Cybercriminals are on a continual lookout for the easiest path of least resistance to accomplish breaches and steal proprietary and client information. They seek out those organizations and companies that think they are safe and are willing to go to extremes to glean whatever they can that will help them in their crimes. Legal organizations are a hotbed of information, often containing not only a client’s personal information, but that of others that are participants in the legal process. Criminals know that law offices often wrongly assume that they aren’t in considering for theft for a number of reasons. It is because of these assumptions that criminals have increased their targets on legal organizations, and this has caused the requirement for legal firms to have secure document and data destruction policies in place.
According to a 2018 Bar Association report: 23% of the respondents of a survey indicated that their firms had ever experienced a security breach at some point. This is a growing problem, as it compares with 22% in 2017, 14% in 2016, 15% in 2015, 14% in 2014, and 15% in 2013. The breakdown showed that breach potential increased with the size of the firm: solo firms at 14%, firms with 2-9 attorneys 24%, firms with 10-49 attorneys 42%, firms with 50-99 attorneys 31%.
There are many conditions where it is now acceptable to have digital or e-documents to be used for signature purposes. However, depending upon the state and federal laws, many still require paper documents. In some cases these can be scanned and transitioned into digital formats, but could require paper documents to be held until they become null and void. This creates a conundrum for legal organizations as they must maintain a secure location for the paper documents while also monitoring digital copies. Shredding paper documents can no longer be done in-house as they require the type of higher end shredders that professional data destruction companies use.
Legal organizations are stewards of a variety of information and there comes a time when the paper documents will need to be destroyed as well as digital technology reaches end-of-life. The technologies that are used require specific destruction methods to ensure that the data has been completely destroyed. The devices involved can include laptops, desktops, tablets, thumb drives, and any other type of portable device that holds data. Professionally trained data destruction companies such as SHREDDRS can ensure that all digital information is destroyed and supply a certification copy to the client.
A breach of any sort, whether paper or digital can wreak havoc on a legal organization. The American Bar Association reported that in a survey: 41% reported downtime/loss of billable hours, 40% reported consulting fees required for repair, 11% reported loss or destruction of files, and 27% reported required replacement of software and/or hardware.
However, there is a deeper layer that must be looked at when it comes to the topic of a breach and that involves reputation and client confidence. These are intangible areas that may not be initially noted but can take a law firm to the brink of losing their business. Using a professional company such as SHREDDRS to destroy both paper and digital information can assist in maintaining the highest level of security.
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