Podcast #48: Sharon Nelson & John Simek on Law Firm Data Security

On today’s podcast, we ask security experts Sharon Nelson and John Simek things like how hard is it, really, to hack into someone’s email? And what’s the greatest security threat for lawyers? Plus, our favorite posts and podcasts of 2015.

Our Favorite Posts and Podcasts of 2015

We just posted our most-read posts and most-popular discussions of 2015, but today, Sam and Aaron take a moment to highlight some of their favorites, like the best law-firm websites of 2015, our posts about technology competence, and lots of our podcasts.

Law Firm Data Security, with Sharon Nelson and John Simek


Computer security experts Sharon Nelson and John Simek answer Sam’s questions you’ve always wanted to know, like how hard it is, really, to get into your email? What’s the weakest part of your security system? Do you really need to encrypt your email, and how should you go about it? And who is spying on you online, anyway?

Get the answers in today’s show.

Thanks to Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode!

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  1. Enjoyed the podcast as always. However, it was unclear to me how their strong suggestion that lawyers add a geekier email encryption solution to his or her setup would provide much in the way of security that is not already provided by any number of lawyer/client portals like Clio et al. Was this for those who don’t use a portal or is their an argument that it is worth it to use a dedicated email encryption service layered in with MS Outlook and Exchange instead of a normal portal?

    Also, one problem I have with all computer security experts is that they appear to be mostly speaking to BigLaw and treat small and solo practitioners as simply a source for comedy relief. Many of their solutions require Windows and dedicated exchange servers, etc. that many small practitioners simply don’t use. Small practitioner’s computer security issues are pretty different from BigLaw.

    As an example of this I noted during the podcast was that your guests indicated that clients are “demanding” or “expecting” higher levels of security, email encryption, etc. For solos and small firm lawyers who deal with individuals and small businesses as clients, this is generally not the case. In fact it is the opposite. One of the big problems I have with using something like a secure portal is that most clients HATE using client portals. Hate it. Clients’ main computing device is their phone and phones don’t work well with portals for clients. It definitely makes working with clients a great deal harder and this friction, I think, is what causes many lawyers to just not use these types of solutions.

    • Avatar Sam Glover says:

      I don’t think there’s any reason to use encrypted email on top of a secure portal like Clio or MyCase. But I do think it makes sense to force your clients to use a portal or else sign an acknowledgement that everyone from their spouse to their boss to foreign governments are almost certainly intercepting your attorney-client communications and that, knowing this, they are okay with using email for communicating with you.

      But it would be nice if software worked better with phones. When MyCase built its app, it was designed to be used by clients and lawyers. (I think that’s still the case.) I thought that was pretty innovative at the time, but I’m not sure how many lawyers and clients are taking advantage of it.

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