Why EVERY Firm Needs a Security Maturity Level Assessment (SMLA) 

Why EVERY Firm Needs a Security Maturity Level Assessment (SMLA)

As a lawyer, firm executive, or team member running a law firm, you’re tasked daily with overseeing and directing a large amount of sensitive information. This can include client research, billing, budgeting, legal ethics, organizing case records, and beyond. With most of your billable hours occupied by the weight of operating within the justice system, it’s easy to resist prioritizing your firm’s current technology standing and where to further invest in it. In fact, the very idea probably sounds overwhelming. 

You’re not an IT (information technology) person, you have a business to run and clients to manage. What does technology have to do with you? 

As it turns out, it has everything to do with you. 

Why does my firm need to invest in IT? 

As technology rapidly advances, your cyber-resilience is in a race against time. Firms need to take the much-needed step to fully assess their IT operations, or else they’ll suffer the once-avoidable consequences. 

Without expert insight on what tech needs to be updated or improved upon, your firm will suffer from not having the solutions they need to stay productive or ensure clients’ sensitive data is fully protected. Even if you do have that information, what is your plan in meeting those needs right now? How about a year from now? 

Investing in your IT could be your firm’s defining quality compared to other competitive law firms, but that doesn’t mean just buying the latest IT solutions on the market. 

You need a plan to improve your technology. You need to know what’s going on beneath the layers of cables and computer screens, and to understand how vulnerable your firm is to a major breach in its current state. 

Your firm must start the technology journey ASAP, beginning with an SMLA.  

What is an SMLA? 

An SMLA is an assessment that measures all the ins and outs of an organization for exploitable weaknesses threat actors could target. When most law firms approach us for an SMLA, they score an average of 0.64.  

For context, a score of 0.64 poses a 90-95% risk level, making you an easy target for cyberattacks. A score like this inevitably leads to fatal cyber events that carry heavy consequences.  

For example, one of our current clients, while still working with their former technology provider, learned they had a threat actor in their system. Once the threat was discovered, their IT vendor shut down their firm for an entire day. This locked them out of their email server and wasted precious billable hours. Shockingly, it turned out that the threat actor had been lurking in their system for three years, siphoning data out of the firm and feeding it into other unknown, dangerous locations.  

Up until that point, the affected firm figured they were doing “just fine,” until it was too late. They were able to respond to the attack and come back online. However, preventative measures, such as investing in their own technology, would’ve helped them identify the threat actor much, much earlier.  

How do I improve my firm’s current tech and cybersecurity standing? 

Letting your firm’s IT issues go unnoticed has heavy consequences, but it’s equally difficult to address those issues without knowing what they were beforehand. If you haven’t had one yet, test your firm with a Security Maturity Level Assessment (SMLA). Don’t worry, SMLA scores are nothing to be ashamed of; they’re designed to be a baseline, illustrating where your firm currently stands in cybersecurity and technology, and what you can do to improve.  

Once you know the current technological state of your firm, consider if your current IT provider is meeting your needs. 

Firms often outgrow their IT provider as they expand their client base, or their IT provider does not have the skillset to oversee the unique complexities of cybersecurity. It’s imperative your firm is partnered with an MSP that not only understands cybersecurity at a high level but is cyber-certified themselves.  

Explore your options with us. Take this quiz to measure your firm’s current IT Vulnerability Score.  

Learn more about our SMLA here.  



5.16.22 BHBA Webinar Slide Deck 

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