Being ahead of the curve in technology offers attorneys the opportunity to work with a broader audience from various regions and respond much quicker than snail mail, faxes and in-person consultations. Unfortunately it also opens attorneys up to online security breaches regardless of how savvy one may think he/she is when working online.
According to the 2015 Legal Technology Purchasing Survey via the International Legal Technology Association, approximately 60 percent of participants admitted that security management was a top IT challenge. Email management was ranked at 48 percent followed by information governance (40 percent), risk management (33 percent), and a 22 percent tie between cloud-related security risks and change management.
With at least 80 percent of American law firms being hacked since 2011, reevaluating how an attorney works with digital files may help to significantly decrease these numbers. Using an adequate spam filter to avoid opening suspicious email is the first step of many. While attorneys have enough on their hands just dealing with trials and paperwork, one investment that can never be undersold is having a trusted IT resource may they be outsourced or someone on the staff that fully understands just how instrumental data security is. This is the person who can ensure that confidential information is properly stored on the cloud, that two-factor authentication is set up before accessing private information and that Internet providers have quality bandwidth. As with any IT vendor search, make sure that their tech support is reliable and can be easily accessible any time new software technology needs to be installed, removed or verified. The last thing an attorney will want to have is a hacker tricking his way into an attorney’s client profiles.
Regardless of how much is on an attorney’s plate, it never hurts to at least get an overview of new legal technology, learn how to use it, and pick the brain of IT professionals to see how to increase firm security. Whether a tech pro or not, fully understanding why a law firm is using certain accounting software or bookkeeping software over another brand can give the attorney (and the client) a better idea of how safe client information is on each computer and/or mobile device. Also, beware of keeping sensitive information on mobile technology. Just as hackers may be able to access information from unsecured sites & locations, the same can be said for keeping confidential information residing on your Apple & Android device.