Five Tips to Secure a Local Area Network for Law Firms
April 14 , 2020

By Hayk Saakian

Setting up a computer network in a law firm makes it easy for attorneys, paralegals, and other personnel to securely share information. It can be shared over the network efficiently, conveniently, and securely. Confidential information may be shared which cannot be stolen or shared with others. Continue reading for five tips on keeping your local network secure.

1. SECURELY CONFIGURE ROUTERS AND SWITCHES

An ethernet switch lets law firm personnel connect to each other’s devices via wires called ethernet cables. Team members can discuss cases or pertinent information over their networks without connecting to the internet through these switches. Ethernet Switches vary widely in price and features, so it’s worth consulting an ethernet switch buyer’s guide to find the best device for each situation.

A secure switch allows no information to be stolen or intercepted by potential hackers or cyber criminals. Most switches have firewall features that allow you to filter or completely block traffic to the wider internet. This gives both law firms and clients ease of mind in knowing that their data is secure and protected from the outside world.

2. DELEGATE SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR DUTIES

Designate individual system administrators to be the only people allowed to make changes to the network. Set a strong password for administrator access to the router, ensuring that you change it from the default password. Default passwords are often posted online and tend to be the first ones that hackers will try to use in attempting to break in. Go to the router’s configuration site in order to set this password and assign the administrators of the network.

The administrator should then be able to enforce that all devices are securely connected to the network router. Keep employees and office equipment on a private network that is provided through the router as a Wi-Fi network or LAN.

3. KEEP WI-FI NETWORKS SECURE

Make sure that all Wi-Fi networks at the law firm are protected by a password. This includes both the private or LAN networks and the guest networks. A WPA2-PSK allows for a shared password rather than individual passwords for each network so that all employees or guests can access the network securely. Make sure each network has its own, separate password.

To set up security for your Wi-Fi networks, you will need to access the configuration site. Make sure that you first give each network a name, including the private and guest networks. Make sure that you choose the WPA2-PSK methods for each network, with AES encryption. From here, enter the password you have selected to log in to each network.

When you access a Wi-Fi network without using a password, the data transferred between your device and the Wi-Fi access point is wide open and visible to any third parties who happen to be snooping in the area. This is why coffee shops still put a password on their Wi-Fi, so any random stranger on the street can’t connect to their network and attempt to break in or abuse their network connection for unlawful activities.

4. SEPARATE GUESTS FROM THE MAIN NETWORK

Make sure that your guests and clients of the firm are only able to access a separately configured guest network. Set things up so that the passwords for each network are different. Provide the password to the guest account only when asked. Don’t post the password publicly so as to prevent third parties from being able to access the network covertly.

When setting up the guest network, it is imperative that you follow the steps necessary to block access to the private network for guests. This can be done by disabling LAN access on the guest network. This prevents guests from accessing any confidential information that is passed between employees of the law firm that guests should not have access to.

5. IMPLEMENT PHYSICAL SECURITY PRACTICES

Know that routers can be quickly reset by the push of a button. This button can be pressed with a paperclip or a pin by anyone who has physical access to the device. If the router becomes reset, anyone can access any network or information, as the passwords go back to the default setting. Remember that most of the default passwords are either already posted online or physically written on the device. This means that anyone with physical access to your network switch or router could easily get into the network.

Setting up physical security measures will ensure that no one has access to this reset button. Keep your router in a locked location. Ensure that the administrator of the network is the only individual with access to the router. You could allot for one other trusted individual just in case a key is lost or a passcode is forgotten. Keep back-up keys in a safety deposit box to reduce the chance of a thief breaking in.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Legal firms are trusted with confidential information and so must protect their computer networks. Follow these five tips to ensure this information is safely protected.

  • Configure routers and switches to be secure
  • Delegate system administrator duties
  • Secure Wi-Fi networks with strong passwords
  • Keep a separate network connection for guests
  • Implement physical security and lock away your networking devices

Following these steps will ensure that your confidential information remains secure.

Hayk Saakian is an IT professional who has helped many businesses establish a strong online presence through online marketing and lead generation. He also writes interesting reviews on his website https://www.hayksaakian.com/ about the latest technologies with a particular focus on where tech advancements and a person’s lifestyle and needs meet.