I seem to be on quite the Google kick recently—from Google Docs to extra features in Gmail. As email becomes more and more prevalent, lawyers should continually increase their awareness about potential security risks.
Google just added a security checklist for Gmail users to help them increase their account’s security.
Start with your computer
If you use Gmail through Outlook or Mail, it will only be as secure as your computer. Make sure that your computer has a login and password requirement.
You should also enable automatic software updates if possible, to ensure that your operating system is running the most recent version. Many times, these updates contain upgrades in security against viruses and other nasty programs. Running frequent virus checks is also a good idea. Most programs will allow you to setup this up as a scheduled function—do it.
Is your browser secure?
Some people still use outdated browsers, like Internet Explorer, or just run older versions of browsers that are more susceptible to viruses. Spend ten minutes and make sure you are running a good, secure, browser—try Firefox, Opera, or Safari.
You should also look over any plugins or extensions related to your browser that are allowed to access your Gmail account. If you use Gmail for work, be careful about what is allowed to use it.
Update your Google settings
Changing your password on a regular basis (monthly) is a good idea. You can also check to see what websites are allowed to access your Google Account by following the directions on the checklist.
One of my favorite features for Gmail is that it allows you to see the most recent access to your account. At the bottom of your Gmail screen it says “Last Account Activity.” Click on details and you can see the IP address and location for the last access. If you live in New York and an IP from Arizona is accessing your account, something is not right.