Cyber Security

Your essential business guide to cyber security for law firms

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the role of cyber security for law firms, highlighting key challenges and the benefits of working with cyber security specialists. We also provide a strategic roadmap to help you select the ideal cyber security partner, leveraging our extensive experience to enhance your firm’s resilience and compliance.
A photo of Ian Welch, who is a partner & technical director for Network

Written by

Ian Welch

Ian is the Technical Director @ Network and a certified ethical hacker (CEH), security professional (CISSP) and ISO27001 lead implementer with over 25 years experience.

Updated on

May 3, 2024

Lawyers in a meeting discussing a new case

Before we dive in

Are you looking for cyber security for your business today? If so, check out our cyber security services to see if we're a good fit for your requirements. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy our guide below!

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Key Takeaways

  1. Discover how cyber security challenges uniquely impact law firms, highlighting the rising threats and the need for specialised strategies to protect sensitive client data.
  2. Learn about the top benefits of engaging with cyber security experts, from enhanced data protection to regulatory compliance, that can safeguard your firm's reputation and client trust.
  3. Explore practical tips on choosing the right cyber security provider for your law firm, ensuring a fit that not only meets technical needs but also aligns with your firm’s values and communication style.

What is the role of cyber security for law firms?

Law firms face a unique set of challenges in protecting sensitive data and client information. For many businesses, especially law firms, outsourcing cyber security services is a cost-effective alternative to maintaining an in-house team.

Cyber security companies offer a comprehensive approach to data security, working with various established frameworks to ensure robust defence mechanisms are in place.

  • NCSC Cyber Assessment Framework (CAF): Guides law firms in assessing and improving their cyber security practices, focusing on areas critical to safeguarding sensitive client data.
  • Cyber Essentials: A government-backed scheme that helps protect organisations, including law firms, against a range of the most common cyber attacks.
  • The IASME Governance Standard: Offers a standard for cyber risk management that is attainable for smaller law firms, covering aspects like GDPR and data protection.
  • SOC2: Ensures service providers securely manage your data to protect the interests of your organisation and the privacy of your clients.
  • ISO Standards (ISO 27001 and ISO 22301): ISO 27001 focuses on information security management, while ISO 22301 emphasises the importance of business continuity management, crucial for maintaining firm operations under adverse conditions.
  • PCI-DSS: Ensures that law firms handling credit card information maintain a secure environment, protecting both client financial information and firm transactions.

What services do cyber security companies provide?

To tackle cyber threats effectively, cyber security companies deploy a range of services designed to protect every aspect of a law firm’s digital and operational infrastructure.

These services not only enhance your firm’s resilience against cyber attacks but also ensure ongoing compliance with industry standards.

  • Security Operations Centre (SOC): Offers real-time threat detection and incident response, enhancing your firm's ability to counteract cyber threats proactively.
  • Network Auditing: Analyses your network for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cybercriminals, ensuring that defences are both adequate and effective.
  • Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR): Monitors endpoint and network events while simultaneously responding to detected issues to prevent the spread of any threat.
  • Phishing Simulations: Tests employees' reactions to deceptive emails to assess and improve your firm's susceptibility to phishing attacks.
  • Vulnerability Scanning: Proactively scans systems for weaknesses, offering insights needed to fortify your firm against potential cyber-attacks.
  • Dark Web Monitoring: Surveils hidden online spaces to detect if any of your firm’s sensitive data is being traded or sold illicitly.
  • Security Awareness Training: Equips your team with the knowledge to recognise and mitigate emerging cyber risks.
  • Penetration Testing: Simulates cyber attacks to identify weaknesses in your firm's cyber defences.
  • Managed Compliance: Assures continuous adherence to regulatory requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance fines.
  • Ongoing Support: Provides 24/7 assistance to handle any emergent cyber security issues, offering peace of mind and continuity.
A business owner looking overwhelmed as he realises he's had a cyber security breach

Do these cyber security challenges sound familiar to your business?

Your staff are anxious about phishing and malware, unsure how to identify the threats.

You’re concerned that your current cyber security measures might not be strong enough.

There’s increasing pressure to ensure customer data is more securely protected.

The importance of cyber security services for law firms

For law firms, the complexity and severity of cyber security risks are higher than average. The cost of maintaining robust cyber defences is considerably less than the potential losses from a data breach, not only in financial terms but also considering client trust and firm reputation.

Working with a cyber security service provides law firms not just with cutting-edge technology and expertise but also a reliable partner in managing and mitigating cyber risks.

There will always be incidents that need monitoring, and having a dedicated team ready to address these ensures that your firm can focus more on its clients and less on potential threats.

This proactive approach to cyber security ensures that your firm is prepared to handle various scenarios, from data breaches to ransomware attacks, thus protecting both your client's sensitive information and your firm’s integrity.

What challenges do law firms face when it comes to cyber threats?

Law firms in the UK are grappling with a complex array of cybersecurity challenges, stemming from the sensitive nature of the data they handle and the increasing sophistication of cybercriminals.

Increased risk of cyber attacks

The number of cyber attacks on UK law firms has risen sharply, with a 36% increase in reported breaches in the past year alone. High-profile incidents, such as the ransomware attack on Magic Circle firm Allen and Overy, highlight the vulnerability of even the largest firms. Criminals target law firms because of the valuable and sensitive client information they hold, which, if exposed, can lead to significant reputational and financial damage.

Challenges with technology and infrastructure

Many law firms are playing catch-up with their cyber security measures. Some are still using outdated systems, such as Windows Server 2012, which no longer receive security updates, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. Additionally, the shift towards remote working necessitates more advanced cyber security protocols to protect data accessed from outside the traditional office environment.

Regulatory and compliance risks

UK law firms must navigate a complex regulatory landscape, including standards set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and compliance with frameworks like GDPR and Cyber Essentials. The SRA has identified evolving cyber threats as a major risk, pointing out the increasing use of sophisticated methods like deepfake technology and AI-driven attacks. Law firms are urged to continually assess their cyber security measures to protect client data and meet these regulatory requirements effectively.

Insider threats and human error

Human error remains a significant risk factor, with many incidents attributed to staff mistakes or insider threats. The economic pressures, such as the ongoing cost of living crisis, may exacerbate these risks, potentially leading to malicious insiders exploiting their access for financial gain.

Supply chain vulnerabilities

Cyber risks extend beyond the law firms themselves to include vulnerabilities in their supply chain. CTS who are a Managed Service Provider (MSP), which many law firms rely on for IT support, have been targeted by cyber-attacks, affecting hundreds of UK firms. This highlights the need for rigorous security assessments of third-party providers.

Technological advancements and new threats

The legal sector must also prepare for emerging threats linked to technological advancements. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in cyber attacks is increasing, making these threats more difficult to predict and mitigate. Additionally, techniques such as multi-factor authentication faking and QR code phishing are becoming more prevalent, presenting new challenges for law firms.

These challenges underscore the importance of advanced cyber security policies, continuous staff training, and proactive technology updates to safeguard sensitive client information and maintain trust in the legal sector.

The top 10 benefits of working with cybersecurity experts in the legal sector

By partnering with cybersecurity experts, law firms not only strengthen their defence against cyber threats but also enhance their overall business operations, client service, and compliance posture. This strategic collaboration is essential to manage increasingly sophisticated and potentially devastating cyber threats. Here are our top 10 benefits:

  1. Enhanced Data Protection: Cybersecurity experts implement advanced data protection strategies to secure sensitive client data against breaches, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR.
  2. Tailored Cyber Risk Assessments: Experts provide bespoke risk assessments and cyber security health checks that identify specific vulnerabilities within a law firm, enabling targeted security enhancements that protect against cyber threats relevant to the legal sector.
  3. Proactive Threat Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of the firm’s digital footprint helps to detect and respond to threats in real-time, significantly reducing the potential impact of cyber-attacks.
  4. Advanced Incident Response: In the event of a cyber attack or security breach, cybersecurity professionals can execute sophisticated incident response plans designed to limit damage and recover data, minimising downtime and client impact.
  5. Regulatory Compliance Assurance: Cybersecurity teams ensure that law firms meet all regulatory requirements related to cyber risk, including those set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and other legal industry standards.
  6. Staff Training and Awareness Programs: Experts conduct comprehensive training sessions to educate staff about common cyber threats and prevention strategies, significantly reducing the risk posed by human error.
  7. Enhanced Client Trust and Confidence: Demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity enhances a firm’s reputation and builds trust with clients, who are increasingly concerned about the security of their sensitive information.
  8. Access to Latest Technology and Expertise: Working with cybersecurity experts gives law firms access to the latest security technology and the deep technical expertise needed to implement and manage these tools effectively.
  9. Cost-Effective Security Solutions: Outsourcing cybersecurity allows law firms to benefit from expert services and advanced technology without the need for significant capital investment in in-house security infrastructure.
  10. Strategic Security Planning: Cybersecurity professionals help law firms to develop long-term security strategies that align with their specific business objectives and the evolving cyber threat landscape, ensuring sustained protection and resilience.
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How to choose the perfect cyber security specialists for your law firm

Choosing the right cybersecurity specialists is crucial for protecting your law firm's sensitive data and maintaining client trust. According to feedback from many of our clients, one of the key factors that prompted them to switch cyber security providers was poor communication.

This highlights the importance of finding a partner that not only has the technical expertise but also values clear and consistent communication.

Here's a checklist to help you evaluate potential cybersecurity specialists:

  • Evaluate Their Experience with Law Firms: Does the provider have a proven track record of working with legal clients? Experience in the legal sector is vital as it ensures the provider understands the unique challenges and compliance requirements of law firms.
  • Check Compliance and Certifications: Are they certified under frameworks relevant to your operations such as Cyber Essentials, ISO 27001, or SOC2? Certifications are a good indicator of a provider's commitment to maintaining high standards.
  • Assess Communication and Support: How responsive are they? Consider their support structure and preferred communication channels. Effective communication can be as crucial as technical prowess.
  • Inquire About Tailored Security Measures: Can they tailor their security measures to the specific needs of your firm? Generic solutions may not be adequate for the particular risks faced by law firms.
  • Review Their Cyber Security Frameworks and Strategies: What frameworks do they use? Are their strategies proactive? Understanding their approach to cyber security can help you determine how they will protect your firm against evolving threats.
  • Ask About Incident Response Capabilities: How do they handle potential security breaches? An effective incident response plan is essential for minimising damage and recovering quickly from cyber incidents.
  • Determine Scalability: Can their services grow with your firm? It’s important that the cyber security measures in place can scale as your firm expands.
  • Consider Their Technology Stack: What technologies do they employ to protect your firm? Ensure they use up-to-date and robust technologies to safeguard your data.
  • Evaluate Costs Versus Benefits: Are their services cost-effective considering the potential risks to your firm? It’s crucial to balance cost with the level of security and service provided.
  • Seek Client References and Testimonials: What do other law firms say about their services? Client testimonials can provide insights into the reliability and effectiveness of their services.
  • Think About Cultural Fit: Does their corporate culture align with your firm’s values? A provider that shares your firm's values and work ethic can enhance the partnership.

This checklist should guide you through selecting a cyber security provider that not only meets your technical requirements but also aligns with your firm’s operational needs and values, ensuring a strong and effective partnership.

Related guides

  • Understand why cyber security for small businesses is essential in protecting against threats that could disrupt operations and compromise sensitive data.
  • Discover the benefits of managed cyber security services, offering continuous protection, expert threat detection, and response capabilities to safeguard your assets.
  • Learn about the importance of cyber security for financial services, where maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of financial data is crucial against the backdrop of increasing cyber threats.
  • Explore how IT consultancy in London can provide tailored solutions to enhance your technological capabilities and drive your business forward in a competitive market.


We hope this guide has equipped you with a clearer understanding of the critical importance of cyber security for law firms, from navigating the complex landscape of threats to the benefits of partnering with expert security providers.

Are you facing similar challenges in safeguarding your sensitive data from cyber criminals? How does cyber security impact your daily operations?

We’d love to connect and learn more about your specific needs. If you're considering enhancing your cyber security measures and need help from expert cybersecurity consultants, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.