If you find yourself typing the same thing over and over again, consider using a text expander or text snippet tool. I use BeefText which is open-source, and, without really trying, have a list of about 20 items that I can insert with a few keystrokes (most notably the date). If you want something a little more robust and don’t mind paying, check out this review of TextExpander here: http://dashboard.mazsystems.com/webreader/63828?page=26
Speaking of traveling, you may be interested in the What’s In My Bag email newsletter, https://www.getrevue.co/profile/wimb where “Each week, one interesting person shares four favorite things in their bag.” If you like music, check out the YouTube channel for Amoeba music and its What’s In My Bag channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/amoeba You will get inspiration from what musicians and other artists are listening to and why.
By: Mike Polk, Chair, Technology Committee Belser & Belser, PA Columbia, South Carolina
One of my favorite television shows growing up was Hill Street Blues. Sergeant Esterhaus (played by Michael Conrad) would conduct roll call, and he would always close with the same words of advice. “Let’s be careful out there.” In keeping with that theme, the now revived South Carolina Bar Technology Committee focused its entry at the bar convention on People, Processes, and Technology: Practical Information Security for Attorneys. Here are some highlights from Mary Lucas, Jacqueline Pavlicek, and Jack Pringle, members of the committee and presenters.
You need to be constantly vigilant. Unfortunately, information security is not a one time fix. Just like the rest of our practice (and life), everything changes — the threats, the responses, the software, and the other tools required to keep information safe.
You don’t need to be a superhero to master the basics. Criminals look for easy targets. Regardless of where you are on the computer savvy scale, there are simple steps you can take to dissuade someone looking for an easy score, such as;
Using strong, unique passwords for your online accounts (bonus points for using a password manager.)
Patching and updating all of your software, applications, and operating systems. (You would be surprised at how much protection this affords.)
Using dual factor authentication.
Avoiding public computers or WiFi. If you are going to work at Starbucks, a hotel, or an airport, for example, use a virtual private network (VPN).
Avoiding clicking on links in emails supposedly from your financial institution or other online account. (Your password manager might help you here because it shouldn’t log you in to a strange website.)
Backing up your data. In this day and age, there is no reason not to have at least two backups.
Testing your backups. In the words of Stan Lee, “”nuff said”.
Password protect your cell phone and other mobile devices.
Being skeptical. Part of being a lawyer is to plan for the worst and, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, trust but verify. Applying that same skepticism to your digital interactions will make you a hard target.
You don’t need to run your organization like Fort Knox. Once again, merely doing the basics may keep your organization out of harm’s way by;
Controlling access to your offices, computers, and computer networks.
Protecting and security your computer networks (including wireless networks) .
Installing updates and patches to all software.
Backing up the data of the whole organization.
Training all members of the organization. Anything helps. If you see something on the morning news about a new virus, pass it on. If you read an article from a bar journal of your choice about the importance of security, pass it on. Repetition is the key. A byproduct of this awareness may be more open communication, so if someone gets an email claiming to have nude pictures of the recipient and, to prove it, provides an old password, that person might be more apt to ask someone ahead of time before clicking on a link. (Note: If you haven’t heard, this is a real scam making the rounds.)
If you send or receive wires, 2019 is the year to tighten up your procedures. Here are some tips the speakers shared:
Consider having two authorized people to send a wire — one to initiate and one to approve.
Validate all payment instructions even if they appear to be internal, particularly if the instructions are marked urgent or confidential. It is worth picking up the phone or walking down to visit (imagine that—talking to someone face to face!)
The best practice is to make and confirm payment methods or instructions by phone. Do not use the contact information in the suspicious email!!!
Guard and monitor your bank accounts.
Consider using encrypted email communications or client portal. (Don’t be surprised if in five or ten years encryption is the rule, not the exception.)
Consider calling in some professional help, or asking questions of the help you have. Everyone knows that person who you can rely on to fix your document formatting, to get the printer working, to install new software, to generally squash your tech bugs. However smart your neice or nephew is, or your friend’s cousin’s son in law, or whoever, make sure that they know the security end of things. Most people I know have a “break fix” mentality, that is, if it ain’t broke, don’t worry about fixing it. As discussed above and at the bar convention, that will not keep you safe. So,whoever you get to help you, check out the SC Bar website for some tips on the right questions them.
So, on behalf of the SC Bar Technology Committee, let’s be careful out there.
By: Mike Polk, Chair SC Bar Technology Committee Belser & Belser, PA Columbia, SC