Computer login and passwordWelcome to the end. You made it and are on your way to having a more profitable law firm. We’ve taken a lot of steps during this series to improve your information flow. On day 6 we set up Google Apps to manage your law firm’s email, calendar, and contacts. On day 7 we went further and set up cloud solutions for you firm’s billing and accounting. Over the last several days we put a plan in place for lawyers to go paperless with Evernote. Many lawyers are nervous about having their information online. The last day of our challenge will make sure that your data is secure.

There’s one thing to get out of the way before we talk about security steps you need to take with your new applications – having your data online in “the cloud” is more secure than keeping it on a server in your office. There are two security threats for people who run local software. The first is the collection of people who sit between the chair and a computer’s keyboard. The second is your office server itself; when you run information locally you have to worry about viruses, hackers, and other intrusions compromising client data. When you store information with companies such as Google then the threat of hacking and viruses is largely eliminated, leaving you to only worry about the dumbass person using the computer. Let’s take steps to make sure that the person in your office who clicks on every suspicious link can’t do any damage to your online security. You know which employee I’m talking about – they look like this person:

Person being called stupid by computer

Lawyers improve both efficiency and security by limiting the number of applications they use

I’ve dealt with a number of attorneys who were using two applications to do something when one worked just fine. For example, Quickbooks Online can handle your accounting, payroll, online invoicing, can receive online payments, and can serve as your credit card processing system. There are plenty of attorneys who use Quickbooks for some of these functions but use other programs for others. Using multiple programs does two things. First, it makes you deal with multiple vendors and applications which, in turn, reduces efficiency and costs you money. Second, using two applications instead of one just creates an additional place from which your information can potentially be stolen. You need to ensure that you are using the full functionality of your applications which will reduce the number of apps and services you need to sign up for.

Lawyers can greatly improve security by using “LastPass” and two-factor authentication

The biggest security problem that arises with cloud applications is password theft. There are a lot of reasons for this. I won’t go into the reasons why in this article. The good news, however, is that there’s an easy way to secure your passwords and make such highly unlikely. You can have this handled for you, and stop worrying about it by using an application called LastPass. Here’s a great video on Lastpass.

The next thing to ensure security is to enable two-factor authentication on as many of your cloud services as possible. Most of the services we’ve implemented in this series support two-factor authentication. Then if someone wants to steal your data then all they need to do is hack into your encrypted LastPass account, break the encryption on the data in your LastPass account, and steal your cell phone as it’s needed for the two-factor authentication. In other words, you’ll be as secure as this place.

Fort Knox welcome sign and tank

Your tasks for today are simple. Sign up LastPass and use it to generate/store all of your passwords. Then enable two-factor authentication in as many places as possible.

You’ve made it to the end of our challenge. It’s time to pat yourself on the back. Our next article will be a “series wrap-up” and then you’re off and running to the path of profitability.