Keeping Client Privacy Under Lock and Key

//Keeping Client Privacy Under Lock and Key

Handling confidential client data is part of everyday life at a small law firm. Social security numbers, financial statements and other sensitive information is often filed away and forgotten about long after a case closes, and keeping confidential documents safe and secure gets harder the more you accumulate. Here are three steps your law firm can take to ensure that client privacy remains under lock and key.

Choose the Correct File Storing Software

First things first, it’s time to digitize. While keeping your files off of the cloud may seem safer, it’s a misconception that digital filing is inherently risky. Choose a software solution with heavy encryption and security features that make sensitive information accessible only to members of your firm who have been granted access. Smokeball provides law firms with bank-grade encryption, so you don’t have to worry about your clients’ information falling into the wrong hands. By backing up matter details and client information to the cloud, Smokeball also ensures that you’ll never lose a client file again.

Protect Your Passwords

Protecting client information with regularly updated passwords is a basic step all firms should take to ensure privacy and security. But putting sensitive information behind password access walls is only the first step. Passwords also need to be updated frequently, ideally every 30 to 60 days. If you can’t remember the last time your firm went through a password refresh, now may be the time. Steer clear of simple passwords that include your firm name or the names of employees. Adding unique characters, switching between upper and lower cases and spelling words with a combination of letters and symbols will prevent hackers from guessing your passwords and will keep your firm’s information safe.

Avoid Free Wifi

While free wifi at airports and coffee shops may seem like a happy miracle, public wifi is often not secure and can present an opportunity for hackers to locate shared files, wipe hard drives and gain access to sensitive information. If your employees regularly work on-the-go, make sure they understand these risks and take the necessary precautions. Setting up a virtual private network (VPN) or providing employees with their own password-protected 4G mobile hotspots are two ways to make sure that even when your team is on-the-go, your firm’s information is encrypted and kept safe from outsiders.

Security is key to maintaining client trust. For more tips on how to ensure you keep client privacy under lock and key, take a look at our blog post: Is Your Small Law Firm Keeping Your Passwords Safe?

By |February 9th, 2016|

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.