Cyber Security and the Importance of Securing Client Information

by Melanie Fischer on May 3, 2016

Cybersecurity01_WebWalk into any Starbucks on any day of the week and you’ll probably see dozens of people set up at a table with a Venti Vanilla Latte in one hand and a MacBook in the other. In many cases, these people are connected to free Wi-Fi, and they are conducting some sort of business while in the comfort of a coffee shop. They might be writers, accountants, or real estate agents. They might work in any profession. Some of them are probably solo attorneys.

Do solo attorneys, or others who work in professions in which cyber security is of the utmost importance, realize that a free Wi-Fi connection at Starbucks (or in any other public location) might not be secure? Maybe not.

A Cyber Breach Can Occur at Any Place, and at Any Time
The topic of solo attorneys and cyber security actually goes much deeper than the dilemma of whether it’s safe to use free Wi-Fi at Starbucks. Without the proper security, a cyber breach can occur at any place and at any time. This means that a solo attorney must take every possible precaution to protect client files and private information.

Have you ever lost your computer or cell phone? Has your computer ever been stolen? Besides the risks involved with using public or free Wi-Fi, these are just two examples of the potential risks that a solo attorney faces when it comes to cyber security. When client information must be kept confidential, the threat of a security breach is a serious concern. Everyone – especially solo attorneys – are a risk of becoming the victim of a cybercriminal.

Tips on How to Protect Your Law Firm and Your Clients’ Private Information
While it might be impossible to eliminate 100 percent of the risk, there are steps that you can take to help protect your law firm and your clients’ private information.

  • Use extreme caution when accessing private client information on an unsecure server
  • Use encrypted e-mail when sending and receiving e-mail messages that include private information, back account numbers, social security numbers, etc.
  • Be careful about e-mails that look legitimate but can actually be scams – even the most seasoned attorneys have fallen for such schemes
  • Consider purchasing cyber liability insurance
  • Enroll in a cyber security course so you can learn the most up-to-date methods for protecting your solo law practice and your clients
  • Always use unique passwords to protect your files
  • Make sure the hard drive on your computer is encrypted
  • Subscribe to a reliable backup system so if your computer is lost, stolen, or broken, you can still access all of your files

When it Comes to Cyber Security, what is the Biggest Priority?
The truth is that when it comes to cyber security, everything should be a priority. It does little good to protect some but not all of your files. It’s not necessarily helpful to use a secured server some but not all of the time.

When it comes to protecting your solo law firm, your clients, and your liability, it’s essential that you follow the advice of experts and do everything possible to ensure a secure cyber environment. The security of your computers with all of your data and files should be a top priority – and not something that should be put off and only thought about on a rainy day.



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