Affinity Consulting Blog

With the recent resurgence of variants of the CryptoLocker ransomware virus, including CryptoWall, we remind clients how critical it is to make sure all key elements of your data are properly and regularly backed up.

For instance, several clients using Tabs3/PracticeMaster and Worldox were hit by the nasty CryptWall bug. They were using the Backup utility within the Tabs3 database, and then copying the backup files to an external or online backup destination.

Unfortunately, not all subdirectories within the Tabs3 directory are backed up automatically using the built-in Backup utility. Not backed up are the Reconciliations and Statements directories.

These directories contain PDF files of your historical bank reconciliations and statements sent via email, but are not backed up with the regular data files. If these are not separately backed up to a local or off-site destination, they cannot be restored properly after a virus attack. Every firm should make sure all of its data is being backed up. Don't rely solely on the default selections in built-in backup utilities or separate backup software programs.

Also, any backup system that relies on human intervention is going to fail. Use a local external hard drive as a secondary backup system so that lost or corrupted files can be restored faster than with an online backup. However, every firm should have at least one Cloud-based backup system. That system will do real-time automatic backup. To avoid the various Crypto ransomware problems, only use backup systems that do versioning. That way, earlier unencrypted versions of files can be restored even if the backup sysstem runs a backup of the newly infected/encrypted files.

I am decidely in the Windows (and Chrome) camp. But I have nothing against Apple and Mac OS X or iOS. I have my daughter's old MacBook. But more importantly, I have a 4th generation iPad with a Verizon data plan that is very useful for traveling light, particularly when combined with the matching Logitech Ultra-Thin keyboard cover. Once Microsoft loosened its iron-fist grip on its products and made Office available on other platforms such as iOS, it made my iPad more useful for actual legal work. Now Office for iPad is even better.

Wireless data isn't cheap. I am learning that the hard way as my grad student daughter continues to rip through our family plan's alloted data at an alarming rate. The answer (or at least one answer) is to use Wi-Fi instead of cellular data on your phone or tablet when away from home. So how to you find Wi-Fi hotspots?

Many lawyers have both a desktop and a laptop computer. Usually both run Windows. If that is you, here is how you can leverage that laptop investment by turning it into a second screen (more or less) for your desktop PC while fully preserving its stand-alone functionality when using it on the road. And this comes free from that surprisingly innovative company - Microsoft (?!).

OK, no need to finish paraphrasing the famous and somewhat off-color Mae West quote. Keyboards are large unweildy things that are definintely not pocketable - until now.

It is vacation time. Many lawyers, judges, and others in the legal profession take time off during July and August. We leave our homes and offices behind. How do you keep an eye on things at home while you are on the road?

Lawyers need to be concerned about security and confidentiality. Much of what we carry with us is not very secure. Many lawyers carry USB drives, smart phones, tablets, and laptops that are neither encrypted nor password/pin protected. This is disaster waiting to happen. So why not carry a more secure, but very useful laptop-type device that costs less than a month's worth of lattes?

Microsoft has been on a roll of late. The old stodgy company that kept its best assets off other platforms has opened up in a big way. One example is that its very useful Microsoft Office Mobile for Android is now available to all Android phone users. Previously, you were required to join their Google+ community to gain access to the beta version of the app. Now, just go to the Play store.

The release by Microsoft of a new Windows version is usually greeted with dread by lawyers and those who help administer their technology. Compatibility with existing software and hardware is the primary concern. Fortunately, the July 29 release of Windows 10 need not be feared.

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