Data is the crown jewels of the Legal services industry. Business law firms offering corporate services handle highly critical and sensitive data, such as trade secrets, mergers and acquisitions deals, non-public stock information, and patent trademark applications, among others. As a result, attorneys need to show clients that they’ll take care of their data.
But law firms often need third party vendors for key activities such as accounting, cloud storage or e-discovery, and granting these vendors access to the network might increase the risk of client data exposure. As such, third party risk management (TPRM) is a crucial initiative to comply with ethical and professional standards, ensuring that the vendors an attorney works with maintain the same confidentiality and online security levels they are required to maintain.
Years of massive data breach headlines provide good cause for many law firms to explore more fully how potential vendors secure private client data. Just like a prospective customer evaluates your firm before signing a contract, so should you perform assessments of vendors you use that have access to your computer network and any of your client data.
If any of that data gets lost or compromised in any way, it not only affects your law firm’s reputation, but also the business integrity of the affected clients. A data breach could expose who’s working with who and uncover confidential information with a high impact on the market.
For law firms, doing business is all about building trust with customers, and vetting vendors is an important part of that process. This means performing proper due diligence to assess their security posture and understand the level of potential risk they would be exposing the firm to. Then, performing periodic reassessments and continuous monitoring to detect any security or compliance issues in real time and avoid any breaches.
Read More: Building and scaling a TPRM Program
By having a strong TPRM program in place and showing a robust security posture, your law firm can build trust early on in the relationship and attract new customers.
If you don’t know where to start or think that TPRM is a hard thing to do, we have good news: There are dedicated tools that can help streamline the information gathering and risk monitoring process around security assessments.
A TPRM tool helps law firms to:
The most critical third party vendors will be those who have remote control access into your network, that is, login credentials to access to a server which may contain your client data. Your TPRM program will help you understand if they are doing what they should be doing to protect your law firm and your clients.
Think of how often there’s a data breach involving a law firm, and how often it’s a third party vendor who was compromised instead of the firm itself. The end goal of your TPRM initiatives will be to ensure you feel comfortable engaging with a third party vendor, and trusting them with the data your clients trusted you with. For that, you need a deep understanding of your engagement with a vendor, and based on that, additional requirements to fulfill your security standards.
Read More: Should Legal increase spend in TPRM?
At ThirdPartyTrust, we built a TPRM automation platform that helps law firms streamline third party risk assessments to secure the information entrusted to them by their corporate clients. This includes conducting thorough third party risk assessments and continuous monitoring to protect the extended data environment.
As one of our customers from an Am Law 200 business law firm put it:[/vc_column_text]
“We’d recommend ThirdPartyTrust because it’s user friendly and makes it visually easy to see where things are in the vendor assessment lifecycle. You have all of your vendor data in one place instead of sitting in different silos; and if you are being evaluated you can even share your own data instead of having to fill out 20 different assessments or spreadsheets”
Applications & Security Specialist, Am Law 200 business law firm
Ready to step up your third party risk management strategy? Learn how ThirdPartyTrust can help:
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