Why Data Encryption is Important For Attorneys

Why Data Encryption is Important For Attorneys

Client-attorney privileges are a pillar of the legal profession. In fact, they're so important that they're protected by law -- and that has implications for your IT solutions.

To instill trust with your clients and remain within the guidelines of legal compliance, it is of the utmost importance that attorney-client correspondence be protected by the best technology available

Modern Privacy

The legal industry faces a different set of privacy challenges than it did two short decades ago. With the rise of electronic communications and attacks against them, privacy concerns are at the highest they’ve ever been.

How many cases are you currently working on that are 100% offline? We're willing to bet zero. From evidence to correspondence, there's a lot of case documents flying across the internet. And unfortunately, you can't write off our assertions as doom-and-gloom hyperbole; long before WannaCry spread across the globe, 80% of the US's top firms were already being breached.

And don't assume that small firms are exempt. Many cyberattacks use advanced programming to spread themselves, targeting any company with lax security. There are many solutions to this problem, but one is especially important.

What Is Data Encryption?

When information is transmitted over the internet, at some point it travels through public channels. Emails, for example, must pass through internet service providers on their way to intended recipients.

During their journey, your communications are at risk of being exposed or intercepted, which would undermine your attorney-client guarantees and consequently, the future of your firm.

With data encryption, the information being sent -- whether it’s an email, document, or audio file -- is scrambled. No one can read the information except those who have been given the cipher in a separate channel of communication.

It may sound complicated, but when installed by certified experts, encrypted emails look almost exactly the same as unencrypted emails from the end-user's perspective.

When Is Encryption Applied?

Though they are a primary area of concern for lawyers, emails aren’t the only data that can be encrypted. There are three basic classifications of data your firm uses that need to be encrypted:

  • Data in transit: This refers to data that is sent from one location to another. This can be email, files synced to the cloud, VoIP calls, etc.
  • Data at rest: These are files sitting dormant on your server, personal storage device, workplace desktop or laptop, etc.
  • Data In Use: Data that is actively being worked on or otherwise in use.

The Future of Privacy

Data encryption is recommended by a number of state bar associations and is considered essential to preserving confidentiality. With high-profile data breaches occurring more often, the costs of encryption is drastically lower than the costs of breach notifications and lost reputation.

Email encryption is a primary source of concern for many law firms. However, securing stored files as well as ensuring the security of tablet, laptop, and mobile devices is also important. Would-be hackers and cybercriminals often target the weakest link in a security setup to get their foot in the door. A breached mobile device may seem less dangerous than a desktop computer, but a smartphone could become a stepping stone to riskier problems.

Legal Imaging is a full-service litigation support firm serving clients in Mobile and the surrounding areas. Our legal document services optimize your data storage solutions and bring your office into the 21st century of efficiency and security.

If you are a law firm looking for guidance in safeguarding your data, contact us today for a FREE Practice Management Assessment. We’ll conduct a thorough review of your current technology solutions and recommend a course of action to organize and streamline your firm.