The number of cloud computing applications used in law practice is growing. To protect our clients and ourselves, the most secure practice is to create a strong password that is different for each online application and one that is more than six characters long with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Different applications may require variations on those requirements. Most are case sensitive, but some do not allow symbols. To be extra safe, security experts recommend that we change our passwords at least once a month.
How is today’s busy practitioner expected to remember more than a handful of unique and complex passwords?
Keepass is a free, open source password management system and provides the ideal solution. This application not only generates complex passwords, but also provides a way to securely store and maintain them in an encrypted database. If you can remember one strong password to access Keepass, you will be able to access all of your passwords. The application was created to run on Microsoft machines but can also be run on Linux, Mac OS X, and other systems using Mono.
Not only does Keepass help keep track of passwords, but it also allows you to enter the unique usernames for each site and the date upon which you created that account and password. You can organize your different accounts with their passwords into specific folders, such as Internet, email, home banking, network, Windows, etc. Along with entering passwords, you can add specifics such as creation time, last modification time, last access time and expiration time. To access all of your folders and management tools, you only have to remember the single master password. The system will generate strong, unique passwords for each entry you create. Keepass has many other management tools, such as the ability to export and import passwords, but for the basic user it takes a minimal amount of time to go back through all of the current websites and applications where you use a password and make a new entry for that in your own encrypted database with Keepass.
As attorneys we are required to do our best to ensure that we protect the confidentiality of our client’s data and to safeguard their property. If we are going to be using cloud-based solutions to handle law office data, whether it’s logging into our client’s file in a virtual law office or just logging into our Facebook Fan Page, using a secure password generator and management tool like Keepass is a no-brainer.