Client Confidentiality and Device Security in the Legal Sector

While the advent of sophisticated mobile technology can be a godsend for productivity and adaptability, it can still spell trouble for those who aren’t practising proper mobile security habits.

Obviously, one of the core principles of having a relationship with a client is confidentiality. So, what if you had a data breach on your smartphone and compromised sensitive client materials? Aside from losing a client, you could risk threatening your personal image or your law firm’s.

Thankfully, there are some ways that lawyers can protect their clients and themselves when it comes to working on mobile devices.

Start from the Beginning

Whether you are a sole practitioner or an employee of a larger firm, it’s important to take a step back and address your mobile working habits. Since the majority of workers own at least two smart devices, many companies have begun to implement BYOD security policies. Short for “Bring Your Own Devices”, a BYOD policy lets workers take advantage of the comfortability and convenience that comes from using your own device.

But, establishing a BYOD policy isn’t as simple as just letting anyone use what they want at any time. Firstly, there need to be rather strict rules put in place when it comes to a BYOD policy. One such rule is to never download data onto a device locally, data should be encrypted centrally before being downloaded onto a device.

Trust the Source

Once you have implemented a BYOD policy or have read the materials regarding a previously existing policy, it’s important to use some common sense when it comes to your mobile device. It can be tempting to treat your workplace mobile device like your personal mobile device. Even if they are one and the same, they need to be separated.

This means that users need to be very, very careful when it comes to the apps and websites they are using. Identity theft is increasingly commonplace due to insidious internet pariah’s creating fake websites and apps that capture a person’s data. This is a scary enough thought when it comes to personal use, let alone all of your client’s info.

The best method is to do a fair amount of research before leaping into downloading and trusting start-up companies. Consult with your IT department, ask fellow colleagues, and go to reputable review sites to ensure that you and your sensitive data aren’t victims.

Basic Security Procedures

It can be all too tempting to fall into bad security habits when you are using a personal device. Since you are accustomed to your routine, you may be missing even the most basic of security measures you need to be taking.

Do you have strong, individual passwords for all of your accounts and applications? If the answer is no, this needs to be remedied immediately. The easiest way for someone to break into your sensitive data is to walk right in.

Additionally, if you have young ones or other members of your household who might see your shiny device and begin to tinker – a password becomes even more important.

To take your password security one step further, you can even look into “Two-Factor Authentication”. This means that even after you enter your password, you are required to enter in a secondary bit of information. Most often this will be a randomly generated set of numbers that is sent as a text message. These numbers only last for 10-15 seconds, so this is a great way to protect sensitive documentation.

One Step Further

In addition to basic security measures and making sure there is a solid BYOD policy implemented, an extra step can help with security threats. This includes encrypting the information on your phone. While this may sound complicated, there are many easy walkthroughs online that take the guesswork out completely.

Lastly, always back up your information. Whether you are using a secure “cloud-based” server or your own hard drives, it is imperative that you are backing up sensitive client documentation daily.

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