack you – it is scary stuff, and tends to be expensive. The company will generally require a “get out of jail” free agreement, saying that they are not liable for any damages resulting from a successful compromises of your network.
A security assessment (sometimes also called an audit) is far less expensive. The assessment is usually done using software tools and involves a thorough review of your network. The result is generally a report identifying your critical vulnerabilities, medium-level vulnerabilities and low-level vulnerabilities. As a rule, it tends to come with a proposal for (at least) remediating the critical vulnerabilities along with the estimated cost. We believe it is wise to do these assessments, using a certified third party cybersecurity company, annually. Many clients and cyberinsurance companies are beginning to require these assessments as well.
There is no getting around the absolute need for annual employee cybersecurity training. It is generally fairly inexpensive and covers the basics of current threats and how to avoid such things as clicking on suspicious links/attachments, going to sketchy websites, giving information over the phone (duped by social engineering), and many other easy-to-make mistakes. A solid hour of good training each year is a small price to pay for educating your employees and creating a culture of cybersecurity.