Enemy at the Gates: The New Normal for Law Firms and Their Data
Rapid and dramatic changes in technology are continuing to challenge businesses of all kinds, including those of attorneys and other professionals. According to the article,” The New Normal: The Challenges Facing the Legal Profession,” the second greatest challenge facing the legal industry is the growth of technology in the legal field. “These advances increase the pace of practice and client expectations, forcing lawyers to adapt or face extinction. Understanding and implementing new technologies are difficult and time-consuming for lawyers. Clients are often ahead of lawyers in implementing new technologies; they have increased access to legal information, much of it readily available on the Internet.”
“Time is money,” according to an old adage, and most lawyers use their time and money on technology as it pertains to choosing billing software vs time management software, avoiding irregularities when using social media, and trying to navigate new legal advertising paradigms. However the security and safety of a practice’s own data as well as the maintenance of client’s personal and confidential information is often last on the list of priorities when it should be first.
Client confidentiality, attorney liability, and technology security need to be paramount when considering what programs and technology services you use and how you utilize technology for your practice. More than questioning whether your internal software and/or cloud based programs for client records, billing, and receipts correctly capture and deliver client information, you need to constantly ask yourself the following questions:
Is client information secure and how secure is it?
Is internal as well as external information, including data and other communiques protected?
Is personal information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, email addresses and credit card billing information secure? Who has access to these and how do you protect and correct if necessary, unauthorized and unwanted access?
I asked Jim Devon from Eagle Network Solutions of NH & ME what his clients should be asking about their IT security and was both surprised and shocked by some of his responses: surprised to know what we and our clients have been doing right, but shocked to learn what we need to fix and how much our clients’ IT companies aren’t telling them. Here’s what Jim advised that businesses should ask themselves:
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