For lawyers and anyone who works with sensitive documents, TrueCrypt, the free open-source disk encryption software, provides an extra layer of protection (and peace of mind) for information stored on computers, mobile devices, or in the cloud.
Encrypting your hard drive
If your computer or mobile device is lost or stolen, or just sitting on your desk after you leave, you want to know that confidential client files stored there are secure. Many of us have heeded the call for strong passwords or to get a password manager, but for very private or sensitive documents, additional security is available via encryption – with TrueCrypt.
TrueCrypt creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a real disk on your computer. See TrueCrypt’s beginner’s tutorial with step-by-step instructions.
And, check out Ben Schor’s detailed guide on how to use TrueCrypt to encrypt a laptop or mobile device.
TrueCrypt and Dropbox
Over a dozen states have weighed in with ethics opinions about lawyers using cloud-based services. In a nutshell, the opinions advise lawyers to take “reasonable precautions to ensure client data is secure and accessible.” Most cloud services like Dropbox meet this basic requirement, but lawyers may still wish to use an extra layer of encryption for particularly sensitive client documents.
Here’s what Dropbox has to say about adding your own layer of encryption:
“Dropbox applies encryption to your files after they have been uploaded, and we manage the encryption keys. Users who wish to manage their own encryption keys can apply encryption before placing files in their Dropbox. Please note that if you encrypt files before uploading them, some features will not be available, such as creating public links. Doing so will also make it impossible for us to recover your data if you lose your encryption key.”
Simply move encrypted files or folders into your Dropbox folder. Some functionality is sacrificed when doing this so be select about which documents you encrypt.
If you want to take yet another security step and hide the folder of encrypted documents on your computer, check out this quick instructional video: Make A Secret Encrypted Drive.
You don’t need to encrypt every file stored on your computer or in Dropbox, but to keep prying eyes at bay, use TrueCrypt for select files and folders.
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Dropbox, The Popular Cloud Service For Lawyers Adds Another Layer Of Protection