No matter how small your firm is, data security is a serious issue. With our world becoming increasingly mobile and cloud-based, it is imperative that lawyers make sure their client data is protected from security breaches. Use the following tips to ensure your clients, and your firm, stay safe:

Password tips:

          Create strong passwords. Use at least 12 characters, and include numbers and special characters.

          Consider abbreviating a phrase if you can’t come up with a sufficient word. For example, make your password “ITM$F1tBitW”  – short for “I think my solo firm is the best in the world.” In that example, the password is harder to guess because it isn’t actually a word itself.

          Don’t use one password for all your programs. If a password is cracked, you want to limit the number of things a thief can get access to.

          Change your passwords regularly.

          If you feel you must write down your passwords (which is not recommended!) do not store them in a document named “Passwords.” Come up with an innocuous name (“Christmas Letter 2006”) and store it deep within your file system. Consider password-protecting this document, too.

Encryption tips:

Put simply, encrypt everything.

          Use whole-disk encryption on all laptops. Laptop theft is the most common form of data breach

          Anything that stores firm or client data needs to be encrypted – this includes thumb drives, backup media, and smartphones.

Other tips:

          If your office uses a wireless router, make sure the network is secured. Change that password regularly, too.

          Require all office computers (laptops included) to use password-protected screen savers that are activated after a short period of inactivity. An unattended computer is easy to hack into.

          Make sure all your software is up-to-date and has critical patches installed. Data breaches are more common on out-of-date or unsupported software.

          Be wary of what information you make available on social media, especially on third-party applications. Anything that collects your information could possibly be a security risk.

Kimberly Hanlon
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Kimberly Hanlon

Attorney at Law at Kimberly M. Hanlon, LLC
Kimberly Hanlon is an estate planning and small business law attorney in the Twin Cities. She is also a co-owner of MoreLaw Minneapolis, the executive suite exclusively for attorneys in downtown Minneapolis.
Kimberly Hanlon
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