Three Online Security Questions Every Law Firm Should Ask Itself


Lawyers everywhere should be concerned for their privacy, that of their clients, and the safety and reliability of their network, backups, and other technologies that run their business and play a factor in their business’ reputation. If you haven’t been wondering about how secure something is, or how private another thing is, then you might be putting your firm and your clients at risk of getting hacked. Every lawyer is familiar with the ethics they should abide by when practice law, but here are the ethics every lawyer and law firm should strictly adhere to when practicing business.

Is Our Website Backed Up?

We depend on our websites to represent our company, inform potential clients, and act as an extension of ourselves when we’re unavailable. There’s clearly a lot of pressure on the virtual shoulders of any attorney’s website, so why wouldn’t you want to ensure its safety?

When you have a developer build your website, make sure he implements the latest security features to prevent hacking, phishing, or any other sort of malicious activity. Platforms like WordPress have plenty of safety and privacy plugins that can protect your website in many scenarios. You’ll want to ensure the security of everything from the platform to the hosting service to even the developer, him or herself. There are also plugins to make an e-Commerce section of your site as secure as possible. When it comes to your brand’s reputation, you really can’t be too careful.

After you’ve had your website supped up with the latest and greatest in website security, create several backups of the entire site. Everything from the graphics to the content to the code should be backed up into one cohesive file and then stored away in several, safe locations. This mean creating a backup for the developer to keep, for you to keep on your computer, and especially a backup to keep on an external hard drive or cloud server. If your website goes down for any reason, whether it’s a technical glitch or because of a malicious hacker, you’ll have plenty of backups to restore your website to it’s previous glory. Just make sure to create backups often so you never fall too far behind.

How Secure Is Our Network?

Many law firms don’t take the time to set up their office network probably, and while they might save time and money on the front end, they run the risk of losing confidential information and clients in the long run. Take the time to set up your network right the first time and give you and your clients peace of mind.

First, pick a secure encryption for your network. You’ll come across various encryption protocols like WEP, WPA, and WPA2. While you don’t need to become an expert in these protocols, you should understand that even though WEP is still widely used, most experts have ruled it out. WPA2 is actually the latest frontrunner in wireless security. You’ll most likely need an updated router and newer wireless cards in any devices your office plans to connect to the wireless network.

Next, create a secure and random password. Don’t base the password off of a real word, a birthday, or anything else that can be easily guessed. A random assortment of numbers, letters, punctuation, and the use of both capital and lowercase letters make for the best passwords. Once you’ve create a secure password and chosen a WPA2 encryption protocol for your network, keep the password safe and only hand it out to the employees who need it.

Talk to a network specialist to make your wireless network even more secure. Keep in mind that there are various other methods to secure your network for companies who have employees log in remotely. If all of your employees are in-office workers, disabling remote login on your network is a good idea.

What Do We Do When A Mobile Device Is Lost Or Stolen?

This isn’t a question many companies ask themselves, even though more and more employers are handing our smartphones and tablets to their employees. Even if you’re just a one-man legal practice, your smartphone probably holds a lot of private and confidential information, like credit card numbers, client addresses and invoices, case notes, and so on. In the event of losing your smartphone or tablet, all that information can go with it. In the wrong hands, this can be detrimental to your practice, your career, and of course, your clients.

Before this situation ever arises, make sure you have some sort of tracking app installed on your phone. Apple’s iCloud includes a “Find My iPhone” feature and Androids have a similar app called Lost. If you do end up forgetting your phone at a restaurant or in a cab, you’ll have a much easier time tracking it down.

Once you’ve realized your phone is missing, call your mobile carrier and let them know what’s happened. Usually they can stop all service to your phone so the culprit can’t use it for much. Next, you should change all the passwords on your email accounts, social media accounts, sharing sites like Dropbox, and other websites where someone could gain access to precious information. Sometimes, the carrier or maker of the smartphone can completely shut down the phone for you, just in case. You should also notify all of your contacts that your phone has been stolen and assure them that you’re doing everything possible to keep their information secure.

Technology has made business run smoother for many law firms. Whether we’re creating beautiful, attention-grabbing websites or using smartphones that allow us to connect with our clients faster and more effectively, we’ve all been blessed by technology. However, that blessing can easily turn into a curse if you’re not careful about how the security and privacy of your online properties get treated. Backup, secure information, and have policies in place for when a breach happens. You might not be able to prevent every security issue that arises, but you’ll be prepared for them when they do.

Pete Wise is a copywriter working for the Eshelman Legal Group. When I’m not helping the intake department field new cases, I’m posting to my social media accounts. Check out my Facebook Page.

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