Mitigating Security Threats on Your Smartphone

Mobile technology has made it easier for attorneys to practice law at any time and from anywhere they choose.  Access to cloud-based computing has rapidly changed the practice of law. While the shift away from a traditional, office environment can provide flexibility and enhance work-life balance, it also raises concerns about data security and client confidentiality. 

In recognition of the changing technology trends, the American Bar Association (ABA) modified its Rule 1.1 in August 2012 to state “…a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology…” in order to competently serve clients.  Attorneys must understand the risks associated with mobile technology and take reasonable steps to mitigate those risks.  Follow the steps below to protect the information stored on your smartphone.

  1. Set passwords – Device passwords are your first line of defense against unauthorized access.Protect your data by setting a screen password that automatically activates after only a few minutes of inactivity. 
  2. Backup your data – Performing regular backups of your smartphone data should be part of your ongoing disaster recovery plan. Sometimes smartphones are stolen, but more often they become casualties of daily life.  Accidents happen and can quickly damage your device beyond repair. Would such an accident be a disaster or a minor inconvenience? It depends on whether or not you regularly back up your contacts and calendar to either a cloud-based application or your computer. 
  3. Only install apps from trusted sources – When you decide to download the latest game app while waiting at the courthouse, remember the old adage “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Many free apps track your device usage for marketing purposes.  Apps from untrusted sources can contain malware that steals information or installs viruses on your device.  Review the privacy policy for any app that you are considering and check online reviews for user feedback and alerts.
  4. Install security apps – These apps allow you to remotely locate and wipe all stored data off your phone, giving you peace of mind that your client information remains under your control even if your smartphone is lost or stolen.

Want to do more to protect your device? The Federal Communications Commission offers a free Smartphone Security Checker tool.  From their site, just select your smartphone’s operating system to view a customized mobile security checklist.

LexisNexis offers several practice management solutions that provide mobile access to your firm’s data through a secure, browser-based application.  No client or case information is ever stored on your mobile device, providing you additional peace of mind.  For more information on our mobile product offerings, please visit www.lexisnexis.com.