For lawyers in small or solo practices, the differences between their own technological infrastructure and that of elite firms can seem daunting. Is it possible to compete with a big firm’s inventory of the newest and fastest technology, as well as their full-scale IT department dedicated to running it all? The answer is yes. Here’s what your practice needs in terms of IT.
Keeping Data Safe
Whether you’re complying with Texas’s HB 303 adaptions to HIPAA, or ABA Rule 1.6, or simply protecting attorney-client privileged information, lawyers are constantly burdened with the task of securing troves of confidential data. If locking the file cabinet and office door are considered enough protection for physical documents, what is enough for digital documents and files? The answer is a balance of security and ease of use.
You need security. It’s often required by legal ethics rules and state laws, but it’s also an investment that could protect you from malpractice lawsuits, loss of clients, ransomware attacks, and more. Encrypting your email traffic and local storage is the first step, and that can be done with Windows’ included BitLocker software and Google’s Gmail service. The second step is requiring your employees to use long, alphanumeric, and unique passwords as a preventive measure against unauthorized access. Last, restrict access to your networks as much as possible by creating an IoT network for your office’s noncritical devices, creating guest networks, and limiting privileges for employees who don’t need full access.
You also need ease of use. Slow, inefficient access to data impacts the limited amount of time you have to dedicate to your clients. Security doesn’t necessarily mean completely limiting mobile access. With proper two-factor authentication, or a secondary login requirement that requires a user to confirm a login attempt, your network and its services can be used from nonsecure devices like cellphones and personal laptops. Also, firm management software like Clio or Practice Panther can help with the business and financial aspects of your practice and also serve your IT needs through activity tracking, enforced password policies, cloud-based security, and more.
AV Equipment Is Critical
A basic inventory of audio and video equipment for daily use will include a business-class computer, a studio-quality microphone, and a high-definition webcam for making calls to clients and other attorneys. In today’s market, one of the best ways to advertise your small or solo practice is to create and share digital content. Such marketing efforts may require additional studio microphones, a high-quality camera, well-lit studio space, and a proper recording computer for producing forms of media like interviews, headshots, podcasts, and informational videos. Trustworthy brands include Logitech, AudioTechnica, and Blue.
If you lack experience creating content, or would prefer not to invest in production equipment, you can always use The Legal Café. We have an in-house video and photography studio, equipped with professional lighting, top of the line gear, and a gorgeous backdrop of Main Street Fort Worth. Our content team and attorney-services specialists can help you produce live streams, record podcasts, create short introductory videos, and much more.
Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource
Firms of all sizes outsource IT requirements, as it can save time and money when it comes to more complicated tasks. Setting up a Google Suite account and encrypting a drive can be straightforward, but you might need assistance to establish networks, teach employees how to communicate confidentiality, or track suspicious activity. Such things typically require training beyond the scope of what a smaller firm can handle.