Tech wish list for law firms

It's that time of the year again; you've got your list and you're checking it twice. This holiday season, you may be wondering how you can prepare your law firm for the new year, and we have a collection of tech that will certainly bring joy — or at least, convenience — to the office. Here's a holiday wish list for your firm:

Video Conferencing Tools
Being able to video chat is a valuable tool in your personal life, especially during the holidays, when travel is not always an option. But video also has a place in the office, keeping your law firm in the present day with videoconferencing. This can be used for client meetings, lawyer conferences and out-of-town depositions. Being able to communicate face-to-face, or close to it, can feel more personable. It's important to consider what is most practical for your firm, as there are various tools out there for videoconferencing. The American Bar Association recommends considering the amount of privacy you need on a case-by-case basis, but that unencrypted conversations may not always be sufficient enough. Common tools, like Skype and Google Hangouts, use Voice Over Internet Protocol, which prevents eavesdroppers but doesn't guarantee that providers aren't listening in. Cases involving sensitive information may require end-to-end encryption, which is built into GoToMeeting, another video conferencing tool. Skype for Business offers end-to-end encryption, but it just needs to be enabled. Regardless of what your firm needs, there's a videoconferencing tool out there to satisfy.

Reliable Scanners
As law firms make efforts to become paperless and move toward the route of e-filing, a useful tool is a reliable (but affordable) scanner. The digital route of storing files is not only mandated in certain jurisdictions, but it's also useful for minimizing paper clutter, improving storage space and preventing the security risks associated with unorganized paper files. The Fujitsu Scanscap iX500 is specifically hailed as being a quick and consistent scanner for an affordable price and does about 25 color pages per minute. For larger firms, you can opt for the Fujitsu fi-5530C2, which is capable of 50 color pages per minute.

happy business people celebrating holidays This holiday season you may be wondering how you can prepare your law firm for the new year.

The 2019 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide
You might be thinking the obvious — this is a book and not a piece of technology — but it can be an incredibly important guide in the current technological landscape, and determine all your future investments for the upcoming year. Written in clear and understandable language, it provides a neutral view (no vendors involved) to recommend a wide variety of tech used by law firms. It spans computers, servers, networking equipment, legal software, printers, security products and more. It is a comprehensive guide to law firm technology and can be a great tool when looking to build up a firm's technological infrastructure.

Cloud-Based Technology
As the world becomes more digitally focused, it has become hard for most professions to avoid a shift to cloud-based technology. You may look to start by focusing on a document management system for your firm. iManage, which boasts industry-leading security and seamless document sharing, can assist in eliminating paper waste from your office. If you're considering committing to the cloud for your firm, the Afinety Cloud Platform runs smoothly with iManage, proving a robust system of document management, as well as the benefits of cloud computing — designed specifically with the needs of law firms in mind. While cloud computing may come across as a big shift from traditional IT resources, there are benefits to turning to the cloud. It provides reliability, like data back-up, eliminates many time-consuming IT management chores, like software set-up. Using the cloud, over a single corporate datacenter, can provide smoother performance overall. Afinety is built on Amazon Web Services, which is the largest cloud platform in the world, providing your business with a consistent 99.999% uptime.

You can evaluate your law firm's needs on an individual basis, but consider what tech will be vital for bringing your firm into the future (or the now).

A guide to stronger passwords for lawyers

Cybersecurity and data protection may not be at the forefront of most lawyers' minds, especially with pressing deadlines, evolving laws and ongoing work with clients — but that doesn't mean it should be neglected. Data breaches can have serious consequences, especially when it comes to protecting confidential information at your law firm. According to the Breach Level Index — a database responsible for tracking breach statistics — nearly 5 million data records are lost or stolen every day. With personal client data at risk, taking the necessary precautions can prevent firms against a breach and keep their reputation intact. As having strong passwords can be the initial step in protecting your firm, here are five tips for making sure they are hard-to-crack:

Consider using a password manager
Password managers, like 1Password or LastPass, create unique passwords for all of your accounts. Consumer Reports notes that while there has been growing encouragement across the web to create stronger passwords, there has been no guidance on how to manage them, which means they're often reused for many different accounts. Cybercriminals will exploit these vulnerabilities. With a password manager, all you need is to create one solid, complicated password that'll be used as your master key — once you have that created and memorized, the password manager will do the rest for you.

Long and complicated is best
Hackers are familiar, as are you, with the quick and easy picks for log-in credentials. "Password123" is not a viable password, nor are the names of your children or pets. Despite years of advising against it, variations of the word "password" remain one of the most common picks out there. Out of 130,000 passwords analyzed by cybersecurity company Rapid7, 4,000 of those included the word "password," says Consumer Reports. While unique characters and uppercase letters can be useful for strengthening passwords, length may be the most important aspect of creating a solid line of defense. Once you have a range of 12-15 characters, hackers are much less likely to be able to guess their way in, reports Wired. Avoid simple patterns or pop culture references, and mix it up — or better yet, make up your own phrase and include special characters.

verify password screenHackers are familiar, as are you, with the quick and easy picks for log-in credentials

Recycling is bad for passwords
This is where a password manager can really come in handy. Researchers discovered that 2.2 billion stolen email and passwords had been posted online, aggregated from years of data breaches across various websites. That means that using the same password for your favorite blog and your bank account could put you at serious risk.

Embrace two-factor authentication
With 62% of Americans using two-factor authentication, it's becoming a much more commonplace practice throughout the internet. 2FA often involves entering added verification sent to a smartphone, a one-time code, along with your password. By using the multi-step process, which consists of a proof of knowledge (like a password) and physical proof (like having your phone by your pocket), you'll be ensuring a more trustworthy, secure process that your clients will appreciate, says Law Technology Today.

Change can be a good thing
While updating passwords too frequently can lead to forgetting them — and getting increasingly less creative with adjustments — it is important to remember that the longer a password is used, the more likely it has been deciphered by a hacker. If you hear that a company has had a security breach, one that you've used, change your password (even if you're not sure if it affected your account). Also, if you have accounts that have gone untouched for a while, delete them. This can avoid your log-in credentials getting breached, just because of an old AOL account you had years ago.

In the digital age, it's vital for everyone to do their best to stay a step ahead. Hackers are becoming smarter, which can be risky for your law firm if not properly secured. Start by taking measures to have strong, complicated passwords. However, if you're looking to take it a step further, consider utilizing cloud technology for further data protection. The Afinety Cloud Platform is designed specifically for law firms by law firm experts.

To learn more about moving your network, and the data protection of the cloud, click here.