Is Your Small Law Firm Keeping Your Passwords Safe?

/, Tech Tips & Resources/Is Your Small Law Firm Keeping Your Passwords Safe?

Your firm’s lawyers have an obligation to your clients and your firm to keep sensitive information safe. Lawyers have access to a lot of confidential client information on their tech devices, so it’s critical they keep computers, phones and tablets safe from hackers.

Data breaches can happen when you use passwords that are incredibly simple or similar on all of your accounts. You’re also at risk if your passwords are infrequently changed. Hackers and computer bugs can easily find ways into your accounts when you don’t take extra measures to keep your passwords safe. Have your attorneys use these password tips to keep all their tech tools safe from prying eyes:

Use Different Passwords

Don’t reuse the same password across programs, devices or accounts. When one account is compromised, a hacker may try accessing other accounts using the same credentials. Choosing a variety of passwords is a defense system. It will slow down hackers and help your firm to contain security breaches.

Change Passwords Regularly

As a rule of thumb, all passwords should be changed every three months. This way, if an old password has been compromised without your firm’s knowledge, the new password restores a measure of security to the affected account.

Create Strong Passwords

Your attorneys should create passwords with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation. When allowed, passphrases are also a good option. A passphrase can be a line from a song, for example, with numbers or punctuation marks used in place of some of the letters. Such phrases may be easier for your attorneys to remember than a string of random numbers, but, because of their length, harder for hacking software to guess.

Use a Password Manager

If your attorneys follow smart password guidelines, they will have many different passwords to remember. Save the confusion of forgotten passwords by using a secure password manager to keep track of all your firm’s login credentials. Password managers securely store all your login information, and many even generate strong passwords for you. Do some research to find the program that’s right for your firm. You can start with these reviews from LifeHacker and PCMag.

While it may seem inconvenient to change passwords often and to use complicated strings of numbers, letters and symbols, it’s far worth the return if taking these measures protects the integrity of your online accounts.

By |May 14th, 2015|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.