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A Guide for Law Firms: Digital Protection in the 2020s

The 2020s are set to be an unprecedented era for the relationship between legal businesses and technology. Smart devices are now an entrenched part of the work environment, and the next wave of innovation has already begun with the advent of cloud computing. For all the benefits of an interconnected world, there are new risks, too. Businesses of all kinds will face an increasingly complex threat environment over the next ten years, and it is no longer only their own information they must protect—the data that they collect from clients is at risk, too.

Law firms face just as many threats as the average company in a service sector plus some unique risks. It is crucial to understand how to lay the groundwork, and where to find the appropriate tools, for digitally protecting your organization from bad actors.

Learn what you need to know about digital protection in 2020 and how advanced software from Kofax contributes to a more secure and productive work environment.

The Digital Threats Your Firm Must Face in the Next Decade

According to the American Bar Association, law firms are increasingly seen by digital attackers as high-value targets. Citing the FBI, the ABA notes that hundreds of law firms have suffered data breaches in recent years. In a 2018 ABA survey, nearly a quarter of respondents said that their firms had suffered a breach. For any firm, but especially those which handle a large volume of sensitive client information, keeping threats out should be a priority.

Starting from a place of understanding is the best way to begin. What are some of the key threats that your firm may face over the coming decade?

  • Malware. While there are plenty of specific threats, treating malware as a broad risk enables simpler mitigation strategies. Worms and viruses that may either destroy or steal information on your computer systems remain as much of a threat today as they were in the 90s and 2000s. Though many still arrive via the humble email attachment, some malware methods have grown more sophisticated, such as sending infected but legitimate-seeming PDFs.
  • Ransomware. As a malware that infects computer systems and encrypts all your data for a ransom fee, ransomware is one of the most disruptive threats today. According to The Beazley Group, 71% of ransomware breaches reported to them in 2019 involved SMBs, putting law firms squarely in the crosshairs.
  • Phishing. Called "spearphishing" when the attacker targets a specific individual with a tailored approach, this form of social engineering seeks to gain sensitive information via deception. Sometimes, this attack includes a malware payload; other times, the attacker will target a firm to find specific information.

New threats may be on the horizon, too—ransomware appeared suddenly and became one of the most significant threats to data security in years. In an increasingly digital work environment filled with privileged client information, lawyers must make mitigating these risks a top concern.

Creating a Secure Framework for Success

With such a multi-faceted threat profile, law firms must adopt a broad response strategy, including identifying and deploying appropriate anti-malware tools. Educating partners in the firm about good data security practices is critical as well. Suspicious emails and strange attachments, such as an unfamiliar PDF purporting to be an essential legal document, are often carriers for payloads that expose sensitive client information.

While good governance and robust cybersecurity practices are fundamental to protecting your firm, so is finding the right tools for protecting sensitive information from unauthorized users. Ensuring the integrity of your digital files promotes clarity and peace of mind. Kofax offers several software solutions that make vital contributions to building a more secure working environment, particularly Kofax Power PDF.

Power PDF is a robust and full-featured PDF editor that integrates with Microsoft Office conversion capabilities. On its own, it offers a law firm a broad range of advantages and opportunities for workflow enhancements.

You likely handle dozens of different documents per day, and unifying them into a format that is easy to share and widely compatible is consistently beneficial. Power PDF is also uniquely suited to improve security with:

  • Robust password protection for full-fledged document encryption. Take steps so that only authorized individuals can view the information contained within your files. Power PDF interfaces with the latest Microsoft Windows rights management systems, streamlining the steps to restrict or grant access to a document based on who in your firm has a need.
  • Built-in security processes designed to stop threats from escaping into your company's computer systems. Because the PDF format is such a popular way to package malware payloads, lawyers who rely on them for sharing briefs and filings must have a way to guard against hidden threats. Power PDF detects when a file deviates from expected patterns and does not complete the process of opening the PDF. Combined with reliable anti-virus software, Power PDF protects your firm.
  • The option to keep your data local. Some other products, including Acrobat, rely on third-party cloud services which may have terms of service that pose problems for client confidentiality. While bar associations typically offer more detailed guidance on how to safely use cloud networks, you may prefer to keep all your critical digital documentation in a local environment under your control. Power PDF enables that document structure.

Locking Down Document Management for Better Security

Not every threat comes from an email attachment or clever hacker. Poor practices for handling paperwork in the office may lead to the exposure of sensitive information. When the workweek piles up with billable hours, paperwork piles up, too. Not only is leaving these papers out in the open a security risk, but it also isn't the most efficient way to work. Kofax OmniPage offers an ideal solution on its own and as a complement to Power PDF.

While Power PDF redefines your document workflows, simplifies conversions, and protects against infected files, OmniPage transforms document digitization. With OmniPage, transferring paper records into your computer system in a secure PDF format is easier than ever. Some of the software's key features for supporting law firms:

  • Best-in-class optical character recognition (OCR) technology. OmniPage is the industry leader in correctly detecting and digitizing both typed and handwritten characters. Its low error rate reduces the time that you must set aside for corrections and ensures that you retain the clarity of the original document while importing it into a digital workspace.
  • Scan to searchable, secure PDF. When a clerk or staff member needs to find a salient detail from a recent filing, it can take hours of shuffling through papers to find it. Scanning those documents with OmniPage creates a searchable PDF which easily converts to other formats and remains secure. Designate a password before scanning and encrypt instantly.
  • Automatic document sorting based on content type. Define your current file structure, and OmniPage learns where to sort your scanned documentation. Scan, encrypt, and sort within one program—one that’s also easy to learn to use. With a fast and secure way to manage the flow of documents into your office each day, you can keep sensitive files under lock and key instead of spread out over a desk.

Finding the Right Solutions for Your Business

While the coming decade may seem full of unknowns in security threats, putting the appropriate procedures and digital protections in place now is the key to peace of mind. With software solutions by Kofax, you can work with common files and digital document formats without persistent concerns about security and client privacy.

Power PDF and OmniPage can play vital roles in your firm's efforts to secure its data while improving productivity. We encourage you to try a 15-day free trial of one or both products to explore the broad range of workflow and data protection improvements that they provide to users.

If you'd like to explore licensing, you'll be glad to hear that we provide perpetual licenses for businesses based on a one-time fee, so your firm can reduce its ongoing expenses without sacrificing functionality. Our 30-day guarantee includes a refund if you aren't fully satisfied with your experience.

Learn how better document management results in improved digital protection for your law firm. Contact the Kofax general support team or submit an inquiry via our product pages, and start the conversation about how your law firm can Work Like Tomorrow.