Data Security for Lawyers
Data security is a hot-button issue in the legal profession. A recent data breach at the Panamanian law firm of Mossack Fonseca recently gave rise to the widely publicized “Panama Papers.”
Sensitive client data was divulged in the breach, leading the prime minister of Iceland to step down from his post. The breach also impacted many other high-ranking officials around the world.
Of course, not all lawyer handle clients whose interests are as sensitive as those of Mossack Fonseca. However, every client deserves to have their data handled with utmost care.
5 Data Security Tips for Lawyer
Here are five simple data security tips to help keep your law firm’s sensitive business and client data more secure.
1. Keep your patches and anti-virus up to date
We all get in a hurry sometimes. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your computer is fine and doesn’t need updating.
Or that your firm is too small to be of interest to hackers. Don’t believe it – the truth is that most hackers use automated tools that can attack any business with exploitable vulnerabilities.
In fact, 90% of business data hacks happen through security holes on unpatched computers. Data security is a must for every law firm.
2. Improve your passwords for better data security
Remembering multiple passwords for all the different programs and applications you use can be difficult. Although it might seem easier to keep your passwords written down on a Post-It or use a less secure password, these are both extremely risky practices. A better solution is to use an application like LastPass to remember the passwords for you. LastPass updates and tracks your passwords regularly with a randomly generated, highly secure password for each individual application. (Learn more on our blog about LastPass).
3. Encrypt Your Devices
Although encryption of your files is not a foolproof data security method to protect your client data, your data more secure with encryption than without it. Any device that handles client information should be encrypted, from drives on your desktop or laptop to mobile devices and phones.
4. Put a PIN On It
Modern smartphones and mobile devices can store a great deal of client contact information. They can also help a thief gain access to other applications where more damaging client information may be kept. Prevent a thief from gaining access to privileged client information by putting a PIN on all your mobile devices. There’s really no excuse not to do this.
5. Back It Up
Many attorneys and law firms struggle to find resources to adequately manage their IT. As a result, they may fail to regularly back up their data. Unfortunately, this practice can result in the loss of important client data. It’s crucial to find the time and resources to back up your IT; if your firm is unable to find the time or resources to do this, an IT outsourcing partner can help.
Because of the privileged nature of their work, attorneys and others in the legal profession must take care of data security and understand its impact on clients.
Do you have questions about how to keep your attorney-client data more secure? Send us a message and we’ll answer your questions in a future blog post.