Managing the threat from within: How organizations and law firms are bolstering security postures to protect sensitive data

The rapid growth of digital communications has affected every industry and vertical, creating increasingly document-intensive operations and the need to address vulnerabilities in security and…

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Nadia Riyasat

June 20, 20224 minute read

The rapid growth of digital communications has affected every industry and vertical, creating increasingly document-intensive operations and the need to address vulnerabilities in security and privacy amidst growing regulatory requirements and data privacy mandates.  

Risk is growing from both external hackers and internal bad actors seeking to gain a variety of information, such as: 

Customer information, including PII and credit card numbers; information about the organization’s finances, including details about potential sales or mergers; protected health information (PHI) pertaining to customers or employees; the organization’s intellectual property, trade secrets or proprietary information, and Information about pending or likely litigation, legal claims, or regulatory inquiries. 

Notably, legal professionals, both within corporations and law firms, are high-value targets from bad actors since they hold a trove of sensitive company information.  

Here are some trends contributing to the rise of cybersecurity threats, as well as some best practices approaches for securing sensitive and confidential information, especially those held by corporate legal departments and their law firms 

Security threats on the rise – from within and without  

As digital transformation and hyper-convergence create unintended gateways to risks, vulnerabilities, attacks, and failures, a cyber resiliency strategy has quickly become a necessity for all businesses. A cyber resiliency strategy helps businesses to reduce risks, financial impact and reputational damages. More than two dozen organizations experienced multiple data breaches last year, a direct result of an increasingly remote work that is putting greater amounts of data at risk than before. 

The role of remote work in rising threats  

2021 was the most prolific year on record for data breaches. Remote work and digital transformation increased the average total cost of a data breach. In fact, the average cost was $1.07 million higher in breaches where remote work was a factor in causing the breach, compared to those where remote work was not a factor. While we have seen significant sensitive data targeting in previous years, a combination of the steady-state of remote work and increased sophistication in attack methodologies caused sensitive data attacks to skyrocket. 

Rise in regulatory requirements to protect sensitive data  

Legal professionals face pressure from three major sources regarding the need to protect sensitive data. First, a complex array of laws, rules and regulations, including the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules, as well as ethical opinions interpreting those rules, both of which impose various security requirements and create liability for non-compliant organizations. Second, the courts, through their opinions, take organizations to task for their failures. Finally, law firms, in particular, want to stay out of headline news for inadvertent disclosures of sensitive information given competitive imposed by customers who will take their business elsewhere to ensure that their data is protected. 

How to mitigate risk at the document level  

Organizations have ethical and legal duties to protect information relating to employees and clients. Rather than reacting after sensitive data is lost – and risking fines and other negative consequences to the business organizations can take proactive steps to mitigate the risk of insider data theft at the document level. Encryption and activity monitoring are two important considerations in addressing these duties, particularly when work product and other sensitive data are stored in enterprise content management systems.  

Organizations can close the information security gap on device-level encryption to completely protect IP, trade secrets, attorney-client privileged documents, sensitive employee information and valuable customer information.  

Encryption at rest:  This feature ensures that not even system administrators can see the contents without authorization from the OpenText™ eDOCS user interface. Whether on-premises or in the cloud, data is protected at the document level. 

Activity monitoring: This offers multiple layers of defence for the complete security of sensitive data. organizations can send templated alerts before and after sensitive information has been locked down, to further mitigate the risk and cost of a data breach, even safeguarding information from authorized users 

For organizations looking to protect data more securely at the document level and close the gap that is left by encryption at the device level with third-party solutions, eDOCS Defense, an add-on-solution to OpenText eDOCS, is a powerful information security module that adds the second layer of document-level security that valuable content deserves, protecting against both external and internal threats and detecting suspicious activity to limit any damage. 

For more information, visit Legal Enterprise Content Management | OpenText eDocs

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Nadia Riyasat

Nadia Riyasat is a Product Marketing Manager for OpenText eDOCS and Decisiv solutions. Nadia defines, demonstrates, and communicates the value of OpenText solutions to drive awareness and adoption with customers, partners, and the OpenText salesforce.

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