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Learn from your colleagues’ mistakes. In this edition of “Technology Fails” we’ll address, the obvious, the mundane, the benign, and the obliviously performed ways in which leaders, attorneys and bosses wrecked cases and violated rights.

As a partner at a law firm, your role bears responsibilities as both case expert and boss to the surrounding paralegals, secretaries, and junior attorneys. No matter how many years in both education and service to the firm you’ve spent, you will never know all there is to know about technology.

1. Unprotected Cloud Systems

No big deal, right? Everything is in the Cloud! My case files, my employee information, everything!

Wrong. Your cloud may not be secured or even governed by US law. If you’re not sure, you’re not safe. Remember what happened to all the celebrities with iCloud accounts earlier this year…

Start with this checklist:

-Where are my cloud servers located? If the answer is anywhere but the US, you’re security and compliance with US law is unenforceable, and therefore obsolete.

-My old cloud provider contract ended. Who owns the data after? If it’s anyone but you, you’re not secure.

-How will my information be destroyed securely at the end of my contract with my cloud provider? If you’re not sure, you’re probably in violation

-Are the data secure? Great question – but if you’re having to ask after sign up, you could be in big trouble. Do your research ahead of time to guarantee safety and avoid future damages to your firm and your cases.

2. Unsecured Mobile Devices

This is for both you and your employees. Make sure everyone knows, from secretary to paralegal to attorney, that not only must they password protect their mobile devices, but they must avoid even looking at documents in public! This is a big one to be careful of.

This includes locking cars and homes when they contain your valuable mobile or laptop technologies. While it’s best to never leave those items in a car, a break-in qualifies as a data breach! In this case, no threat is unreal or precaution unnecessary.

3. Social Media Stalking. You’ve done it, who hasn’t? 

You are legally allowed to review social media information, but how you do it is what makes you suspect (or in this case, a suspect). Spokeo gathered data via social media and sold the information to employers to assist with their hiring decisions – violating multiple anti-discrimination laws and resulting in an $800,000 fine.

Using social media in HR must be done very carefully:

You may:

-Review a LinkedIn account or “Professional” Social Media site after having met the potential employee

You may not:

-Ask for social media passwords or login information,

-Review social media information too early in the process.

4. Keep Up with the Trends… and by trends I mean HACKS!

Security breaches in 2014 have fooled huge companies from social media conglomerates to insurance corporations. Watch out for the next big breach and change your passwords or update your security measures accordingly.

5. How You Store Files Matters

When sharing files externally, remember – how they are saved affects what information a person receives. Metadata, or hidden information, can be revealed when sharing a document in Word format. A PDF is better – if you have to send in Word, then paste the contents in to a new document to make sure that file is clean. This will make your external privacy much more secure.

Stay safe friends! Feel free to comment questions or tips below.

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