Web content filtering for law firms offers multiple benefits for all organizations within the legal industry. In addition to increasing defenses against cyberattacks – and thus helping protect confidential client data – URL filtering software for law firms can increase workplace productivity and eliminate potential HR issues by blocking access to websites whose content may be inappropriate for a law firm.
However, Internet filtering solutions for law firms are not all the same. Some are more effective than others at enhancing a company´s online security posture, whereas others lack the versatility to block access to a certain category of online content and at the same enable the bona fide research of a delicate legal matter within that category.
This article has the aim of explaining how a website filter for law firms works and the benefits of web content filtering for law firms. If you have any questions regarding the points raised in this article, or would like to take advantage of a free trial of our Internet filtering solutions for law firms, kindly do not hesitate to contact us.
The Risk of Online Threats for Law Firms
Most law firms will be aware of the risk from cyberattacks and phishing attacks. In one of the highest profile prosecutions of 2016, the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged three Chinese traders with securities fraud after they had hacked into two well-known law firms and extracted more than 60 gigabytes of data – some of which related to Intel´s $16.7 billion purchase of Altera.
“Outsider trading” is becoming big business for cybercriminals, but it is not only large M&A law firms being targeted. In 2015, the American Bar Association (ABA) reported that 43% of solo practitioners and boutique firms with fewer than ten attorneys were the victim of a cyberattack. According to the ABA, the “breach rate” increased to 52% for firms with ten to forty-nine attorneys.
Any law firm that maintains confidential data in electronic form is likely to be a target for a hacker, but those with stronger defenses against online threats will often find their defenses act as a deterrent. Cybercriminals will give up trying to penetrate a nut they find hard to crack, and move on to other opportunities where the threat of a cyberattack has not been taken so seriously.
How a Website Filter for Law Firms Helps Protect Client Data
A website filter for law firms has a three-tier mechanism that mitigates the risk of a breach of client data. The first tier checks all requests to visit a website against a blacklist of websites known to be harboring malware and denies the request if a match is found. This process can also prevent users from visiting known phishing sites.
The second tier consists of category filters that can be configured by system administrators to prevent users visiting websites in the highest risk verticals. Typically these categories include websites selling pharmaceutical products, websites offering free software downloads and travel websites. Administrators can override the category filters if temporary access is required to these categories.
The third tier consists of keyword filters that can be used not only to block or allow access to web pages containing specific keywords, but also to block access to certain file types. By preventing access to certain file types, users are less likely to download files often used to deliver malware payloads and allow a hacker to infiltrate a law firm´s system and extract client data.
Improve Productivity with Web Content Filtering for Law Firms
The mechanisms used to protect client data can also play a role in increasing workplace productivity and avoiding potential HR issues. Some surveys have suggested that as much as 25% of corporate Internet traffic is unrelated to work, that 70% of Internet porn traffic and 60% of online purchasers are made during the working hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Although many businesses have acceptable Internet use policies, these can be difficult to police and enforce in a busy work environment. Web content filtering for law firms overcomes this problem by allowing system administrators to block website categories most associated with cyberslacking, and by producing reports that show which requests to visit websites have been denied.
The effective policing of Internet use can also prevent potential HR issues if an employee is offended by the online activities of colleagues. In 2015, 17% of female attorneys reported experiencing sexual harassment at work, and although not all of this number is attributable to online activity, web content filtering for law firms can help to create a more acceptable working environment for everyone.
Key Features to Consider in Internet Filtering Solutions for Law Firms
It was mentioned at the beginning of this article that not all Internet filtering solutions for law firms are the same. Although the requirements of different law firms will not be the same either, there are some key features that a website filter for law firms should include if it is to be effective against web-borne threats, improve productivity and prevent potential HR issues.
The first of these features is SSL inspection. Many website owners are now encrypting their websites in order to achieve a higher position in search engine results pages. Some Internet filtering solutions for law firms are unable to read the content of encrypted websites, and subsequently are ineffective at identifying risks or blocking access to inappropriate content.
Scalability and Compatibility
Some URL filtering software for law firms lack scalability or are not compatible with every type of operating system. As a law firm grows, and users want to connect to its Internet service with their mobile devices, scalability and compatibility are essential in order to prevent IT issues and ensure sufficient bandwidth exists for each user.
Versatility is also an important consideration. Internet filtering solutions should have the capability to set filtering parameters by user, user-group or universally. If, for example, a law firm has a marketing department that uses social media marketing, it may be important to provide access to Facebook and Twitter for the marketing department while preventing other users from accessing these sites.
URL Filtering Software for Law Firms from SpamTitan
SpamTitan offers URL filtering software for law firms with two different deployment options - WebTitan Cloud and WebTitan Cloud for Wi-Fi. Both are enterprise-grade Internet filtering solutions for law firms that share the same features to maximize protection against web-borne threats, improve productivity and prevent potential HR issues.
WebTitan Cloud is a cloud-based website filter for law firms that simply requires a redirection of the firm´s DNS to implement. Companies providing a wireless network might also be suited by WebTitan Cloud for WiFi in order to protect the devices that connect to the network.
WebTitan Cloud for Wi-Fi
Organizations are under increasing commercial pressure to provide wireless internet access for clients. However, the provision of WiFi access can be risky, as WiFi guest users can be exposed to unsuitable websites, phishing attacks and malware.
- Compatible, scalable and versatile - irrespective of existing hardware and software.
- No hardware to purchase, software to download, or complicated instructions to follow.
- Protects wired and wireless networks from online threats with imperceptible latency.
- Block access to anonymizer sites to prevent circumnavigation of the filter settings.
- No bandwidth restrictions or limit on the number of users/devices that can be protected.
- User and time-based filtering options, with access keys available for sanctioned overrides.
- Automated reporting helps to police Internet use and enforce acceptable use policies.
- Multi-lingual filtering, with the option for administrators to create their own categories.
- Our enterprise web filtering service is also available in white-label format for MSPs.
Speak with SpamTitan today about URL filtering software for law firms, and we will invite you to try your choice of web content filtering solution free for thirty days. No credit cards are required and there are no contracts to sign. Simply register for your free trial with your email address and your law firm could be protecting confidential client data, increasing workplace productivity and eliminating potential HR issues within fifteen minutes.