Law firms store lots of client files and personal information on computers and in the office. Protecting the data can be both affordable and simple to do. Here are a few tips to keep in mind whenever you’re dealing with important files.
Data breaches are a growing problem for firms. To keep your computers secure, you’ll need a few affordable tools.
The first and simplest is an anti-virus program. Though most computers come equipped with some form of anti-virus software, licenses tend to be for only a limited time. Should you choose to use a paid service (for the support and extra features), consider using something from Symantec or Avast. Though Symantec’s products are well known (they make Norton), Avast also offers some excellent service and offers a free version as well.
Consider using a Virtual Private Network which encrypts your internet connection using a remote server to channel everything being sent and received. This server not only encrypts everything, but it also hides your office’s devices by obscuring their IP addresses. Unscrupulous individuals can’t access your files if they can’t find or read them.
One such service is ExpressVPN which offers industry leading encryption and won’t slow your connection down. It also has no bandwidth limit, which is important if you’re processing large amounts of data.
In the same way you need to lock the building at the end of the day, you also need to lock any digital accounts as well. Use strong passwords that aren’t easy to guess, but simple for you to remember. Include a mixture of different character types, including uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers and symbols. A minimum of eight characters should be used, but the longer the better.
Anything that can be linked to your business or is personally identifiable information should be left out of passwords. And of course, passwords your business uses should never be shared or written down in an area they can be easily seen. It’s also a good idea to change those passwords regularly.
For physical mediums, consider storing important files and documents in a locked room or in locked filing cabinets. Something as simple as remembering to keep doors and drawers closed can keep prying eyes away.
A simple way to deter prying eyes at the office is to get a few inexpensive security cameras. Considering how affordable some security cameras are today, it’s certainly worth it for a law firm.
Backup Client Data
Make copies. Physical copies are acceptable for some documents, while others should be stored either online in a secure account or on secondary media, such as external hard drives, flash drives, DVDs or SD cards. Online storage may be cheaper in the long run, as it is less susceptible to wear and tear and usually not threatened by the elements.
Phishing and Scams
Simple scams often take the form of emails containing hyperlinks. These hyperlinks may lead you to fake websites that resemble well-known businesses that you may already have an account with. These phishing websites are designed to steal your login details. To spot fake websites, hover your mouse over the link and check the web address.
Phishing websites may seem close to the originals, but they’ll never be something exact as “https://www.cnn.com”. You may instead run into something like “http://cnnn.net,” which looks awfully similar. Strange grammar are big tip-offs, as are messages baiting you to “click here.”
Protecting You and Your Clients
Security for your business is critical for everyone. Making mistakes and not maintaining a properly secure environment can land your firm in a heap of trouble. At best, a little time and money can be lost. At worst, your business can lose its reputation, suffer economic hardship, or be exposed to lawsuits.
So do yourself a favor and secure your business properly. Ensure your passwords are strong, you’re able to identify scams and that you have the right forms of security installed both digitally and physically.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Caroline Black is a writer and blogger who enjoys spreading the word about how you can protect not only your business, but also your gadgets. She writes about online safety and security at SecureThoughts.com.