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Working in the Legal Sector - What Use is Cyber Essentials?

The legal sector is one of the most highly targeted by cyber criminals, who seek to gain a lot from these lucrative businesses. As of early 2023, there were over 32,900 UK based legal enterprises, employing more than 320,000 people. PricewaterhouseCoopers’s 2022 Annual Law Firms Survey reported significant increases in cyber risk towards law firms, which has resulted in larger companies making significant investments towards their cyber security.

The legal sector includes businesses of varying shapes and structures from multinationals down to sole traders, and the reality is that many companies of a smaller size do not have the same resources to invest. This means that understanding the risk landscape, and the fundamentals of good cyber practice, is one of the most valuable and cost-effective actions to take when it comes to increasing the cyber resilience of your legal firm.

legal company

Small does not equal safe when it comes to cyber-crime, and companies of all sizes are targeted for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, it is not uncommon for a legal firm to be handling significant sums of money. These finances are a target for criminals, and the time-sensitive nature of the transactions made create attractive conditions for phishing attacks and business email compromise. Additionally, legal firms handle large amounts of sensitive client data, which is valuable to criminals for various reasons. Client data can be used for insider trading, subverting the course of justice, or being held as part of a ransomware attack.

Furthermore, the importance of reputation for legal organisations means that they may be seen as more likely to succumb to extortion to resume business as usual. Whilst the primary threat to law firms is financially motivated cyber criminals, the nature of the legal sector means that these enterprises may also be targeted by nation states, activist hackers (‘hacktivists’), and insider threats from previous or current employees.

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is an accessible and affordable option for SMEs working in the legal sector. CE is a government backed scheme, which supports businesses with putting measures in place to protect their organisation from the threat of cyber criminals. These measures help defend against common threats such as malware, ransomware, and phishing, and ensure you understand the fundamental practices of good cyber hygiene.

The result of this is a certification that leaves yourself, your employees and your customers assured; safe in the knowledge that you have considered the cyber security of your company, identified any existing vulnerabilities, and worked proactively to resolve these. Whilst Cyber Essentials does come at a small cost to your business, it is very affordable and a fractional investment in comparison with the potential costs of a cyber-attack. For those seeking a higher level of assurance, Cyber Essentials: Plus is the second tier, which includes physical tests to your networks and computers by independent professionals.

Choosing to become accredited in this scheme removes the pressure of trying to cover all bases without support when it comes to cybersecurity. This is ideal for a small business owner, because the requirements are outlined for you to follow as a checklist. The accreditation ensures that you are aware of the threats facing your organisation and how to spot them if they make it through your defences. Therefore, for a firm working in a targeted sector this is an affordable option to help strengthen cyber security across the organisation.

If you decide to go through with becoming Cyber Essentials certified, the ECRC have several Cyber Essentials Partners who can facilitate the accreditation process. However, there are companies all over the UK that can do this for you and there is no requirement to use one of our partners.

cyber security

What else can the ECRC do for me?

Becoming a free member of the Eastern Cyber Resilience Centre is a great first step for those wishing to improve their cyber security position and bolster their knowledge. As part of your free membership, you become enrolled onto our ‘Little Steps’ programme; a weekly email series giving you steps to improve your cyber resilience, delivered in a way that is digestible and accessible to a non-technical audience. For those looking to become Cyber Essentials certified in the future, following this series will leave you compliant with many of the criteria. This allows you to improve your cyber security in increments, ideal for businesses working on busy schedules and juggling various priorities.

Additionally, the ECRC also offers various affordable student services, designed to help you assess, build, and manage your online networks. These services can help those who feel unaware of their potential vulnerabilities and assist with developing the right strategies to respond to potential incidents in the future – without breaking the bank.

This is made possible through CyberPATH, a scheme in which local students are trained and monitored by senior ethical hackers to deliver cyber services such as a ‘First Step Web Assessment’ or ‘Remote Vulnerability Assessment’. Providing services in this way reduces the cost to the user, making it more accessible for SMEs, whilst concurrently supporting the cyber talent pipeline and providing students with valuable industry experience. You can find out more about the many affordable services available here.

Furthermore, there are a plethora of free resources that exist to help individuals and organisations improve their cyber security, which can be accessed here on our website. For example, ‘Exercise in a Box’ was created by the NCSC as a preparation tool for businesses and may assist with formulating an incident response plan. This cyber-attack simulation enables organisations to find out how resilient they currently are to attacks, and pilots their response to various threat scenarios in a safe environment. The NCSC also have other free resources and frameworks such as their ‘Cyber Action Plan’ and ‘Small Business Guide’, all of which deliver up-to-date, accessible guidance on staying safe and informed against cyber-crime.

Ultimately, the legal sector continues to be targeted by cyber-criminals for its money and data. For SMEs working in law, it is more important than ever to be aware of these threats and know that the ECRC exists to support you in becoming resilient to this risk. Cyber Essentials is just one of many tools that can be used, and becoming a free member of the centre is the simplest way to be signposted towards the relevant information and resources you need.

If you are unsure, or simply want to know more about cyber resilience and what we do at the ECRC, why don’t you book a chat with us today?

the eastern cyber resilience centre

Reporting a live cyber-attack 24/7:

If you are a business, charity or other organisation which is currently suffering a live cyber-attack (in progress) please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 immediately. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Reporting a cyber-attack which is not ongoing:

Please report online to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. You can report cybercrime online at any time using the online reporting tool, which will guide you through simple questions to identify what has happened. Action Fraud advisors can also provide the help, support, and advice you need.

Alternatively, you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (textphone 0300 123 2050)

The contents of this website are provided for general information only and are not intended to replace specific professional advice relevant to your situation. The intention of The Cyber Resilience Centre for the East is to encourage cyber resilience by raising issues and disseminating information on the experiences and initiatives of others. Articles on the website cannot by their nature be comprehensive and may not reflect most recent legislation, practice, or application to your circumstances. The Cyber Resilience Centre for the East provides affordable services and Trusted Partners if you need specific support. For specific questions please contact us.

The Cyber Resilience Centre for the East does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information or materials published on this document. The Cyber Resilience Centre for the East is not responsible for the content of external internet sites that link to this site or which are linked from it.

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