The iPad Lawyer – The Secret to Keeping Things Secret
Scott J. Grossberg, Esq.
You work hard for your clients. And you share and store lots of data. The challenge is that you have an ethical obligation to keep your attorney-client communications and work product confidential. I have long touted the use of cloud storage as part of your paperless office and mobile workflow. That type of convenience has a cost, however. You must know about encryption. That brings with it yet another problem – being able to use encryption with ease. I believe in going to the best for answers. So, I’ve reached out to the publisher of VIIVO – the encryption app that I personally use. I asked if they would take the whole encryption discussion a little deeper. And they agreed.
Your time (and data) is valuable. So let’s get right to some terrific information from Matt Little, Vice President of Product Development for PKWARE and Viivo. Take it away, Matt . . .
Oh . . . one more thing. Make sure you read to the end for a very special offer from PKWARE and Viivo.
The Case for Client Data Encryption
Matt Little, VP of Product Development, PKWARE & Viivo
Scott has posed a stellar question to us: Why should lawyers and firms encrypt documents?
Encryption has been a long-standing practice in information security circles and the IT industry. The same can’t be said of attorneys. However, the rampant use of mobile devices to access and share client information has opened up new risks to client files and third-party sharing. To protect these files, Scott has long been suggesting that you make encryption part of your workflow (both inside and outside of your firm).
The American Bar Association has been flush with best practices and CLE programs on encryption and security of client data to cover this rush of new technology. State bar ethics rules vary when it comes to the cloud and mobile data access. They sometimes come with ill-defined caveats like take “reasonable steps to ensure” confidentiality and protection of client data in Dropbox and other clouds (as noted by the Oregon Bar Association’s ethics guidelines). And how about this one – The New York State Bar Association’s ethics recommendations suggest lawyers who share and store data in the cloud employ “available technology to guard against reasonably foreseeable attempts to infiltrate the data that is stored.”
At the heart of all the guidelines is the need for attorneys and firms to keep client data secure. To underscore that, here are four quick-hit areas of concern that support adding encryption to client data:
BYOD & Dropbox: In droves, attorneys are already working from their smartphones and iPads and through cloud service providers like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. It’s easier to access data on their iPads and smartphones, especially if they’re out of the office or meeting directly with clients or opposing counsel. When it comes to the cloud, Dropbox and other cloud providers just work well. So, partners and IT managers are left with the option of burying their heads in the sand, or giving attorneys protection as they adopt easy tech for sharing and workflows.
Client protection: Ethics and privacy expectations with client data are in the air when the data is out of your hands. As with printed and physical documents, client data shared across devices and into the cloud is increasingly the obligation of the attorney and firm. More state bar associations are updating ethics opinions to cover this fast-changing technological area of client information sharing. Don’t get left unprotected and working in the face of state and national bar rules.
Subpoena: The terms and conditions of any cloud vendor offer no guarantees for protection of your data in the instance of a subpoena (just read through some of Scott’s prior articles on Dropbox). In the same vein, the storage and sharing in the cloud may come under the request and purview of not just a brazen hacker, but also security agencies like the NSA. Encrypting data renders it largely unusable for hackers or snoops, and protected from other unanticipated legal actions.
“Trust no one” security: While there is some level of encryption for information in Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive, it’s what security experts call “zero-value encryption.” That is, the cloud vendor holds the keys to be able to lock and unlock the data. Security of information should be something you have control over.
The good news is that – finally – encryption can be easily and powerfully added to the workflow your attorneys and firm are already using for mobile devices and the cloud. It’s less about the “shiny new thing” in technology, and more about keeping attorneys, firms and their clients safe from rampant data risks.
We’re curious how you are – or aren’t – using encryption for protection of client data and third-party exchanges. Let us know directly. Or let Scott know and he’ll reach out to us. And when you’re finally ready to secure your firm’s files with peace of mind, check out the free trial of Viivo through the App Store.
And here’s the special offer we’ve made available to you for being part of Scott’s iPad Lawyer Tribe: If you opt to upgrade to the professional grade version of our software for lawyers and small firms, Viivo Pro, we’ve created a 25% discount just for you. Simply enter the discount code “LAWENCRYPT” when you buy.
Back to you, Scott . . .
So there you have it. There’s no excuse not to make encryption a powerful part of your iPad success workflow. And there’s no excuse not to make Viivo part of that habit. You can get Viivo here:
Now go out and make it a wonderfully successful (and encrypted) day. – Scott
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© 2014 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.