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September 11, 2017

Bernstein Shur launches all-in-one cybersecurity service for small businesses

Photo / Renee Cordes
Photo / Renee Cordes
Bernstein Shur law firm has launched a combined technical and legal cybersecurity service for small businesses that includes a 12-member team team with attorneys from its business, litigation and dispute resolution, data security and technology practice groups.

Cybersecurity tips for small businesses

— Back your data up regularly and test restoring data from your backups.

— Patch workstations and servers for vulnerabilities.

— Regularly check systems for up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware software.

— Have a dedicated computer for online banking transactions.

— Train employees about the importance of cybersecurity awareness.

Source: Recommendations from Matt Kramer, chief information officer at Bernstein Shur

Portland law firm Bernstein Shur on Monday unveiled a combined technical and legal cybersecurity service for small businesses.

While the firm's lawyers already represent clients in cyber-related matters, it is expanding its offer to include a comprehensive technology audit from its in-house IT experts.

The initiative, in the works for over a year, will be co-led by Josh Silver, shareholder and co-chair of the law firm's data security team, and its chief information officer, Matt Kramer. The new 12-person cybersecurity team includes attorneys from Bernstein Shur's business, litigation and dispute resolution, data security and technology practice groups.

"It's something we're really excited about. I think it's very unique," Patrick J. Scully, the law firm's CEO, told Mainebiz in an On the Record interview to be published in the upcoming Sept. 18 print edition. "There is a client need for both the legal component and the technical component, and to be able to package the two creates a real opportunity to help a lot of companies, especially smaller companies that just don't have the resources."

'Virtual CIO'

Like a "virtual information officer," Kramer said, the IT team would conduct an independent review of a client's technology and then bring in their legal colleagues as needed.

If a business has a contract with an outside help desk, for example, lawyers could review that contract to make sure everything is legally sound. The review would encompass insurance; federal, state and international regulations; contractual and customer obligations; and endor and third-party contract reviews regarding privacy and data security. If needed, they will also offer full-service data-breach protection and management.

Silver, who mainly handles technology transactions and outsourcing deals, estimates that about 30% of those transactions are related to information security.

"It's a fairly busy area anyway, but having Matt and his team able to go in there and do an audit of the systems and software and other things that our clients have in place, and to recommend ways to beef up security … is just a real value-add," Silver said. "It's not something that other law firms are providing."

Asked what types of businesses are being targeted with the new service, Kramer pointed to solo law practitioners and small law firms as well as smaller healthcare providers not affiliated with big hospitals and service industries from restaurants to hotels.

"There's a large number of small mom and pop service organizations that also probably could benefit from these types of services as well," he added.

While he's not yet received calls related to the recent Equifax data breach, Kramer said that he and his colleagues are studying up on it.

"We're getting up to speed on what this breach means, because it definitely will be relevant to many people personally as well as from a business standpoint," he said.

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