2017 is just underway, and with it a multitude of new online threats. From viruses and spyware to hacking and identity theft, these online threats can pose a serious problem to you, your law firm, and your clients. For this reason, it’s important to take steps to keep your data safe and your clients’ personal information protected online.
The 2016 statistics are yet to be completed, but in 2015, Symantec Corporation – a company that sells and operates online security software, most notably Norton Antivirus – claims they saw a record number of company security breaches, with 429 million identities being stolen or lost. In 2017, a whole new set of risks will appear, making it more important than ever for law firms to take security into their own hands.
Today, we’re taking a quick look at 11 online security tips that will keep you and your law firm safe in the coming year.
- Use Two-Step Authentication
Let’s be honest. Most people can figure out your birthday or even one of your typical security questions. To prevent this, you just need to use two-step authentication. This means you’ll need to pass at least two levels of security to access your accounts. For example, when you login regularly with your email and password, you will receive a verification code sent to your phone. This ensures that despite having your password, an intruder will still not be able to access your account information and do any damage to your personal information.
- Update Your Browsers
Updating your browser may seem a waste of time, but it’s really important. Not only do you update your browser with the latest features, but you’ll also be patching known security flaws to help protect you against viruses and online threats. Chrome, Edge, Safari, FireFox, Opera and all other major browser operators patch flaws on a regular basis.
- Use Encryption
Using encryption protocols on your emails and text messages can ensure that only the people intended to receive your messages will receive them. It also means that personal data can be sent efficiently without security worries.
- Use Firewalls
Firewalls are an amazing tool to keep your data safe. It’s a way to block unauthorized access to your Wi-Fi network while also being able to communicate outwardly. Using a firewall in your office can hide your network name from other Wi-Fi users, and can help prevent your connection from being hacked.
- Don’t Disable User Account Control
Windows users may sometimes disable UAC. This means that your computer will not prompt you to agree to give software access to different parts of your PC. Make sure it’s switched on so you see exactly what different applications you are using.
- Delete Unsolicited Emails
Unless you recognize where an email comes from or why they are sending you a message, it would be a good idea to delete any unsolicited messages. This helps avoid clicking on links that contain viruses and prevents malware from being installed on your work equipment.
- Avoid Ransomware
An increasingly common form of malicious software is ransomware. Users may find pop-up links that inform them they have a virus installed on their computer and they must call a phone number to have it removed. Educate your colleagues on how these tricks work, and contact IT professionals right away to ensure none of your data has ben compromised.
- Use Folder Passwords
Windows and Mac users can apply passwords to folders, adding an extra layer of authentication to your sensitive data.
- Perform Regular Updates
Mac OS and Windows users both have access to regular updates, which are essential. Taking ten minutes to update your computer in the morning can protect your entire network from problems that Microsoft and Apple are already aware of.
- Secure your files
If you manage your files online, you need to ensure your data is safe. Make sure to use HIPAA compliant software, such as box.com, to ensure that all of your files are encrypted with the highest level of security.
In fact, that’s why PracticePanther, a legal case management software integrates with Box, as it allows law firms to share personal information without concern.
Top-level security features include 256-bit military grade encryption, two-step authentication, geo-redundant servers, and automated off-site backups.
- Teach Your Colleagues
Not only do you have to take precautions regarding your own security, but you need to also ensure that everyone in your office takes the same precautions. Make sure that everyone in your office knows the warnings signs for suspicious websites. Avoiding malicious links and activities can help keep your network safe and your data protected for the coming year.
Julian Gutierrez is Online Marketing Director at PracticePanther.
PracticePanther is a cloud based legal case management software based company in Miami, Florida. Thousands of solo practitioners, virtual, small, and mid-sized firms worldwide use PracticePanther to help them boost productivity, work faster, and grow their firms. Schedule a demo today and get your law firm on the right path this coming year.