Legal Firms at Risk – Privacy and Security on the Internet

Since Ray Tomlinson sent his first email on a PDP-10 at ARPANET in late 1971, about 3.4 billion people have joined him. Today’s Internet is ubiquitous with over one billion Web sites and more than 150 billion emails exchanged daily. Unfortunately, when Jon Postel responded “nice hack” to Ray, he did not foresee the nightmare hackers would unleash on all of us.

Let us examine just a few realities of the current Internet security landscape:

  • Increasing legislation, regulation, rules, and public pressures that hold businesses accountable for breeches of proprietary and/or confidential information provided by their clients
  • Huge societal concerns trending toward protecting individual privacy and avoiding any industrial espionage
  • An ever-rising threat from increasingly sophisticated hackers, determined and capable of breeching existing security measures
  • Many public and embarrassing instances of data breaches from supposedly secure institutions, including federal, state, and local governments; financial institutions; military services; and small and large firms
  • Increasing recommendations for multiple levels of security

Given these disturbing realities, a simple “Confidentiality Notice” at the bottom of your emails just doesn’t cut it anymore. Private and secure communications over the Internet are reasonable and achievable expectations. Your clients most certainly expect such protection; most of them probably assume it is the case. As a matter of fact, several federal regulations (i.e. HIPAA, GLBA, SOX) and many organizations, including the American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are urging adoption of modern Internet security capabilities to ensure confidentilality and non-disclosure while communicating over the Internet.

By using encryption technology, not only do you protect the privacy and confidentiality of your clients, but you get authentication, non-repudiation, and electronic signatures of documents, emails, video depositions, etc; hence taking care of most of the disturbing realities listed above.

Interestingly, the same encryption technology also can give probative value to your digitized, electronic files. As you know, paperless is the new norm; paper-free companies are already burgeoning. Therefore, it is time for law firms to consider a serious move toward encryption technology and all that it offers to you and your clients. Last but not least, you should not worry about email regulations, standards, and technological trends. SSL, TLS, S/MIME, and the latest recommendations of NIST should be left to your email security provider.

Practically speaking, look for a field-proven and transparent (to your users) email encryption solution that is least disruptive to your present IT infrastructure. While you are at it, inquire about a highly secure intelligent collaborative platform, secure work-sharing of documents, and your ability to sign and give probative value to documents, emails, and archiving.

The security industry is very sensitive to the cost impact on law firms of introducing such technology. It has consciously developed additional functionalities that improve the efficiency of your staff and provide a significant return on your investment as well. I am talking about a WIN-WIN situation: your clients win, and your bottom line wins.



GlobalCerts specializes in leveraging X.509 key certificates for the protection and privacy of electronic communications. We offer a suite of capabilities such as email encryption and signatures, document eSignature, probative value and probative force to paperless agreements. We allow our clients to attain true "paper free" status, to guarantee complete privacy and confidentiality of all communications (email, documents, video depositions, etc.). Click here for more information.

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