Canadian Lawyer

May 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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22 COVER STORY FEATURE a lot of identity thieves and hackers," says Nurani, a lawyer, consultant and trainer in privacy, information-management and cyber- security, as well as founder of PRIVATECH. The sophistication of cybercriminals is such that they've graduated from the level of "kid in the basement" to "big business," says Monica Goyal, a lawyer who advises clients in tech and engineering and adjunct profes- sor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where her focus is law and technology. Also growing in sophistication, clients are increasingly requesting cybersecurity accountability, she adds, and many have cybersecurity audits in their contracts. Now the question is how they will maintain that security after sending the lawyers home, says Goyal. One way law firms operate remotely is through the cloud. Karim Jinnah is a lawyer and president and co-founder of LexCloud. ca, a cloud IT service for law firms. He IN MID-MARCH, the COVID-19 pan- demic swept the globe and health authori- ties quickly recommended social distancing. This new society norm effectively mandated an unprecedented transition from office to remote work for lawyers and law firms. "I don't think we've ever engaged in an exercise like this where so many businesses and so many organizations are working remotely," says Lisa Lifshitz, a partner in Torkin Manes LLP's business law group, who specializes in technology and privacy law. Working from home raised two urgent questions: Technologically, were firms and lawyers ready to transition without disrupt- ing workflow while protecting cybersecurity and client confidentiality? And what toll would these near-house-arrest-like condi- tions have on the well-being of lawyers and staff ? But these uncertainties aside, some lawyers saw the sudden reliance on technol- ogy and the sense of freedom remote work provided as a long-overdue innovation. With nearly all Canada's white-collar workforce suddenly operating off home Wi-Fi networks, there were concerns about whether the internet could even handle the tectonic shift, says Lifshitz. Netflix even pitched in to ease Canadian bandwidth by lowering its streaming quality. The new normal put lawyers and their home-work arrangements on the menu for hackers, says Lifshitz. Licking their lips, cybercriminals see employees working at home like a hyena sees a baby gazelle who's been detached from the herd. "People aren't stupid. The hackers are definitely going to see this as an opportunity to engage in further nefarious activity," says Lifshitz. "There'll definitely be more spoofing and phishing. . . . So that's definitely going to be a concern." And the transition was imposed in short order. Although companies were supposed to be training their staff to work cyber-safely at home, the reality was many hadn't and were forced to perform unrehearsed, she says. Aside from the added vulnerability of working from home, in general, lawyers and law firms are uniquely vulnerable to cyber- criminals, says Fazila Nurani. "[Law firms] have a lot of sensitive infor- mation. They are, I think, a prime target for The great migration When COVID-19 hit, law firms dispersed to sofas and makeshift home offices. While new vulnerabilities accompanied the move, many felt the transition was long overdue, writes Aidan Macnab "I don't think we've ever engaged in an exercise like this where so many businesses and so many organizations are working remotely." Lisa Lifshitz, Torkin Manes LLP

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