The Potential Volatility of Mobile Adoption within Law Offices

The American Bar Association (ABA) promotes the use of digital delivery to meet and maintain service expectations. This is due in part to a shift away from working in-office. The ABA’s 2016 TechReport survey found that over three-quarters of lawyers do work from home, over one-third while traveling, over one quarter remotely, and just one out of five at the courtrooms.

A whopping 27% of lawyers use their smartphone for work outside the office. Legal professionals were early adopters of mobile technology due in part to the release of the Blackberry. Yet, lawyers are stereotypically stubborn when it comes to the use of technology in their day-to-day needs.

This is changing.

With it comes a possible volatility in the privacy between attorney and client relations. Only 43% of lawyers surveyed in this report claim they have a mobile policy in place at their firm.

The security measures have a dire need. This need will increase through the widespread adoption of newer technologies and mobile operations.

The ABA have identified potential risks as:

·  Inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure

·  Metadata

·  The use of email from employer’s browser

·  Privacy with email

·  Confidentiality with online chat and social media

These concerns are found on common technology platforms and applications. Proactive solutions and policies have been introduced for many large and solo firms. These include:

Mobile & WiFi

Client information downloaded to a smartphone creates an ease of access for mobile work. The data stored on the phone is at risk due to connection to public WiFi, theft, and user faults.

The use of VPN services is becoming commonplace due to PPTP and SSL encryption to create a safe funnel of information across networks. These VPNs create anonymity which could improve the attorney-client privilege from eavesdropping by third-parties.

Encryption

Email, the default communication tool for legal professionals, receives just 26% encryption from those surveyed in the report. Though, this is rapidly changing due to encryption added by Google and Yahoo in their email services. Another option is through online email portals within the firm’s secured server.

Full drive encryption is on the rise though remains lacking. Smartphone encryption is abysmal at just 16% of respondents reporting its usage.

Disaster Recovery

Stubbornness (or a lack of understanding) has only 38% of surveyed attorneys claiming to have disaster recovery plans and protocols. An overwhelming majority “don’t know” if they’ve experienced hard drive failures. While 13% have experienced a man-made or natural disaster.

The ABA recommends the use of cloud storage and local backups to secure data and provide access to important legal documents from within the applications/services.

Applications

The line blurs between the work and personal device. Sensitive information is transferred. Most legal professionals use their smartphones for personal use which has consequences when blindly installing applications from the marketplaces (or through an SDK).

If a firm allows BYOD it must dictate a policy outside the work hours. This includes a vetting of applications, services, and websites the individual may access. This will prevent potential phishing and malware.

Access Control

Password protection is a fortunate winner in mobile security among legal professionals. 95% of surveyed individuals responded the use of password usage and biometrics. 98% use passwords for desktops.

Password management services, such as LastPass or DashLane, could see a boom as professionals shift between their tech resources. These services use encrypted databases to improve access control. This adoption would greatly improve tech/privacy and BYOD policies.

Early Adopters, Late Practitioners

An amendment to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct has made it clear to increase competency with a lawyer’s ability to use technology. This set of guidelines has been adopted by dozens of states to maintain a practice of continual education in technology and legal requirements.

Fortunately, 81.4% of those surveyed in the ABA’s TechReport indicated this training to be “very important” though a shocking 18.9% say “not at all important”. These numbers will change due to the availability of training, competition, and competence.

Legal professionals may be early adopters to the use of mobile technologies but they’re certainly late practitioners of using the tools effectively. Though, this will change in time.

6 Ways to Reduce Monthly Costs

Financial concerns are unfortunately common among people of all ages. Many people live paycheck to paycheck, and they have minimal savings to pay for emergency expenses. Others are living in the red, relying on credit cards to fund their lifestyle, and charging up huge outstanding balances. These types of financial experiences can result in high debt levels, low savings levels, considerable financial risk and unnecessary stress. If you are looking for a way to turn things around, you can start by lowering your monthly expenses. By implementing these important tips fully, you may be able to drastically reduce your monthly expenses.

 

Shop Intelligently

Many people have expensive shopping habits that are unfortunately wasting a lot of money. For example, you may run to the store to make impulse buys frequently. In most cases, you may purchase item that are seldom or rarely ever used, and you may also pay more for the item than you would if you had waited for a sale or coupon to be available. When possible, always sit on a purchase for a few days to ensure the item is needed. Then, explore more affordable options to by the necessary item, such as by using coupon codes or waiting for a sale.

 

Make Money from a Secondary Job

There are many side jobs you can do that will make you additional money. You have online investing sites where you can invest as aggressively or as conservatively as you want. You can donate plasma or blood and make $40 dollars a week. You could become a Lipsense distributor and sell lipstick to your friends and family. You could even work from home as a customer service rep and set your hours for after your primary job.

 

Focus on Food Expenses

The cost of food can be a true concern in many homes. You may stress out about how high your grocery bill is, and you can easily make a few changes to improve your budget in this area. First, avoid going out to eat except for very special occasions. You can usually buy several days’ worth of meals for the amount of money you will spend on a single restaurant meal. In addition, shop for your groceries with coupons, and always look for special offers in stores. Shopping with a grocery list can also help you to avoid making impulsive buying decisions.

 

Choose More Affordable Housing

Your housing expense is largely comprised of your monthly rent or mortgage payment. It may also include your property taxes and insurance amount as well as utilities, commuting cost, HOA dues, maintenance needs and more. A larger and more expensive home generally is more expensive in each of these areas. Choosing to live in a smaller home can help you to save money in each of these areas. Explore affordable housing options in your area, and make the decision to downsize for financial savings.

 

Pay Down Credit Card Debt

Credit cards may seem like a lifesaver when you have unexpected expenses and no other way to pay for them. They allow you to put your expenses out of mind to deal with at a later date. However, while you take your time paying down balances, your balance is accruing interest. In fact, you may be paying ten to 20 percent or more in interest charges on your debt each month. By paying down credit card debt, you can reduce the amount of interest you pay to creditors each month. Reducing debt can also improve your credit rating, and this means that you may qualify for more affordable financing in the future.

 

Shop for Lower Insurance Premiums

Insurance is another area of concern for many homeowners. You may pay premiums for various types of coverage, including health, life, auto and property coverage, to name a few. Insurance companies can change rates over time, so the best idea is to compare insurance quotes for your different types of coverage on an annual basis. In some cases, you can identify financial savings that you can begin enjoying immediately.
As you can see, there are several significant steps that you can take to reduce overhead on a regular basis. By doing so, you may free up a substantial amount of money that could be used for savings or debt reduction, and both of these options could ultimately improve your financial health over time. Analyze your budget today to determine the best strategies that you can use to reduce overhead.