Tech Tips: How Secure Are Your Client’s Files At Your Office?

Article Posted in the Florida Bar’s Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter – September 2011by
Susan Hilliard Gibson, Webmaster & Writer
At the moment your client hires your practice, they are putting their trust and confidential information into your protection.  The client’s private, sensitive files on your network need to be kept secured against intruders.   By far, one of the most essential components of your business practice today is your network infrastructure. It is equally important to have a secure backup system in place in case of unforeseen issues such as; hard drive failures, network file failures, viruses, and other problems.Will Smith, an IT Network Engineer/Specialist with the IT Group, has agreed to an interview for this addition of the Family Law Section’s newsletter.  He will help identify improvements to your network and backup system for your office/practice.  If you have any further questions for Will, you can email him or phone him at 239-289-9140.

Susan: Do you specialize in support of networks for small and medium sized businesses in Southwest Florida and how long have you been in this business?

Will: Yes for eleven years.

Susan: Is it true that websites can host malicious code, which can infect computers and thus harm the network they are connected to? If so, what would you suggest to protect computers and networks against attacks?

Will: Yes, that’s true. The best protection is to keep your virus, spyware and malware software up-to-date along with routine updates and scheduled scans.

Susan: Do you set the network policies on the server the same for every company to insure security? Or is this personalized per company.

Will: Each company is unique and requires an analysis of their needs, vulnerabilities, applications and their critical assets in order to develop a security plan.

Susan: Is it important that each user has their own login username and password even when they are working in the same office?

Will: Yes, part of creating a secure network is by adding unique usernames and strong passwords for each user.

Susan: Is a firewall essential for your network or not necessary?

Will:This is an essential security item that provides protection from outside threats, which is vital for every company.

Susan: Companies have employees that work from home or while traveling and they use a VPN connection to their office network. Is this connection secure?

Will: Yes, a VPN connection creates a secure tunnel back into the company network.

Susan: Would you suggest that a wireless router have a password for connection or is this really necessary inside the office?

Will Strong encryption is essential for your wireless router to protect your client’s files. If guests connect to your network consider adding a secondary wireless network for them on a separate VLAN. That way they are never in contact with your files and data.

Susan: Do you normally recommend a backup policy or procedure for companies you support? Do you also recommend a backup system or backup service and why?

Will:  My recommendation is both local and offsite cloud storage. There are numerous companies and plans to choose from which I usually discuss with my clients depending on their needs.

Susan: How often should network updates/patches be added?

Will: I like to test most updates in a test environment first to troubleshoot any issues that may arise, before installing in the production environment. When testing is complete, only then should updates and patches be added to the network.

If you have questions for Susan you can email her.

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