The digital age has brought many benefits, but also many dangers. Law firms of all sizes are not only vulnerable to cyber-attacks, but are very appealing targets for hackers. According to the American Bar Association, "The cost of a cyber attack can be substantial. The average annual cost of a cybercrime incident in 2012 was $8.9 million, according to the Ponemon Institute’s 2012 Cost of Cyber Crime report."
There are many ways in which breaches can occur: spoof emails, an accidental click on malware, vulnerabilities in software, and through an employee's personal use of a firm's computer. Remote access via a wireless network, tablet, cell phone, or even from home, can place the entire company at risk.
Attorneys are legally and ethically responsible for the task of protecting their clients’ information. Numerous states have even enacted legislation pertaining to a firm's competency in the use of technology and their ability to safeguard confidential records.
Law firm cyber liability insurance can help mitigate damages when a breach occurs. The following points should be considered when researching a policy:
- Are unknown breaches that may have already occurred included in the coverage? This is an important point that should be fully addressed prior to choosing a cyber liability policy.
- Is there a clause pertaining to public relations to help manage the firm's reputation after an attack? Owing to the significance of confidentiality of the legal field, an attack that becomes public knowledge can cause financial and reputational loss to the firm.
- Are civil and regulatory penalty coverages included in the policy?
- Is a privacy brief notification included in the policy? Most states have laws requiring law firms to notify clients in the event their confidential information is compromised, even when the leak is inadvertent.
It is essential to safeguard clients as well as the resources of your own firm from the hazards of today's dangerous digital age. Law firm cyber liability insurance can extend to emails as well as files kept on all digital devices. Regardless of where these files are accessed, just one exposed file, or wrong click, can jeopardize your entire firm.