Keeping Your Cloud Secure
The cloud has made data transfer a much simpler, faster and automated process, but with the luxury of these benefits comes a risk. With so much data flowing through so many various channels, vulnerabilities do exist that, if exploited, can lead to information theft and data loss. As lawyers, our clients' information security depends on how well we can protect their confidentiality. Security has never been as important as it is now, in a time when many lawyers have turned to cloud apps and services to perform many legal duties. While cloud apps do have very strict security measures implemented to protect the data of clients, it is still nearly impossible to protect against human error, which is still the leading cause of data loss in the cloud.
As we mentioned above, human error is the leading cause of data loss. Accidental deletions or overwriting are the usual mistakes that result in data loss. While many cloud services have restoration features, many of them expire after a specific length of time, usually about 30 days. So if a file gets accidentally deleted and isn't noticed for 30 days, it can result in important data being lost forever.
Malicious deletion by hackers or disgruntled employees can result in practically the same scenario with the same result. Other causes of data loss can include loss of access to cloud account, either by hacking or wrongful accusations of ToS violations.
Protecting data should be at the top of the list of cloud concerns for lawyers. Cloud apps bring flexibility, easy accessibility and high availability of data, but the risk of data loss due to human error or other factors is always there. That's where cloudHQ steps in and equalizes the risk. The cloudHQ service provides real-time, automated backup of cloud data so that even if human error or other factors cause data loss, your data remains protected in a completely separate account. Restoration is quick and simple, and can prevent negative outcomes to cases due to an incident of data loss.
Mobile Location: Handy Feature Or Security Risk?
I'm sure if you use social media, at some point you have seen a popup window or a settings option to share your location. Sometimes webpages will also ask if they can use your location when you visit certain websites. Usually the location information that is asked for on social media sites is location information to be used in photos, events, check-ins, etc. If you haven't changed your location settings, your location can be pinpointed to within a few feet.
As an example, let's say you take a photo with your smartphone and send it to your friend, upload it online or post it to a social media site. Anyone that has access to that file can simply download it and, if they are using Windows, right-click on the file and click on "Properties." Under the "Details" tab, there will be an option for Latitude and Longitude. These coordinates can be entered into Google Maps, which will then give them an exact location and possibly even a street view of the property if you are at a house or other building with an address. Coordinates can also be entered directly into a GPS unit, which can lead someone directly to where that photo was taken. Doesn't sound like a feature you want? Just go into your mobile device settings and disable the location settings on your camera. If you have kids, you should most definitely disable this feature on their phones to prevent pedophiles or other criminals from being able to easily access the location of the children.
You may think there's not much you can do with an IP address, but you may just be surprised. There are several methods through which you can easily find your IP address including accessing your router settings, but the easiest way to find it is through a website such as http://www.whatismyip.com/
. Now that you have that information, you can simply look it up using http://www.whatismyip.com/ip-tools/ip-address-lookup/
, or you can go to an IP fraud prevention website such as http://www.maxmind.com/
and enter the IP address. These sites will return information such as coordinates, zip code, cable provider name, and an approximate location. And of course the coordinates can be entered into Google Maps for a camera street view, printable directions, etc.
To ensure that you don't inadvertently give out location data, be sure all mobile location options are disabled. When posting on social networks, be sure you haven't given them permission to use your location in your posts. If you aren't sure or can't find the settings, you should at least disable your GPS and WiFi when you post to social networks or online forums to prevent your location from being broadcast to everyone that reads it. When you see a popup window that asks to use your location settings, deny the access. The threat is real- mobile location threat is ranked as the #3 threat of 2013 so far in a PCWorld study titled The 5 biggest online privacy threats of 2013
If you are worried about the use of location data in your law firm, you should check out this informative article for tips on how to prevent the threat from affecting your company: Mitigating security risks of mobile location-based services technology
How To Back Up Your Gmail For Lawyers
Gmail, Google's free email service, is one of the most popular free email services among lawyers. Google has implemented excellent security features including string SSL encryption and two-step authentication. And because it is a cloud email service, it is available anywhere internet is available, making it extremely accessible and highly available. But there are some issues of data loss and account access loss that have given the popular email service a few black marks. In this article, we will give you some examples of Gmail data loss or account access loss and how they could have easily been avoided.
There are a variety of reasons why users need to back up their Gmail account. There have been many horror stories of users that have been wrongfully accused of ToS violations and lost access to their accounts. In many cases, even when the accounts were restored (after major delays), data remained unrecoverable. Others lost their accounts due to issues with Google Plus
, which also resulted in the loss of access to ALL Google services. Other users have just seen their data vanish for seemingly no reason
, resulting in years of data lost. And as the number of data loss and account loss issues
have increased over recent years, Google has done little to satisfy customer complaints. As Google offers virtually no customer support, many users are just out of luck. Once your account is disabled
, you lose access to all data you have stored on Google servers and even if you get it back, it can take long periods of time before Google rules in your favor. During these delays, you will have no access to your data.
One of the most recent bugs is an image insertion bug
that results in user accounts being suspended for at least 24 hours, locking users' data away from them during this period. As many lawyers use email on a consistent basis, a 24+ hour delay is simply not acceptable and can cause major disruption in the law firm. Other disruptions in the Gmail service may be caused by power outages
, as well as network and server failures
. There have even been instances where millions of Gmail users woke up to find their accounts completely wiped out
Other data loss and account loss instances are due to hacked authentication and accounts
So now you are ready to give up on Gmail forever, right? Well, you shouldn't be. Truth is- these exact types of actions happen in every email service, and even with all of these horror stories, Gmail is actually one of the most secure and best email services out there. There is no email service that can claim to be 100% foolproof, as hackers have become increasingly more sophisticated and human error is still the leading cause of data loss. But there is one service that can say it's almost perfect, and it can even prevent data loss caused by human error.
As terrible as some of the above incidents sound, there is actually no reason to fear data loss from Gmail or any other Google service if you are prepared and have cloudHQ
watching your back.
The cloudHQ service works by providing round-the-clock protection from data loss, as it replicates all data automatically and in real-time from Gmail to a backup cloud account. This backup cloud account is not connected to the main law firm Gmail account in any way other than cloudHQ. All authentication and accessibility is completely different from the Gmail account.
All new emails are automatically backed up to the backup cloud account. All attachments are organized and saved in folders. All emails are saved using the same organization and structure that you use in Gmail, so that you can find your emails and attachments quickly. Check out the informative video below to see how easy and effective it is to set up cloudHQ to back up and protect your Gmail account.
Hopefully you will never experience any of the horror stories described in this article. But if you do- wouldn't you rather be the Gmail user that can quickly restore access to all files within minutes, or would you rather be the Gmail user that has no access to any of your files while you try to deal with nonexistent customer support from Google? The choice should be easy. Be prepared. Once the data is gone, it's too late to get it back. Your protection is waiting- cloudHQ.
The Threat Of Malicious Mobile Apps To Lawyers
Online threats are nothing new to lawyers; they face them on a daily basis. But there is one threat that many lawyers do not even think about- malicious mobile apps. As many lawyers make their move to the cloud, and begin to work remotely, they start depending more and more on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and the apps that they depend on. But many of these apps, especially the free apps, contain malicious code or software that can steal information or cause damage to the mobile device.
A recent study performed by Webroot
, found that in 2012, mobile malware families increased 58% and accounted for 59% of all mobile malware. It also found that 32% of mobile malware apps steal information, 15% track the movements of users, 13% send content and 8% reconfigure the mobile device.
These numbers are pretty bad, but as if they aren't bad enough, the problem is far greater due to the high number of attacks that go unreported or undiscovered.
A recent study
shows that in 74% of malicious mobile app attacks, the IT department is not even notified when a mobile device has been rooted. In many cases, mobile users are unaware that malicious mobile apps are stealing their information and using it for their own personal gain.
A large amount (about 32% reported) of malicious mobile apps is developed to steal a user's information and use it to gain access to accounts or for personal gain. If the users gain access to your cloud account, they will attempt to steal information and use it, but if there is no useful information that can help them (financially or otherwise), the attackers may just delete files out of spite. If there is information they can use, they will probably delete all the files in the account in order to cover their tracks anyways.
There are other costly incidents besides the actions of attackers. Sometimes the malicious mobile apps are programmed to cause destruction to the mobile device. This can cause corruption and deletion of files. If you have your mobile device synced to a cloud service online (for example, Dropbox app to Dropbox online account), if corruption occurs and files are deleted from the cloud account, it will sync with the online cloud account and the files will be deleted. Without a cloud backup system in place, the files may very well be unrecoverable.
Real estate agents deal with many sensitive and confidential documents, and some of these documents are irreplaceable or at the very least can cause major setbacks, loss of time and money.
Enter cloud backup. With a solid cloud backup system such as cloudHQ, data loss from malicious mobile apps becomes a very distant possibility.
But if the unthinkable happens, and you download a malicious mobile app without knowing it, data loss can happen. And if it happens, you can either be prepared, or you will be wishing you had been prepared. The cloudHQ service provides synchronization and replication of data from one cloud service to another. If data loss occurs, restoration of files is a quick and painless procedure that will only take minutes and can prevent any business disruption and costly time. The cloudHQ service works by providing a complete secondary copy of your data on a completely separate cloud account from your main cloud account. This account has completely separate authentication measures from your main cloud account so that no attacker or malicious software will be able to access your secondary cloud account from the mobile device or from your main cloud account.
You don't want to be the real estate agent that suffers a data loss incident and wishes that they had cloud backup BEFORE it happens. I'm sure you would much rather be the real estate agent who was fully prepared with a competent cloud backup system such as cloudHQ. Be prepared with cloudHQ and restoration will only take minutes. Be unprepared and restoration may not ever be possible. Don't let malicious mobile apps be the downfall of your real estate business.
Top 3 Myths Lawyers Have About The Cloud
With cloud trends exploding in recent years, the legal profession has been slow to adapt the technology. Much of this caused by concerns about security, cost-effectiveness and data loss. But much of the "news" about these concerns has been nothing but hype and sensationalism. When the facts are put to the test, the truth paints a much different picture than that of many of the articles available on the web today. In this article, we will take a quick look at the three most common myths that lawyers may be concerned about.
Many lawyers have had concerns about the cost of the cloud, as many reports seemed to infer that the cloud was more expensive than on-premise solutions. But this is simply not true. The low cost of cloud storage, about $0.10 USD per GB is actually far less than on-premise storage solutions
and maintenance/upkeep on all that expensive hardware and IT staff.
Data loss is a concern for anyone who uses the internet for business. It is the one threat that is impossible to completely protect against, although there are a number of backup solutions that can prevent data loss from occurring. However, as human error is still the leading cause of data loss
, unfortunate and costly incidents will continue to happen. To protect your individual data or company accounts, you should consider a third-party cloud backup solution such as cloudHQ, which can virtually eliminate all chances of data loss for individuals, small businesses, and large enterprises.
How To Integrate Google Drive And Dropbox
As lawyers, access to document creation and editing software is critical. Google Drive is the choice of many and there are several reasons why. As a cloud service, Google Drive provides anytime access to the powerful document management suite of tools from Google Docs. As more lawyers are now working remotely, it is especially important that documents can be created and edited on the fly. Google Drive provides the perfect solution for lawyers that need to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more.
Google Drive provides some of the best collaboration features available in the cloud. Up to 50 users can simultaneously collaborate over a single file. This makes it simple to go over documents or case files with clients, legal aides or other lawyers, even when they aren't anywhere in the neighborhood.
Google Drive has many features, but there are some downsides. Google Drive has a file size limit, so sharing files can sometimes be more time-consuming and difficult because files must be split up into multiple sections. But because Dropbox has no file size limits, files of any size can simply be dropped into a shared folder and they will instantly upload to anyone who has access to that folder.
First step- you sign up for cloudHQ, you can even get a 15 day free trial here
. Once you have successfully become a member of cloudHQ, you can create a synchronization pair by visiting the sync wizard here
. You will see a page with two boxes and a lot of cloud app icons below them. These are all apps that you can use to create sync pairs, but for now we will just focus on two of them- Google Drive and Dropbox.
Drag the Google Drive icon to the box on the left. Now you will be taken to a page where you will be asked to link your Google Drive account and choose which folders you want replicated. You can choose to have your entire Google Drive account replicated or choose specific folders. Once you have made your choices, you will be returned to the cloudHQ sync wizard. Now drag the Dropbox icon to the box on the right and you will be asked to link your Dropbox folder and choose which folder to export your files to. On the settings page you can choose two-way sync between Google Drive and Dropbox or you can choose one-way sync from Google Drive to Dropbox. By choosing the one-way sync, you can prevent any files in Google Drive being deleted if you accidentally delete important files in Dropbox.
Once you have successfully set up your sync pair, cloudHQ will start replicating all data from the folders you specified. The cloudHQ service runs in the background completely invisible to the user, so there is no disruption as the user works. All new files added to the Google Drive folder will be instantly replicated to Dropbox. Any revisions to existing files in the Google Drive folder will be instantly replicated to the Dropbox folder. CloudHQ is the perfect solution that binds the cloud together.
Cloud Disaster Recovery For Lawyers
Disasters happen every day and they never wait until you are fully prepared or expecting them. The Boy Scouts' motto is "Be prepared," and this motto applies to any company or individual user that stores data in the cloud. For lawyers, being prepared is critical as lawyers deal with sensitive information on a daily basis. Confidential client data must be protected as ethics requirements specify.
As noted above, disaster can strike at any time. Natural disasters such as fire, flood, hurricane or tornadoes can wipe out an on-premise data storage solution. This in itself is enough of a reason to migrate to the cloud. Cloud servers are usually located in multiple locations so even if a natural disaster wipes out one server, the data is still safe in another. If you keep paper copies of all your important files in your office and a water or flood ruins them, it can be disastrous as the outcome of many cases depend on the information contained in these files. Other files, such as legal documents, contracts, billing records and client information will all have to be gathered and organized again. This can cost a law firm a large amount of time, and as we all know, time is money.
So now you moved all your data to the cloud and don't have to worry about fire or floods destroying your files. Great! But that's just the first step. Can disasters happen in the cloud? Yes, they can. But the good news is that you can be completely prepared to safeguard your data with virtually no chance of losing data, no matter what the disaster may be. But what are the disasters in the cloud?
- Human error/accidental deletion: Human error is the number one leading cause of data loss in the cloud. Accidental deletion by users that have access to the account make up the main bulk of this loss. Other disasters can be attributed to accidental overwriting or misplacement.
- Hacking/malicious deletion: Hacked accounts can result in deleted files. Often, hackers will look for information that they can use for their gain. If they are unable to find any information they can use, they may just delete files out of spite. Other times, they may delete all the data in order to cover their tracks.
- Revenge deletion: Recently fired employees that haven't had their access to company accounts revoked yet may log in to the company account and delete files in revenge. If an employee has recently been disciplined, he may log in and delete data in revenge, but try to make it look like a hacking job from outside the company. Either way, the results are data loss.
- Loss of account access: If you lose access to your company cloud account, this can cause major problems, especially if you need to be in court and cannot access the data in the account. Cloud providers have automated systems that sometimes wrongfully accuse users of violating the ToS. This can cause an account to be deleted and sometimes the data is unrecoverable. Even if it is recoverable, recovery can take weeks.
The solution is simple- a cloud backup service such as cloudHQ can solve every one of the problems listed above. No matter what kind of disaster may befall your company cloud account, cloudHQ will always maintain a secondary copy of your data in a completely separate cloud account. This cloud account should have no affiliation with the company whatsoever, and all authentication measures should be completely different from any authentication of all company accounts. So if a disaster strikes, you will be completely prepared. The disaster recovery process is simple and can be completed within minutes. This saves the law firm time and money that would otherwise be lost if there was no cloud backup plan in place.
How To Store Data On Dropbox And Box Simultaneously
Dropbox and Box are two of the most commonly-used cloud storage providers among law firms everywhere. Many lawyers use Box storage because of security and ethics requirements, and Box is both HIPAA and HITECH compliant. Dropbox has strict security as well, and while it can be used in a manner that is HIPAA compliant, it is not HIPAA certified. Still, because of the extremely beneficial sharing and storage features, lawyers continue to use both Dropbox and Box. It should be noted that Dropbox uses SSL encryption during file transfer and strong AES-256 bit encryption during file storage while Box uses access and permissions control to ensure that only the intended recipient is able to access the file in any readable format.
Lawyers that store data in the cloud have found a new level of accessibility. The data can be accessed from their home computer, office computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. However, what if something happens to the cloud account servers? If they go offline for maintenance or DDoS attack while you are in court or an important meeting, this could be trouble. But if you have a backup on the other cloud server, odds are very much against both cloud services being down at the same time. So you can just switch to the other account and continue your presentation.
Lawyers deal with confidential client data and sensitive firm data on a daily basis. Much of this information is essential to the outcome of cases and if you store contracts and other legal documents, it can be disastrous if data loss were to wipe out some or all of these files. If a hacker is able to gain unauthorized access to your cloud account, he may just delete random files for the fun of it. He could wipe out the entire account. If you have a legal aide or other employee that you recently had to fire or discipline, and they have access to the cloud account, they could decide to get revenge by deleting files and documents.
Some clients have been wrongly accused of violating the cloud service's ToS. Sometimes the data has even been unrecoverable. Even if the account is restored, it can take days or weeks. During this time you will not have access to your data. But if you have a secondary copy of your data in a backup account, you can simply switch to that account and continue working uninterrupted until the issues with the main account are worked out.
Replicating your data from Box to Dropbox (and vice-versa) is a simple task with cloudHQ. The cloudHQ service runs in the background and automatically backs up your work as it's performed. So if you have a main cloud account on Box and a backup cloud account on Dropbox, your files will be automatically replicated as they are added. All new files you add to the shared folder in Box will instantly appear in Dropbox. Any revisions to existing files in Box will instantly be replicated to Dropbox. If you choose to have the replication two-way, any changes made in Dropbox will replicate in Box and any changes made in Box will replicate to Dropbox. However, if you are using the secondary cloud service as a backup in case an incident occurs, this is not recommended.
Once you have the replication set up through cloudHQ, disaster can strike and you will be completely protected from any data loss because you have a complete secondary copy of all of your files and documents. Restoration is quick so there is minimal interruption even if all of your data gets completely wiped out.
Top 3 Apps To Keep Lawyers Organized
In the fast-paced, frenetic legal world, disorganization can be extremely detrimental to productivity and efficiency. We decided to check with some lawyers and find out what the best apps are that lawyers are using in order to keep everything in the practice organized.
is a project management tool, and while it's not free any more, it's still the best project management service available. For ultimate case management, Basecamp can handle every aspect of a case including document management, file storage, calendar, to-do lists and other checklists, messaging services with other lawyers, clients or legal sources, and much more. And the best part- it's all contained on a single page, where every post or entry can have comments added by anyone involved in the project (or case).
seems like such as simple note-taking tool, but it can actually handle some of the toughest organizational tasks you can throw at it. Users can create notes, to-do lists, checklists, photos, audio clips and more, and can set reminders so that nothing is overlooked or forgotten. All case documents can be stored in Evernote, and can even be synced to other cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drove, Box, etc
. By using cloudHQ
to sync files from Evernote, users can even export all Evernote notes in PDF format, which is extremely useful considering that Evernote does not currently offer this feature.
is the ultimate solution for cloud document management. You can create, revise, store and share legal documents directly from Google Drive. By using signing apps such as Docusign
, users can even have clients or other legal sources legally sign the documents. With integration with many Google apps and services, users can use this powerful suite of document management tools to easily manage any case that comes their way.
Should Lawyers Be Concerned About Information Security In The Cloud?
Information security in the cloud is a concern for many CIOs, small business owners and even individuals who frequently deal with confidential information or sensitive data. Lawyers are constantly dealing with sensitive data and confidential client information, case information, legal documents, and much more, so information security in the cloud is of special concern to them. The cloud offers many benefits including reduced costs for storage, the ability to work remotely from various locations, increased time-efficiency, accessibility, flexibility, scalability and much more. Because of this, many lawyers are eager to continue to use cloud services to perform legal tasks. But security concerns are valid if the cloud is not properly secured, or if proper security protocols and procedures are not followed.
Many cloud services come with already loaded with security features such as secure SSL for files during transfer and high-strength encryption during storage. There are third-party cloud encryption services to allow users even more control over the security of their files and data in the cloud. Most of these services only allow the encrypted files to be read by a user that has the app or program installed on their computer or device. This means that if a hacker or other unauthorized user that finds a way to access the files will be unable to access them in any readable format.
There are cloud services specifically designed to give users the best information security in the cloud possible. But in case of a security breach, another disaster can happen- data loss in the cloud. If a hacker or other unauthorized user is able to access your cloud account, they will unlikely be able to read any of your documents if you have them encrypted. But they could just get upset and delete the files, which could result in disaster for your law firm. Many important documents and case files could instantly vanish within seconds. Many of these files could be irreplaceable, and even if they are able to be replaced, it could take a lengthy amount of time. And, as we all know, time is money. The outcome of many cases could even be affected by a single instance of data loss.
There are cloud services specifically designed to prevent data loss in the cloud. At the top of the list you will find cloudHQ. The cloudHQ service provides automated replication in real-time from one cloud account or service to another. The secondary cloud account will not have the same authentication as any other accounts belonging to the firm. For an example, let's say you use Dropbox as your main cloud storage for your firm. You can create another Dropbox account to use as your backup account, or you can use another cloud service such as Box, Google Drive, SkyDrive or others. Using cloudHQ, you create sync between the two cloud accounts. Any new files that are created or stored in the main cloud account are instantly replicated to the secondary account. Any revisions to existing files in the main cloud account are instantly replicated to the secondary account. This way, if you experience any form of data loss in the cloud account, a complete backup of all your data will remain securely stored in the secondary account. CloudHQ is the ultimate solution to prevent data loss in the cloud.