field is the ultimate realm of discretion and
confidentiality. Email is a quick and easy method of
communication for every lawyer, but by its nature it is
an open, public system and certainly not discreet,
confidential or secure. Even an email traveling only
several miles often crosses the nation, passing through
10 to 25 different unsecured servers, all of which are
susceptible to hackers, compromise and pirating.
The professional workplace has been changing. Attorneys
no longer have to be sitting at their desks to do their
work -- they can be sipping a latte at the local
Starbucks while checking their e-mail, conducting
research for their brief, and dialing into their voice
mail. They also use their home PCs to connect to the
firm's network. Supporting computers at a law firm is no
longer a simple matter of protecting the workstations in
an office environment; you must consider the dangers of
remote computing from almost every angle.
Things would be wonderful if PC security was solely in
the hands of one IT professional who would always be
aware of the latest virus or spyware threat and take the
necessary precautions to protect the machines under
their care. But alas, the biggest threat to PC security
is the end-user. As stated above, attorneys don't have
the time or patience to learn about the latest threats
to computers and as a result, blissfully click on a link
in an e-mail, or blindly say "yes" to a pop-up box that
asks to install software on their machine.
Sure there are very bad people out in the world who
fiendishly enjoy hacking into people's computers and
digging out personal information or credit card numbers.
But the fact of the matter is that those people are only
successful because there are computer users who won't
take the time to protect themselves. All it takes is a
few simple precautions to deter the majority of
malevolent attacks against a computer.