Boutique Law Firms, Small Law Firms, Solo Practitioners, Technology

Episode 13: Taking Cybersecurity Seriously

Christina Gagnier

Cybersecurity is becoming an important issue for lawyers, whether you are a solo or working at a multinational law firm. When it is so easy and seamless from a workflow perspective to move to the cloud, many firms are pushing their operations and employees to this technology. There are many considerations to weigh when deciding to go from the file cabinet or local server to the cloud…

Make It Comfortable

Putting documents online is not as easy as just deciding to use Google’s Business offerings and letting things happen as they may. It is important to make sure that your users — i.e., your partners, employees, and staff — are comfortable using the technology. If someone does not have a grasp on using the technology or cloud systems that you have elected to use, you are more likely to have a mistake or security breach due to what seems like a benign user error versus some major external breach.

Choose Wisely

As a solo or small firm, you inevitably receive offers from the latest and greatest platform that will solve whatever pain point your firm may be experiencing. While it is enticing to go with the service that is $9.99 per month versus the service that is $49.99 per month that you may currently be paying, this is the appropriate time to look under the hood to see what the platform’s data storage and security procedures look like.

You should examine how your service provider collects, processes, and stores information. Do they use a trusted service to store their data? What states’ laws do they avail themselves to? Are they located in the United States?

It is important to remember that what you store in the cloud as an attorney is not just the photos you uploaded to Instagram. These may be sensitive client files that if compromised could seriously jeopardize you and your client.

Since cloud technology can be more affordable and efficient, the best advice would be to investigate before you subscribe. Talk to someone in the know, whether a fellow lawyer with more familiarity in the space or someone who specializes in technology, to explain to you the potential security pros and cons of using a particular platform.

Bring Your Own Device?

Another popular trend for businesses in general, and law firms, is to allow members of your firm to bring their own device and use this device, such as a smartphone, for firm business.

Contemplate this choice for your business. You will be balancing Android versus iOS. You will also have devices that may “go rogue.” This may not be as dramatic as it sounds since it usually occurs with scenarios such as “phone left in a bar,” but if the owners of the devices are not using appropriate security protocols, key files could be compromised if someone finds a way to access the device.

This scratches the surface when it comes to cybersecurity. A more in-depth investigation of cybersecurity and law firms is yet to come.

Christina Gagnier leads the Intellectual Property, Internet & Technology practice at Gagnier Margossian LLP, with a specialization in social media, copyright and information privacy. She is also at the helm of REALPOLITECH, a digital public relations consultancy that provides a broad range of services, including crisis communications. She serves on the Board of Directors of Without My Consent, combating issues like revenge porn. If you ever need to find her, start with Twitter at @gagnier or email her at

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