Public Trust: Stay Away from Open Wifi Networks

In a final season episode of ‘Game of Thrones’, a stray Starbucks cup showed up on a table in a medieval castleThis, among other things, negatively affected Game of Thrones’ critical reception in its last season.  But, that’s nothing compared to the personal hit that your reputation could take if you rely on Starbucks wifi to access confidential client materials online.

At this point, every state has a data security law of some type on the books, and law firm ethics continue to move toward a national consensus of data competency, including with respect to data security management.  Lawyers who have a minimum level of competency respecting technology and its uses in the practice of law are not using free, open wifi networks to access client data.  And, that’s because it’s staggeringly easy for even mildly motivated hackers to gain access to your client information systems.

Of course, as an attorney, you’re not only trying to protect your personal data — you’re also required to secure your clients’ confidential data (of which you are the steward) and your own business data, including financial accounts.  So, while it may not even be possible in the modern world to avoid Starbucks, you can (and should) avoid the Starbucks wireless network.

These are some basic tips on how to protect yourself at the coffee shop.  And, these are some options for using and securing a personal wifi hot spot, including using your smartphone for that purpose.

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If you’re feeling insecure about your law firm data, we can help.

The Wyoming State Bar offers free law practice management consulting services through Red Cave Law Firm Consulting.  To request a consult, visit the Wyoming State Bar’s law practice management page, and start running your law firm like a business.

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