Tighten Up Security and Protect Your Law Firm’s Data with Darragh Fitzpatrick
Aug 26, 2021
Some law firm owners may think that they have nothing much to worry about when it comes to digital security. They think their firm is too small, or perhaps that their people will be careful enough. But that is where they have it all wrong. The security landscape is continually changing. Today, IT is an essential part of any business, but it's very easy to overlook. Not many people try to understand it either, as they think it can be complex.
In this week’s episode, Darragh Fitzpatrick, managing partner at The Tabush Group, joins us to talk about what law firm owners need to think about when it comes to the technology they use. He discusses IT services and infrastructure to beef up security and protect your firm from cybercrime. Darragh also tells us what specific applications you should be using and how you can avoid committing the usual technology-related mistakes people make. Lastly, he shares a few tips and pieces of advice for smaller firms.
If you want to learn how to protect your law firm but are struggling with the technology, then tune in to this episode!
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Find out what technology you should be looking into for your law firm.
- Learn how you can use technology to tighten up security and keep internal information safe.
- Discover the usual IT mistakes people make and what law firms should be focusing on when it comes to their technology.
American Bar Association (ABA)
- Darragh moved to the US from Ireland 20 years ago.
- He worked as a network consultant for various firms and met his would-be co-owner, Morris, when they worked on a project together.
- They kept in touch, and two years later, he joined Morris at The Tabush Group.
- By focusing on the key industries of New York City, they were able to grow the company.
Technology for Smaller Firms
Darragh: “I think even if you don’t want to have an IT partner, like a firm as ourselves, I think it’s important to have connections with people that can give you advice.”
- When you’re starting any business, you are going to be dictated by your budget.
- Surround yourself with people who have expertise.
- Having a good advisor is vital.
- Look to cloud platforms as much as possible. They provide a lot of good and simple solutions.
- Start by thinking and talking to people about how you make yourself secure in how you operate.
Darragh: “I personally believe that being secure is a marketable thing for your practice. You are one step ahead of someone at the table if you could show possible clients that you think about securing their information like you would about your own.”
First Steps to Take to Tighten Up Security
Darragh: “Technology is generally part of the answer to upgrading security, but how you actually operate yourself and how you interact with your IT is a big part of it too.”
- Don’t go to a local IP provider and buy a server for your office.
- Cloud is the answer to simplifying and attaining great solutions, but it is not necessarily the answer to being secure.
- Have proper antivirus that gives the same malware protection across all of your equipment.
- Know what your risks are. The pandemic alters things you need to consider; security is a constantly changing landscape.
- Do basic content filtering and tighten up security, especially for emails. 92% of small firms are breached through their email, so you can use user awareness testing programs to combat that.
Moshe: “The number one security risk that you have is your people. And the number one risk that you have is not training your people properly on knowing or understanding what to look for.”
The Importance of Password Security
- There are lots of password management tools out there that are safe and secure.
- 86% of security breaches come down to poor password management, mainly by phishing.
- Generally, smaller firms are targeted more than big ones because they have the least protection.
- Two-factor authentication is imperative.
- Security is not just one thing and isn’t perimeter-based. It’s now multilayered and needs to be elastic.
Securing Your Information from Internal Users
- You will need better guidance and partnership.
- You have to understand how your people are going to be operating.
- The decisions you have to make as people access things in different ways means you have to put in new security policy and process layers.
- It’s about maturing the solutions, partnering with an IT person, and building the processes and tools around these.
- The solutions are different for everybody, but one answer may be using Desktop as a Service.
Navigating Desktop as a Service
- Desktop as a Service is a type of cloud, and it is the fastest-growing cloud platform.
- It centralizes all of your servers, applications, and desktops into one cloud, and it’s like carrying around a PC in a pocket.
- There are tons of podcasts and single operation consultancy people out there who can give you tips on how to start the right way.
- Over the last ten years, a big change in the legal world is that law firms are now considering themselves as businesses, whereas they would refer to themselves as a practice in the past.
- Look at the correct KPI, put in proper processes, and maximize the IT solutions you have in place.
Darragh: “I always say the job of a firm like mine is to do two things: mitigate risk and enhance productivity. And that’s a key balance.”
Specific Applications Law Firms Need to Use
- The first mistake people make is implementing systems and learning about them simply by reading things online.
- Doing something completely new to you will be challenging, so you need a process in place first.
- What you need to do first when you are thinking about the application is to ask what you are trying to achieve and what your goals are.
- After that, you should have recurring and systematic training to tighten up security.
- Simply being aware of what’s possible in the marketplace is also important.
Darragh: “If you know what you want, what you’re trying to achieve, you understand the process you’re trying to enhance, you’re going to get a great ROI initially on your investment.”
When You Should Be Focusing On Your Technology
Darragh: “In order to solve problems, you need to understand what is going to help you.”
- So many law firms spend too much money on software subscriptions and spend so much time figuring out applications that they are never going to use.
- It's critical to have an IT sensibility about things you will be doing from the very beginning of your business.
- Don’t add security to something. Build your company with security in mind.
- Put yourself out there and learn what other firms are doing.
Darragh: “I think I always disagreed with the statement that technology drives your business….It’s IT solutions [that] support and enable your business.”
Parting Piece of Advice from Darragh
- Reach out and find someone who works in the IT business.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
- Align yourself with experts that can give you information on what’s going on in the legal world from an IT standpoint.
Originally from Ireland, Darragh Fitzpatrick has more than 20 years of experience in information technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Greenwich in London. Before relocating to New York in the early 2000s, Darragh was an IT manager at several firms in London. In 2005, he joined The Tabush Consulting Group, a managed services company serving various industries, including legal, as a consultant and then a network architect. Since 2009, he is currently the managing partner and executive vice president of the company.
To learn more about Darragh, you may visit his website or connect with him on LinkedIn.
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