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16 January, 2023
Firms will be aware of the rising risk of cyber attacks, and the current challenge facing the Royal Mail (which may well have also affected your or your clients’ operations). All legal firms naturally hold sensitive data, making them an increasingly attractive target for cyber criminals. And conveyancers of course sometimes face additional risks due to the very high value of the transactions they manage. Many attacks are carried out by relatively opportunistic and unskilled individuals but can still cause widespread damage to operations, and reputations. Improving your firm’s technical profile and governance / training policies will help reduce that risk, and remove the easier entry points that cybercriminals scout for.
The CLC has been in discussions with the Law Society in Wales over winter on the growing issue of cyber protection. The latter have secured Welsh Government funding to offer firms with a head office in Wales a free, nationally approved course to improve their cyber security. In a collaborative project they have also kindly approved steps to rollout this funding (and process the applications) of other Wales-headquartered firms, under the same criteria.
The offered ‘Cyber Essentials’ certification process has been reviewed and approved by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, and is being delivered in Wales by Pure Cyber. It proves a straightforward but effective government-backed scheme that will help firms to understand how they able to protect themselves – and consumers – from a diverse range of some common cyber-attacks. At its core it will highlight the basic areas that a firm needs to improve upon, and prioritise.
Aside from the direct benefits, some organisations are increasingly asked to obtain Cyber Essentials certification for contracts. Achieving it demonstrates to business contacts, consumers, insurers, staff and suppliers that your organisation undertakes the basic requirements of cyber security.
On a wider scale, it’s worth noting that related organisations often suffer a cyber breach due to hijacked emails from trusted contacts from elsewhere in their sector. So the more protection there are across those networks as a whole (whether conveyancers, solictors, or clients) the greater the indirect benefits can be for all the organisations in it. Alongside that, there is also the additional benefit of sending a yet stronger signal to cyber criminals that the conveyancing sector is taking further steps to safeguard itself, and those who rely on it.