Ideas and reality: Protecting your organization’s computer systems, networks and infrastructure in practical ways | Thomson Reuters Regulatory watch and compliance learning
How can law firms and corporations best protect their most critical infrastructure: the computer systems and networks that form the backbone of these organizations?
Today, law firms and businesses are subject to an array of cybersecurity risks, some predictable and some not, that can significantly impact their value, reputation, and functionality. In some cases, cyberattacks can threaten an organization’s information technology (IT) infrastructure with outright collapse.
Strengthening cybersecurity is difficult and advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things and the metaverse will inevitably make things worse. Indeed, a world in which more objects are computerized and digitized is a world with more targets for cybercriminals. Even more worrying is the unpredictability of cyberattacks that can trigger cascading network and system failures that go far beyond existing cybersecurity policies or strategies. It is therefore not surprising that the Securities and Exchange Commission in March proposed rules requiring companies to disclose their cybersecurity risk management policies and strategy.
However, as TS Eliot wrote, “Between idea and reality falls the shadow.” In other words, the gap between theory and practice can be significant.
Law firms and corporations have no shortage of strategies or ideas to bolster their cybersecurity policies; however, many lack practical guidance on how to effectively implement these policies and put them into practice. Strengthening cybersecurity standards goes beyond installing firewalls. Indeed, one of the most effective countermeasures to avert cyber threats is to implement robust policies, procedures, and standards that can protect an organization’s critical IT infrastructure while aligning with its business objectives or operational mission.
Create a resilient cybersecurity framework
As cyberattacks have become more sophisticated, the need to create a resilient cybersecurity framework has grown. Indeed, according to the UK 2022 Cybersecurity Breach Survey39% of UK businesses said they had been victims of cyberattacks in the last 12 months.
Against this picture, it is natural to worry most about the range of risks caused by cyberattacks. Yet despite these concerns, these risks can be managed. In this sense, a law firm or a company must expand its cybersecurity strategy by implementing effective countermeasures in order to create a resilient cybersecurity framework. This involves a thorough analysis of the critical components of an organization’s virtual ecosystem as well as identifying what could happen if one of the critical components fails or is compromised.
A law firm or business should also review and identify the critical components of its overall IT environment and consider how each component interacts with each other. The goal is to ensure that it can identify the weakest link in its current IT environment by locating a weak component at an early stage and creating an effective response to manage and mitigate potential attacks against its overall digital infrastructure. .
Once a weak component is located and identified, it is paramount to assess what relevant cybersecurity policies and strategies need to be implemented in order to harden the weak component and achieve an overall secure IT environment framework. Equally important, organizations must establish which of their professionals is responsible for paying attention to the operation and safety of critical components of the organization – and this requires a top-down management approach. Senior managers and decision makers must understand the driving force behind developing an improved cybersecurity framework and establish a robust information security program that aligns with the organization’s business objectives.
One such measure would be for the organization to create a cybersecurity strategy that captures the requirements for creating a cyber-resilient environment. Showing strength in some of the following areas is one way to create effective countermeasures:
- Establish well-defined recovery processes and plans to ensure the ability to fully recover and restore computer systems with minimal downtime.
- Train employees on how they can fulfill their job responsibilities in a way that maintains the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive data, as well as encourage employees to enhance security through vigilance and collaboration.
- Ensure IT systems and networks are up-to-date and able to keep pace with evolving cybersecurity threats.
In addition, implementing the type of cybersecurity standards defined by the International Organization for Standardization can also be an effective tool for protecting an organization’s computer systems and sensitive data and mitigating the risk of cyberattacks. For example, such a standard can be a blueprint for organizations to implement the procedures, policies, and framework needed to manage a law firm’s information security, cybersecurity, and privacy. or a company; another allows organizations to protect the storage, processing and transmission of cardholder data. In fact, this standard specifies 12 operational and technical requirements that can help organizations prevent credit card fraud and maintain a secure environment for their customers.
In today’s increasingly interconnected world, where people, goods and services cross borders, it is essential that organizations respond to cyber threats quickly and effectively in order to protect their most critical components and to contain, prevent and protect their most important data from being attacked, stolen or compromised. In order to best protect their IT systems, networks, and infrastructure, law firms and corporations must define, develop, and implement robust cybersecurity strategies and procedures that strike the right balance between concern and action.