Basic iPad Security for Lawyers

So you love your iPad and want to use it in your law practice.  That likely means using it to store and communicate confidential client information.  You may also be accessing your firm’s internal and cloud based systems.  It is also quite possible that unlike your traditional work desktop/laptop, you may be tempted to share this repository of client secrets with your spouse, children or friends—because after all, the iPad is first and foremost a super cool entertainment machine—right?

STOP!  LOOK!  LISTEN!

If you want to use the iPad as a law practice tool and you value your license, clients and firm, then some basic security precautions are mandated:

  • Set a strong passcode. See  http://hytechlawyer.com/?p=316   In my opinion, it is malpractice to not have the passcode feature activated if confidential client information is on your device.  The default 4 digit code feature is inadequate if you are going to use the iPad out of the office (which of course you are).  Set a strong passcode! 
  • Activate the free “Find My iPad” and “Remote Wipe” features.  Apple has provides free access to its Mobile Me system to enable you to find your iPad (its location will be displayed on a map) if it is lost, and the ability to remotely wipe all of the data from the device. For more information and set-up instructions see: http://www.apple.com/ipad/built-in-apps/find-my-ipad.html 
  • Set a time for your iPad to lock up if not used   In “Settings” choose “General” and then select the “Auto-Lock” feature.  Pick a time limit.  The shorter the better.  This feature protects your client data if the iPad is not used for the specified period of time.
  • Set Your iPad to Auto-Wipe after Ten Failed Password Attempts.  Your device can be set to Auto-Wipe all data after 10 failed password attempts.  To access this feature in settings choose “Passcode Lock” and you will be prompted for your Passcode.  After entering the Code, turn “Erase Data” on.  REGURLARLY BACK UP YOUR DATA ON iTUNES IN CASE YOUR iPAD IS LOST OR DAMAGED. http://www.ipad-transfer.com/resource/how-to-backup-ipad-data-on-itunes-for-free.html
  • Individually Password  Protect Client Information If You “Must” Share Your iPad with Others.   If you are going to allow your spouse, significant other, children, friends, random strangers or others to “play” with your “work” iPad  (BAD IDEA!), then at a minimum secure confidential client information with an Application password.  Many applications have their own password feature that will protect data in that application. For example:  GoodReader, MobileNoter, and Readdle.  Just keep in mind that letting someone use your iPad without protecting your confidential client information is like handing someone a brief case of client documents so that they can retrieve the magazine among the client papers.
  • When Using an Application with Client Information Always Ask the Question—Is it Reasonably Secure.  For example, see my inquiry as to the security of DropBox, MobileNoter http://hytechlawyer.com/?p=49 and Dragon Dictation  http://hytechlawyer.com/?p=240   Anytime you are sending data to a third-party or the “cloud” you need to know whether third-parties have access to the data. Failure in this respect may result in disclosure of confidential information and/or waiver of the attorney/client privilege (i.e., malpractice).
  • USE COMMON SENSE!   Treat your iPad like you would a paper file of highly confidential client documents.  Do not leave it unattended in unsecure areas.  Keep it locked up when not in use.

If you follow these tips, confidential information on your iPad should be “reasonably” secure.  Ignore them and your license may not be.  Have a Nice Day :).


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Basic iPad Security for Lawyers — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Advice for Lawyers New to the iPad | The Hytech Lawyer

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