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Attorneys: How to Mitigate Privacy Exposures

Attorneys How to Mitigate Privacy ExposuresImplement Best Practices, Secure Cyber Liability Insurance

New research from Advisen, a firm that provides insight into underwriting, marketing and purchasing commercial insurance, reveals that the improper disposal, distribution, and loss or theft of printed records is nearly as common an exposure for attorneys as data breach loss or theft. In fact, according to Advisen, 31% of identified cyber events affecting the legal community involve printed records versus general digital data breach (37%).

Moreover, other types of cyber events affecting the legal industry include system/network security violation or disruption (16%), privacy violations (8%), identity theft/fraudulent use or access (6%), and cyber extortion (2%). These events are also typical risks for any other professional with access to a client’s personal, financial and/or health data. However, because attorneys deal with nearly every aspect of their client’s business, they could have greater litigation exposure than other professionals, such as accountants and architects, whose focus is on a specific aspect of their client’s operation. “Lawyers have the care, custody, and control of far more personal information than other professionals and, as a result, are at greater risk for being sued,” according to the Advisen brief.

Of course, the best way for lawyers to mitigate lawsuits is to create and implement cyber, privacy and technology best practices. Following are some suggestions that can be implemented along with a legal firm’s analysis of its risks and exposures:

  1. Be sure the law practice has a budget allocated for information technology (IT) and data security.
  2. Delegate an individual to manage privacy and security development and compliance as part of his or job responsibility. The individual should monitor: applicable laws; contractual obligations; internal policies (email and network integrity, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and oversight, information security, social media, human resources issues, etc.); compliance programs; and industry best practices.
  3. Work with HR to develop written cyber security policies and procedures, and be sure all employees and vendors understand that these policies must be followed.
  4. Have legal counsel develop templates and information security tools for use with employees, vendors, and third-party business partners, among others. Such documents could include Non-Disclosure Agreements, Business Associate Agreements under HIPAA, and other legal instruments intended to mitigate or avoid economic loss. These documents should be distributed to all personnel with contracting authority.
  5. Make sure all trade secrets, “Big Data,” and other critical proprietary information are treated with the same level of care and attention you devote to the preservation and growth of other core assets.
  6. Speak with a trusted insurance advisor about securing a Cyber Liability/Privacy insurance policy to protect the law firm in the event a breach does occurs and client personal information is compromised. Cyber policies differ from one insurance company to another and can be customized to address the unique exposures of a firm and the industry it serves, so be sure to speak with a professional that understands what a law practice needs in terms of privacy and network security protection.

At Axis Insurance Services, LLC, we specialize in providing law professionals with Cyber Liability insurance as well as Errors & Omissions coverage, and have access to a number of plans that we can tailor. Please give us a call at (877) 787-5258.

 

Source: Advisen

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Blogged on: November 14, 2013 by Mike Smith
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