Storing Legal Confidential Information Safely In The Cloud: Facts and Information
From manufacturing to medical and from legal practices to retail, the Cloud has now been accepted and is used daily by companies around the world. In spite of this, lawyers often ask: “Is the Cloud safe for our sensitive legal documents?”
The simple answer is this — The Cloud is as safe as you make it. For example:
- Are you using easy-to-guess passwords or the same passwords across various accounts?
- Does your staff know how to recognize a phishing email?
- Do you properly control who has access to your data?
- What about encryption services — Are you using them?
Regardless of the technology that comes along over the next few years, the way to safely store important documents won’t change. It requires some effort by you and your employees, and it requires a bit of common sense.
But the human factor is still the most significant risk factor in most equations. If you and your employees follow a few simple tips, you can ensure that your confidential information remains safe whether it’s on your own servers or in the Cloud.
Use A Password Manager
To use the Cloud securely, you must create unique, hard-to-guess passwords. A password manager is an excellent tool for this. Consumer Reports says these are recommended by security experts because password managers can create long, complex passwords and store them securely. You only have to remember one password.
A password manager generates, keeps track of and retrieves complex and long passwords for you to protect your vital online information. It also remembers your PINS, credit card numbers and three-digit CVV codes if you choose this option. Plus, it provides answers to security questions for you. All of this is done with strong encryption that makes it difficult for hackers to decipher.
Use Encryption Service
Encryption is a great way to protect data, and it should be used on emails as well. It uses an algorithm to encode information. Only authorized users hold the key to decrypt the files. Even if your data is intercepted by cyber thieves, they won’t be able to read it.
Cloud storage encryption ensures that documents are safely stored. This can help industries that are heavily regulated like law firms and healthcare. By applying encryption and practicing secure encryption key management, your IT service company can ensure that only authorized users will have access to your sensitive data.
Best Practices For Key Encryption:
- Encryption key backups should be kept offsite and audited regularly.
- Encryption keys should be stored separately from the encrypted data for added security.
- Implement multi-factor authentication for both the master and recovery keys.
- Periodically refresh encryption keys, especially when they are set to expire automatically.
Some security experts believe that authenticated encryption is the best method for cloud storage because it not only encrypts the files but additional metadata. Encryption authentication prevents attackers from getting your encryption key by using digital signatures. An authority must confirm that the signature and key are authentic, providing an additional layer of security for all documents and data.
Although there are a few challenges when it comes to encrypting data for the Cloud, it’s still the safest way for law firms to protect sensitive client information from prying eyes. In fact, industry and government regulations require that certain industries take these extra precautions.
Arrange For Security Awareness Training
These days, it’s more important than ever to educate yourself and your employees about cybercrime. This is a growing menace and it’s occurring all over the world. One in five law firms was hit with a cyberattack in 2017, but there are many things you can do to protect your firm.
Train your employees regularly so they’ll know how to recognize phishing attacks. You and your staff should be aware of the latest cyberattacks. Knowledge is still power. Your IT provider should have a full suite of network security programs that can help you build an impenetrable fortress of security around your law practice.
Restrict Data Access
Restrict who has access to what information. There’s no reason for a receptionist to have access to client files. There are many other employees at your law firm that simply don’t need access to certain documents, so don’t give it to them. The fewer people who can access your critical data, the lower your risks.
Make Sure You Use A Reliable IT Services Company
Do you have a reliable IT services provider who understands the compliance issues that legal practices deal with? You should. Hire an experienced IT service provider who can help you meet compliance requirements. Since so much of what you do each day involves your IT infrastructure, it’s essential to have a company that is skilled, experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to cloud services.
If you’d like to learn more about how Integris can help you use cloud services to safely store and protect your data, please contact us. We serve the Baltimore-Washington area with a full suite of Managed IT Services for law firms.
In the meantime, it’s important for you and your employees to stay up-to-date on technology. We’ve provided some articles on our Blog that you should find interesting. Here are a few to get you started: