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From the Law Society

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Protecting your important information

“Information is everything.” This is how Law Society journalist James Greenland begins the feature on cyber security in this issue of LawTalk.

James was quoting from a statement United States President Bill Clinton made in the 1990s.

One thing is certain, and that is how radically information technology has changed in the last few decades. We have moved from telephones with dials, linked in a network by actual physical cables, to vastly different technology for our landlines. And we can add to that our cell phones and the networks they use to connect. We have moved from letters and telegrams being our main form of communication through faxes to emails. And we now have computers.

The movement in technology has been far reaching. It’s hard to believe that less than 20 years ago, Richard Susskind’s prediction that email would soon become the most common method lawyers used to communicate with clients led to howls of outrage from the United Kingdom’s legal community. His 1996 prediction saw him accused of bringing the profession into disrepute.

Email communication is now commonplace among lawyers. Some are still sending faxes, but the numbers are steadily reducing.

With information technology becoming so integral to practice in the 21st century, it is important for lawyers to keep up to date.

This is particularly the case when it comes to security. It’s as simple as this really. No lawyer who is the last to leave their workplace in the evening would dream of leaving the premises unlocked, so anyone could walk in, view client files for example, or make any other mischief. The same applies to security around information technology. It is a must.

Given that, it is important that we learn as much as we can about cyber security. How do we protect ourselves? What is the equivalent of locking the office when we leave for the day or for the weekend? What do we put in place to mitigate the risks?

This issue of LawTalk looks at those questions and also provides some practical pointers about what you can do. It looks at security measures that can be put in place, the importance of planning and also what to do in case there has been some sort of breach.

These issues are as important to the practice of law as keeping up to date with developments in your practice area or areas.

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