In 2017 alone there were around 16.7 million cases of identity theft online, a record high following the previous record high of 2016. It is evident that criminals are finding more and more ways to steal data in efficient, covert ways. Companies like Wells Fargo and Google, among dozens of others, have had to face severe backlash for losing their consumer’s data and having their privacy breached. In an occupation like law, data breaches can be even more damaging—how can clients trust lawyers and firms who can’t secure their private information? Whether you’re looking to protect your personal information or getting started setting up shop as a freelance lawyer, keeping your data secure should be one of your most pressing concerns. Fortunately, adhering to the following steps will help keep your data safe.
Set Up A VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) is a must for both individuals and firms. A VPN works by creating a secure tunnel between you from the websites you visit and the data you store. When working online, the data is transmitted and protected by this tunnel. This allows you to both browse anonymously and safely, as VPNs use encryption to hide your IP address, emails, banking, and make conversations with clients indecipherable. A VPN is an integral step towards making your data secure, and with so many out there, it can become a hassle to find the right one that works for you. Look up reviews of popular VPN software to be sure you’re getting a reliable product and search for one that meets your criteria.
Keep Backups For All Files
The number one cause of data loss for firms? Hardware or system malfunctioning, with more than two-fifths of users experiencing this problem. Losing your data in the law profession can be simply disastrous. Imagine putting a months worth of work into a client only to discover that your computer malfunctions and you lose it all. To avoid this, find a reliable way to back up your data. It’s recommended that you follow more than one of the following steps in order to assure that you don’t lose any important information.
The easiest way to make sure your data is secure and unlikely to be lost is to keep hard copies in a safe, ideally a fireproof one. Data security is no joke, as it can be worth more than money in a variety of situations. In fact, it’s the world’s most valuable resource. However, a safe should only act as a last resort—it’s simply too time-consuming to recover all of your data from hard copies. It’s better to find an online storage container, like Dropbox or Backblaze, to keep electronic data accessible at all times and from wherever you are. If you’re too concerned with data being stolen or want to be as safe as possible, back it up with a physical hard drive that you keep on you or hidden in a safe spot. You should always have your data backed up in more than one way.
Have A Quality Anti-Virus Program
Anti-virus programs are a requirement on any computer with data worth keeping safe, and more so in the law profession, no exceptions. Malware built by criminals can sneak into your computer covertly through a website or program and slowly infect it, stealing data or forcing you to pay to recover it. Avoid this by using a reliable antivirus protection software and by scanning for threats frequently—do not wait for the malware to find you. Be proactive and uncover it before it can even attempt a breach. Antivirus programs retroactively scan websites and files for any type of harmful viruses, worms, or attacks to prevent a breach of any sort. Antivirus programs are also constantly being updated to refresh their virus registry to ensure that any new viruses are detected and prevented.
Working in the field of law can be both stressful and immensely rewarding. As any lawyer knows, there are a plethora of things that can go wrong with a client at any minute. It’s best to avoid any unpleasant conversations about stolen or lost data by preparing for the threat instead of ignoring it. Keeping computers and data safe is more relevant today than it was in the past, and it will continue to be one of the most pressing concerns for individuals and firms alike. Backup your data, set up a VPN, and invest in an antivirus program to make yourself secure online.