Not so long ago, cybersecurity was not even a word in the dictionary. Type the word into a Google search now and you will see more than 25 million results in less than a second.
Punctuated by the occasional 1.5 billion email hacks at Yahoo or other internet service provider, cybersecurity is probably the main concern in information technology today. It is the word in IT.
For attorneys, whose profession is built on tenets such as attorney-client confidentiality, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Client files, financial information, and endless stores of digital documents must be safeguarded.
Here are some top tips to keep your legal documents secure:
1. Apply Security to Folders, Not Files
On your computer system, store documents with similar security needs in the same part of the folder tree so that you can easily grant or deny access to those who use your computers. Automate security settings to quickly apply them to large sections without unnecessary manual configuration.
Then apply security privileges to those folders, not just files that you may think are sensitive. By securing entire folders, it keeps your security consistent and reduces the need for manually adjusting settings on hundreds or thousands of documents.
2. Ensure Mobile Security for All
If anyone uses mobile devices to access your system, disable any automatic login so that the files are not compromised if a mobile device is misplaced, lost, or stolen. Many thieves steal data the old-fashioned way by taking laptops and cell phones, so be sure to have automatic locks and remote wiping of data on all devices if possible.
Also, be sure to disable electronic document exports so that employees do not store documents on their mobile devices. You do not want your workers carrying your sensitive documents with them into the gym.
3. Err on the Side of Restriction
Digitize everything and restrict access to anything that is remotely sensitive. You can always grant security to someone, but you can't undo what people can't unsee.
Sending documents by email is one of the biggest security risks you can take. Once the attached document is sent or forwarded to the wrong person or group of people, there is no way to get it back.
Use a client portal to send and receive documents quickly and safely. It allows you to have control over who has access to the document, maintains version control and document history.
Digitizing documents won't guarantee their security, but it is easier to secure them digitally than to leave them on computer folders or even in physical folders where anyone can look at them.