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Law Firm Data Security: The Importance of Encryption

April 13, 2016

Encryption is a smart way to protect intellectual property and sensitive email messages, but how important is email and file encryption to law firm data security?

Experts have warned that law firms are becoming more attractive targets for hackers. Law firms store vast quantities of sensitive data on high-profile clients, cases, mergers, and lawsuits. The headlines over the last few weeks should be proof enough — hackers breached the computer networks at some of the United State’s top law firms.

There’s a good reason why the American Bar Association has an entire page dedicated to encryption on their website. Strong encryption isn’t just important in protecting the security of your clients, it’s crucial for the safety of your practice.

Beefing up your law firm data security with data-centric email and file encryption can help your law practice mitigate the chance of a costly and damaging breach. Here’s how:

Encryption Can Protect You From Costly Leaks

A data breach can be potentially crippling for any business, and this can be especially true for law firms. Law firms are responsible for protecting client confidentiality, records and files pertaining to cases — not to mention financial records and health insurance data kept in staff HR records.

Not only do you need to be concerned with securing all this sensitive data in archives, but every piece of this information should also remain encrypted when it’s in transit. Failure to do so could lead to hefty fines, not to mention, a damaged reputation. So what’s the best solution?

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

Legal teams deal with a never ending flurry of email every day, including multiple threads between clients, partners, witnesses — and everyone else involved in a case. Multiply that by all the cases they are dealing with concurrently and it’s easy to see that keeping law firm data security in check can be a serious challenge.

Data-centric encryption provides a solution to this problem. Encrypted emails are protected at rest and in transit, meaning that there’s no need to download and archive hundreds of messages in order for the sensitive data and attachments within those messages to be secure.

Email Encryption Can Help You Achieve Compliance

As an attorney, you’ll most likely encounter and need to navigate various regulations. Depending on the types of cases your firm specializes in, you may be required to encrypt specific types of information. And if it weren’t already complicated enough, regulations tend to come with a lot of moving parts, and requirements can constantly change.

For example, if your practice assists with any real estate transactions, TILA-RESPA is a regulation you’re likely to run into. 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 the protection of consumer financial information. Even though encryption goes beyond these specific compliance requirements, by using it you are protecting your business not only now, but also moving forward — as regulations continue to change and evolve.

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, and it’s easy for your recipients — no software to install, no portals, no new accounts.

With Virtru’s client-side encryption, only you and your intended recipients can decrypt your messages. No third party service provider, including Virtru, has access to your content.

And with Virtru’s Pro features, you can revoke a secure message at any time, (even after it’s been opened), see and control where messages are forwarded, set expiration dates, see who has read your messages with read receipts and activate PDF watermarking functionality.

Interested in beefing up your law firm data security? Contact us to get started.

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