Safety in Tech – How to Protect Your Computer From a Data Breach

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You’ve heard the horror stories of data breaches and confidential client information being stolen from companies across all industries and of all different sizes. As a small law firm owner, you know the relationships you have with your clients keep your business running. What you might not know though is not all tech products on the market are created equal in terms of protecting information. Investing in the right technology that helps you keep confidential business and client information safe is one way to protect your computer from a data breach. Equally important is training your legal staff to recognize the importance of data protection and act accordingly.

Legal staff can protect your firm’s computers from hackers using the following tools:

Software with Bank-Grade Security

Free software may sound appealing when operating on a tight budget but these programs often collect sensitive data and have security flaws. Programs made for individual rather than business use can also put your firm’s information at risk.

By using a service like Smokeball, which was created specifically for small law firms, you can protect your firm’s information while still taking advantage of the benefits of modern technology. Smokeball offers bank-grade security to protect your legal matters, which means the information logged in Smokeball is guarded by top-notch security programs. Your firm can use Smokeball without worrying about who has access to your information.


Virus Protection

Your firm relies on a smoothly running computer network. Viruses can slow your legal staff’s computers and compromise confidential data. Whether your firm runs on PCs or Macs, virus protection software is critical to keeping devices secure. When it comes time to buy virus protection software, consult reviews from sites like CNet for advice on popular antivirus options, and check the American Bar Association’s site for law firm-specific advice.  Programs like McAfee AntiVirus, Webroot AntiVirus, and Bitdefender offer antivirus protection appropriate for small businesses. Each brand has different kinds of security tools, so be sure to decide what kind of security options your firm wants before purchasing.

Software Updates

When tech companies discover security vulnerabilities in their products, they fix them through software updates. Over 90% of software and operating system updates address security issues. It is wise to wait a few weeks after a new software update is released to allow time for bugs to be worked out, but your firm should stay on top of critical updates. You can do this easily by changing your computer’s automatic update settings. For PC users running Windows 8, you can follow these simple instructions to turn on auto updates. Mac users can learn how to control their auto updates here.


Proper tech tools can help fulfill your obligation to client confidentiality and keep your firm’s own information safe. If your firm is not using up-to-date protections, you are putting this information at risk.

By |May 7th, 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.