Most Law Firms Unprepared For Law Firm Cybersecurity Threat
A recent study conducted jointly by the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) and AUCloud has shed light on the alarming state of cyber threats faced by law firms in Australia and New Zealand. The findings are unequivocal: the cyber threat landscape is formidable.
Among the most concerning revelations from the law firm cybersecurity study, which surveyed 85 law firms, is that over 50 percent of respondents feel ill-prepared to handle a cyber incident.
An additional 19 percent of firms admitted they were not taking sufficient measures to safeguard their operations in the current threat environment. Disturbingly, 14 percent of the surveyed firms disclosed that they had already fallen victim to attempted cyberattacks.
Curiously, despite these concerning statistics, 47 percent of the law firms surveyed claimed to have dedicated cybersecurity personnel on staff.
However, a significant number of firms pointed to a lack of “employee awareness and training” as a major impediment to their cybersecurity efforts. The issue of preparedness looms large, with 34 percent of firms lacking a written response plan, and among those that did have one, 31 percent possessed only an incomplete plan.
Law firms have found themselves under siege from a wide array of cyber threats, including phishing attempts, malware intrusions, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and even insider threats.
Peter Maloney, CEO of AUCloud, while acknowledging the lag in readiness, commended firms for their growing awareness of the cyber threat.
“Cybercrime is, unfortunately, the biggest threat to Australian business and is one of our fastest-growing industries globally, and it has no prejudice,” he said.
85 percent of the surveyed firms are seeking external IT support to bolster their cybersecurity measures. He emphasized that Australia’s significant economic position, strategic geopolitical status, and advanced technological infrastructure make it a prime target for cyberattacks.
Emma Elliott, CEO of ALPMA, sees the study’s results as a wake-up call for the legal industry.
She observed that ALPMA members vary in size and cybersecurity readiness, with some having robust infrastructure in place and others relying on external support to protect their operations and client data. Elliott concluded, “Cybersecurity is an ongoing and very real threat to our members and their firms.”
In the face of this escalating threat, it is clear that law firms must remain vigilant and continue to bolster their cybersecurity measures to safeguard their clients and their own operations.