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3 Reasons Email Encryption is a Lawyer’s Best Friend

April 27, 2015

There’s a reason why the American Bar Association has an entire page on their website dedicated to encryption. When you’re an attorney, solid encryption isn’t just important to the security of your clients, it’s crucial for the safety of your practice. Not only are you responsible for protecting your clients’ personal information, but you also have to worry about keeping all communication secure, so that your client knows there’s no chance their case will end up falling into the wrong hands.

Strong data-centric email encryption can help your law practice achieve this goal, eliminating the chance of a costly data breach. Email encryption can quickly become your best friend, protecting both your clients and your business from a security disaster.

1. Email Encryption is an Easy Way to Manage Volume While Maintaining Confidentiality

Lawyers deal with an absolutely brutal amount of email. There are often multiple conversations between clients, partners, and just about everyone else involved in a case. Magnify that by however many cases they’re currently dealing with, and you’ve got an inbox that is practically overflowing on a routine basis. When you’re dealing with that kind of volume, keeping your security and confidentiality in check can be a hassle. Email encryption provides a solution to this problem, as encrypted emails are protected by default, meaning that there’s no need to download and archive hundreds of messages in order for the information within those messages to be secure.

Jared Staver, managing partner of the Straver Law Group, explained just how vital encryption is to managing a high volume workload. “The emails I exchange on a daily basis (hundreds of them) between my clients and other attorneys in the office need safeguarding,” Staver says. “Not only does encryption protect me from potential lawsuits, but it’s also simply the prudent thing to do, for my clients and for myself. We go a long way to protect attorney-client confidentiality, and this is the next layer.”

Staver added that he expected to see an increase in the number of precautionary measures used by law firms across the country within the next two years. “With so much at risk, it’s only natural,” Strayer said. We agree — especially considering that data breaches are becoming increasingly more common in every industry.

2. Email Encryption Can Protect You From Costly Leaks

A data breach can be potentially crippling for any business, and this is especially true for lawyers. In addition to financial records and any health insurance data they might store on their employees, they also must protect all of their clients’ records, as well as any other documents relating to cases that they are working on. Documents shouldn’t just be secured while they are being archived, either — every piece of sensitive information should always remain encrypted, even when it’s in transit Failure to do so might lead to hefty penalties, not to mention a severely damaged reputation.

Charlie E. Bernier, a liability consultant working for ECBM Insurance Brokers and Consultants (@ECBM_Insurance), highlighted the importance of encryption in protecting your firm from a potentially devastating leak. “From a cyber insurance perspective, encryption is important because most policies contain an encryption exclusion. If you have a breach due to an unencrypted document or email there will be no coverage for this breach if your policy contains an encryption exclusion,” Bernier said. “Law firms should read their policies carefully and add encryption to your common practice to confirm that they will have insurance coverage for an unencrypted breach.”

3. Email Encryption Can Help You Achieve Compliance

As a lawyer, you’ll likely encounter many different pieces of regulation throughout your career. Depending on what sort of cases your practice specializes in, your firm might find itself needing to encrypt all kinds of specific information. As if that weren’t complicated enough, regulation is often a moving target, with new specifications constantly changing what your firm is specifically required to do.

For example, if your firm frequently assists with real estate transactions, TILA-RESPA is likely to impact your practice. TILA-RESPA is an attempt by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to consolidate and update a series of real estate and lending rules to help streamline the home buying process for consumers.

While TILA-RESPA does not explicitly require encryption, it does require that you protect the financial information of consumers. As encryption goes beyond the requirements for compliance, not only does it protect your business now, but it potentially protects it from future updates to the regulation.

Interested in adopting email encryption for your practice? Virtru can help. While most forms of email encryption require a dedicated IT department to use, Virtru simplifies the process, allowing you to enable email encryption throughout your firm without a struggle. There’s no need to ditch your current email address either, as Virtru works with Gmail, and Outlook.

Download Virtru today and see how easy it is to enable email encryption for your practice.

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