Brooklyn Bar Association hosts CLE on cybersecurity amidst rising threats

July 19, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) sponsored a free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar titled, “Defending Against Cyber Threats: Strategies to Prevent Cyber Attacks” on Tuesday, reflecting an industry-wide push to educate on the issue of cybersecurity that has become paramount since the onset of the pandemic. The seminar featured expert insights from Tom Kirkham, founder and CEO of Kirkham IronTech.

This free event was organized as a response to the growing number of attorneys experiencing cybersecurity issues or having related questions. The urgency of the matter led BBA to bring in Kirkham, an acclaimed figure in the cybersecurity industry with more than three decades of experience. His recent book, “Hack the Rich – A Cybersecurity Parable,” has already hit Amazon’s best-seller list twice.

The seminar, available for purchase on the BBA’s website, provided a comprehensive overview of steps necessary to protect businesses from cyber threats. It covered topics ranging from creating a robust security infrastructure to training employees in best security practices.

“Small businesses tend to have less to steal, but many cybercriminals are opportunistic and see smaller businesses as an easier target,” Kirkham warned during his introduction. He pointed out that 95% of cyberattacks are triggered by the organization’s own employees and that lack of awareness or resources often leaves small businesses vulnerable.

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Kirkham further underscored the gravity of the situation by stating, “60% of small businesses that have suffered an attack will fail within six months.” He proposed solutions such as off-site backup systems and educating employees about cybersecurity to mitigate potential risks.

Additionally, Kirkham highlighted the consequences of unauthorized access to confidential customer information, such as loss of reputation and potential regulatory fines. For small business owners, the costs of recovering from a cyberattack often outweigh the expense of establishing solid network security, which Kirkham described as “being proactive” rather than “paying for an emergency IT team to identify what went wrong.”

Beyond the direct impact of cybercrime on businesses, Kirkham highlighted the potential legal repercussions. Breach of customer data can lead to hefty fines and damage trust between clients and businesses. Industries such as finance, medicine, and law face even higher stakes.

Kirkham’s seminar also highlighted practical steps to take, such as using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), employing a dedicated managed security service provider, conducting risk analysis, and implementing continuous cybersecurity training. He emphasized the importance of engaging with cybersecurity insurance and urged attendees to invest in preventive measures. “You don’t represent yourself in the court of law so why would you try to do this yourself?” Kirkham asked, drawing a parallel to seeking professional help in cybersecurity.

In order to maintain the high professional standards expected in the legal field, the state of New York mandates that its practicing attorneys must accrue a minimum of 24 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits biennially. This requirement underscores the significance of staying abreast with the most recent advancements and changes in law. The cybersecurity seminar conducted by the Brooklyn Bar Association contributes to this ongoing education, providing one CLE credit under the specialties of cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection.

This reflects the rising importance of these areas in the current digital age, where cyber threats have become a critical concern, affecting a wide range of sectors, including the legal profession. The seminar offers a valuable opportunity for legal professionals to increase their knowledge about cyber threats and data protection strategies, contributing to their CLE credit requirements.


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