How Safe Is Your Laptop or Other Portable Device Housing Confidential Client Data?

Every once in a while I read an article in the news which reminds me to remind all of you about the responsibilities you have to safeguard client data.  Sometimes we forget how much “stuff” may be on digital dictation devices, smartphones, flash drives, laptops, netbooks and other devices, which are prone to disappear.  A recent article in the Philadelphia Business Journal entitled “Laptop Crime Wave at Office Buildings May be Solved” reminded me it’s time to remind you once again.  The  27-year-old suspect has been charged with stealing more than 30 laptops from four Philadelphia business towers since May.  During the day.  Many of the locations housed law firm tenants. 

What happens to your client data if your laptop is stolen?  How about if you lose your smartphone, dictation device, etc.?  Does your laptop have a boot password?  Is the hard drive encrypted?  Can you “wipe” your smartphone remotely? 

With a laptop stolen at the rate of more than one every minute in the USA, these are questions you must be able to answer.  You may find this article entitled “Safeguarding Laptops, Electronic Devices, and Protecting Confidential Client Data” to be a good starting point.  Rule 1.15 [Safeguarding Client Property] requires you to give this some thought, and take reasonable precautions.  Given the vulnerability of these devices, don’t wait to find out the hard way that what is considered reasonable precaution may be far beyond what you currently employ.


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