3 Benefits ISO 27001 Certification Can Have for Your Law Firm
As a holistic security standard that has become popular worldwide, ISO 27001 can help any organization seeking to prove their cybersecurity measures are sound while also providing a market differentiator among other gained advantages. But the comprehensive nature of the standard—and the heavy lift it requires—can also put off organizations considering it, especially those in sectors that have yet to really be affected, like law firms.
Think about it—what comes to mind when you think of a “data breach?” It’s probably the image of a hacker stealing data from a large business or company that stores an abundance of consumer data, like those that have befallen Target and Marriott.
But consumer brands are no longer the main targets—cybercriminals are expanding their scope to colleges and universities, healthcare organizations, and yes, law firms. That should come as no surprise, considering the personally identifiable information (PII) of executives housed at leading law firms, as this personal data can be extremely valuable to hackers looking to fuel insider trading, identity theft, fraudulent money transfers, and other financial crimes.
As a result, law firms have come under increased pressure from clients to keep their data safe, and ISO 27001 certification can go a long way in reassuring them. In this article, we’ll detail three specific ways your law firm can benefit from achieving ISO 27001 certification.
3 Advantages of ISO 27001 for Law Firms
If you were to invest in ISO 27001 certification and everything the framework requires, the effort—and successful certification—can help benefit your law firm in three big ways:
1. More Secure Client Data
When your firm is ISO 27001 certified, it means you’re complying with worldwide specifications for managing the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of your information assets, but being certified doesn’t just mean your technology processes are working as they should.
The ISO 27001 standard requires the implementation of a management system that ensures your information security is approached holistically—meaning, the entire information security lifecycle is continually addressed, including risks, processes, and people. In today’s dynamic technology-driven environments, that lifecycle approach is critical, because without it, security practices and procedures will quickly become outdated as a business and external threats change.
If you were to achieve ISO 27001 certification, your clients would rest a little easier knowing that their data is more secure and that you have the framework in place to keep it so moving forward.
2. Competitive Advantage for Now—Ahead of the Curve for the Inevitable
Unlike the healthcare and financial industries which have HIPAA and Sarbanes–Oxley respectively, there is no set of regulations or standards for the legal industry that govern how law firms store and collect data—yet. But given the increased targeting of law firms, it’s not hard to imagine that regulators will step in at some point.
In the meantime, pursuing ISO 27001 certification can not only fill that void and show your clients you want to protect their valuable information, but proactively obtaining certification can also set you apart from your competition. You’ll also be set up well to stay ahead of the curve with a solid security culture, something that leveraging frameworks like NIST CSF and conducting proactive penetration testing can also help.
“Given that law firms have a lot of data, it's a natural trend that they would be focused on trying to make sure they have some sort of third-party assessment to ensure their customers that they take this very seriously,” explains Ryan Mackie, our ISO Certification Practice Director here at Schellman. “It’s becoming more popular among law firms. There have been a handful of firms that have obtained ISO 27001 certification, and because of that, they've almost created that market,” Mackie said.
To learn more, read about how litigation powerhouse Shook, Hardy & Bacon established a culture of information security with ISO 27001 Certification.
3. Better Business Resilience
While the paramount benefit of becoming ISO 27001 certified remains the protection it offers your firm’s clients and intellectual data, it can also help prevent or minimize the damage sustained in a security breach.
Though it helps, adherence to security standards doesn’t always prevent a breach outright, though adherence and certification to the comprehensive ISO 27001 standard make it much more likely that your firm can:
- Detect and stop a security breach in its early stages
- More easily mitigate the impact of the breach
Moving Forward with Your ISO 27001 Certification
The benefits of ISO 27001 certification are not industry-specific, nor are they reserved for financial, healthcare, or government entities. The fact is, your law firm also handles sensitive data, and—whether you realize it or not—you’re at risk for potential cyber-attacks.
Now that you understand more about why you should consider ISO 27001 to protect your business and your clients, you may be interested in learning more. Check out our other, more detailed content that explains key facets—including the latest version of the standard—that can help you further materialize what your ISO 27001 journey might look like:
- ISO/IEC 27001:2022 Has Been Published: What Now?
- 6 Factors That Can Affect Your ISO 27001 Timeline
- 10 Steps to Help You Prepare For ISO 27001 Certification
About SCOTT ZELKO
Scott Zelko is a Managing Director at Schellman. Scott leads the Northeast Practice and the ISO Certification service line including ISO 27001, ISO 9001, ISO 20000, and ISO 22301. He works with many of the world’s leading cloud computing, FinTech, and security provider clients. Scott has more than 30 years of experience in the information technology field including IT management, system implementations, attestation and other advisory services and holds multiple certifications in the areas of Security, Privacy and Enterprise Governance. In addition, Scott works with clients to develop unified compliance strategies to meet internal, regulatory and client requirements.