law firm security – passwords

I’m sure you already know how important firm security is and the ethical considerations imposed by the state bars but if you need a reminder, you should contact someone from the firm Mossack Fonseca – see Panama Papers. Law Firm security is an important, large and complex issue that we will be revisiting frequently. For today, we will focus on just one aspect of security, passwords.[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false”]Passwords[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]Yes, we all hate passwords but for the time being, they are a necessary evil and apply to all aspects of your life, not just your law firm. They need to be long, not contain personally identifying information and usually consist of letters (mix of upper and lowercase), numbers and symbols. You should have a unique password for each application or website you use and you should change them at least once every six months.

Raise your hand if you follow these best practices. Beuller… Beuller… Based on the crickets I’m hearing, I’m guessing you’re not raising your hand.[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false”]Password Manager[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]This is where password managers come in. The features most programs offer allow you to more easily implement password security best practices.

You’ll want one that can generate its own passwords, be used across devices and platforms and store all of its information in an encrypted format. Fortunately, there are many programs available that do exactly that.

If you search for comparisons of password managers, you might come across PCMagazine’s favorites, Dashlane and LastPass. Lifehacker’s top 5 are LastPass, Dashlane, KeePass, 1Password and RoboForm. I happen to use 1Password and have used it for many years now on all of my Apple devices.

Features like browser plugins and integration with smartphones make them a lot less painful to use than you might think. And speaking of browsers, many offer to store your passwords for you but that won’t do you a lot of good when you need to enter your username and password into an computer or smartphone app.

No matter which password manager you choose, I implore you to start now!

In future posts, I’ll review some password manager platforms, beginning with the one I use, 1Password. If you can’t wait until then, feel free to contact me with your questions.

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