The Reasonable Care Standard Doesn’t Stop with Your Phone
The recent growth and demand for cloud based applications has increased the attention attorneys give to the protection of their client’s data. We research whether it is ethical to store client data in the cloud. When we shop for cloud based technology, we grill the vendor on their security, encryption, and their promise to protect our information. 256 bit? Dual Authentication? We need it all!
The truth is, it is probably more likely that you will leave your phone at the coffee shop or at your daughter’s volleyball game than you will be the victim of a major security breach or hack. So what are you, the person with the obligation to protect the data, doing to make sure your phone is secure?
The best approach is to simply not store confidential Information on your phone. However, that's easier said than done as we rely more and more on our phones to stay connected to the office and our clients. Further, many lawyers don't store confidential information on their phones, but use apps and other remote connection options to access confidential information from their phones. Of course, those same apps might be used by unauthorized users to access the same information if the phone fell into the wrong hands.
If you are going to carry or access confidential client information on your phone, it is essential that you employ security. Phones are extremely easy to lose and they can be compromised by worms, phishing and hacking (smartphones can be accessed through public Wi-Fi, Bluetooth capabilities, malware and other methods). Below are some of your options. Password Protection: At a minimum, you need to password protect your smartphone and all of the major players offer this. In other words, the phone can't be used without entering a password.
Encryption: Most smartphones have encryption capabilities built in and this functionality is also available via many apps which one could install on a smartphone.
Remote Wipe: This is the ability to remotely destroy all data on your phone if your phone is lost or stolen, All major cell smartphones allow for this (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile). There are also apps which will perform this function such as Lookout Mobile Security (www.mylookout.com) which works for Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices.
Firewalls and Antivirus Software: Particularly if you use your phone to access the Internet or email, you should consider firewall and antivirus software. Smartphones are vulnerable to the same types of issues that can affect personal computers. Beware of Bluetooth: If you leave your phone's Bluetooth functionality turned on and "visible", it's possible for hackers to gain access to your phone without you knowing. Therefore, if you're going to leave Bluetooth turned on, you should adjust the phone settings so that it isn't visible to thers.
Backup Your Phone Often: All smartphones have some type of backup utility. Some backup options store the backed up data on your personal computer and some store it on a secure web server. Whatever options are available to you, make sure you use them.
Do you need help with security? Let us help. Click HERE to schedule a call with an Affinity Consultant.