Quick Tip: Use Automatic Screen Lock

With the profession changing rapidly, many lawyers find themselves practicing in non-traditional settings: from their homes, from shared office spaces, or from a client’s office just to name a few examples.  This change in setting can mean less control over who has physical access to your computer.

One simple way to protect yourself is to enable automatic screen locking.  Once enabled, your device will automatically block access after a certain period of inactivity.  The user must input a strong password to remove the lock.  While this may be a minor inconvenience for you, it’s preferable than the major inconvenience of having an unauthorized person snooping through your confidential files.

To enable screen locking:

  • For Mac OS X devices, open System Preferences and click on Security.  Under the General tab, click the check mark next to Require password … after sleep or screen saver begins and set the timing option to immediately.  (You can adjust screen saver settings under System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver, and sleep settings under System Preferences > Energy Saver.)
  •  For Windows 7 devices, open the Start menu and click Control Panel.  Click Personalization and then Screen Saver.  Choose the length of time you’d like to wait before locking under Wait and then be sure to check the box next to On resume, display logon screen.
  • If you’re using a comprehensive security tool, particularly one with full disk encryption, this feature can usually be enabled via that tool as well.   Instructions will vary from tool-to-tool so be sure to check the manual.

Be sure to review our tips for security outside of the office for more guidance.

About Joshua Poje

Joshua Poje
Joshua Poje (@poje) is the Director of the ABA's Legal Technology Resource Center, where he provides technology and practice management guidance to attorneys throughout the country. He is the editor of the annual ABA Legal Technology Survey Report and a frequent speaker and writer on legal technology topics. Follow him on: Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+

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