Biglaw, King & Spalding, Technology

You’ve Got (No) Mail! Major Law Firm Blocks Employee Email Access


New Policy Prohibiting Access to Non-King & Spalding Email Accounts (“Personal Email Accounts”) from Firm Computers

The firm’s internal security experts, as well as our outside security experts, have advised us that accessing Personal Email Accounts from firm computers creates a significant security risk. Therefore, effective May 1, 2013, access to Personal Email Accounts (i.e., anything other than your email, including, but not limited, to personal email accounts like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, cable company, etc.) from King & Spalding computers will no longer be permitted.

Most personal email sites will be blocked while you are on the firm’s network. However, you should not access Personal Email Accounts from a firm computer, even if you are not automatically blocked when trying to do so. For example, you should not access Personal Email Accounts from a firm laptop, even when the laptop is not connected to the firm’s network (i.e., from your home network, a hotel internet, etc.). The firm’s computer systems hold confidential information about our clients and the firm and, as you know from reading articles in the press, individual users who innocently click on malicious e-mails are often the cause of security breaches. We need your help in protecting our systems by following this and other security related policies, even when you can do things that you are not supposed to do.

In certain limited circumstances, clients require us to communicate via a third party email system. If you have such a client requirement, please contact Thomas Gaines or Gene Viscelli so that we can determine the best way to address your client requirement. Please do not simply access the third party email without checking with Thomas or Gene (or the Service Desk if you cannot reach Thomas or Gene first).

Permissible Ways of Accessing Personal Email Accounts

The prohibition against accessing Personal Email Accounts from firm computers does not impact your ability to access Personal Email Accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail from your own personal devices (e.g., smartphones, iPads, tablets, personal laptops, etc.) while at the firm.

The firm has installed a wireless network called “ksmobile” in each office. This wireless network is reserved for K&S personnel (not clients or visitors who should be directed to the ksguest network), is a direct route to the Internet, and is appropriately sized to accommodate the many personal devices that are being used by K&S personnel. Because ksmobile does not connect to the firm’s internal network, it provides the firm a more secure way to allow you access to your Personal Email Accounts while you are in the office.

If you wish to use the ksmobile network, you may obtain the password to access this network by calling the Service Desk at ext. 8-3000. After your initial connection to ksmobile, your personal device will automatically reconnect whenever you are in a K&S office and retain the connection throughout the K&S space without the need to reenter the password.

If you have any questions about this new policy, please contact Gene Viscelli, Thomas Gaines, or any member of the Technology Oversight Group (Pat Brumbaugh, Derek Hardesty, Ted Hester, John Keffer, Floyd Newton, Bob Perry, Glen Reed and Kathy Rhyne).

Gene Viscelli
Chief Information Officer

What’s a Company’s Biggest Security Risk? You. [Wall Street Journal]

Earlier: When Luddites Handle Cyber Security, You End Up With American Law Firms

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