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How Florida Lawyers Can Protect Data In 2021 [Guest Post]

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#BeCyberSmart

By: The Makers of “AXEL Go”
A Florida Bar Member Benefit

As any lawyer who has chosen to forge their own path might tell you, starting your own law firm can be both a fulfilling and harrowing experience. This is particularly true today, with increases in data breaches and instances of remote or hybrid work, legal practitioners have had to revisit choices necessary for launching a successful practice.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so there is no better time to evaluate your firm’s cybersecurity plan. The annual campaign, started by the National Cyber Security Division within the Department of Homeland Security and the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance, is focused on raising awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. For lawyers, this often starts with asking “how and where should digital files be stored?” The answer to this question is at the heart of an effective cybersecurity approach and is key to a lawyer’s responsibilities.

“A lawyer must make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.” R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-1.6(e).

Cloud technology has been evolving for decades and has transformed business systems in revolutionary ways. It has brought about virtually automatic storage and retrieval of our digital content, provided quality-of-life features like anywhere and anytime access, and is available for use on virtually any device anywhere in the world.

The downside of these advancements has been the advent of massive data breaches. Most everyone can recall headlines of recent breaches that have disrupted the lives of people, companies, or governments. Experts note that the unprecedented volume of global cyberattacks over the last year has caused many to suffer from what they call “breach fatigue.”

Eggs in One Basket

Is there a common theme to these breaches?  Yes- centralized systems can introduce both convenience and vulnerability. Money, for example, is managed for us by centralized banks, so robbers trying to steal large sums of money will likely target banks.  The same holds true for storage of digital content. Cloud storage providers, while trying to give users convenient access to their data, are often targeted by hackers who are increasingly adept at exploiting single points of failure in the centralized cloud. With all the data eggs in one basket, the centralized cloud presents a compelling, all-or-nothing target for hackers.

Decentralization

A far safer approach to storing digital content is decentralization. Decentralization, in the context of this discussion, has two distinct meanings.  First, storage repositories in the network configuration are not collocated.  Second, the ownership and management of the storage repositories are not controlled by a single authority and are therefore also decentralized.

Let’s further break down these two concepts. Decentralization from a network perspective means that storage repositories are spread out geographically. This makes it more difficult for someone to hack because they simply don’t know where to look. By geographically spreading storage repositories, the content being stored is immediately safer because it isn’t all in the same place. Decentralization from a management perspective means that a single authority or entity isn’t controlling all the storage.  This makes it more difficult to identify, locate, and breach.Blockchain technology, used in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, enables decentralization from both a network and management perspective. Individuals create their own nodes to mine tokens in global decentralized networks that are publicly owned and not under the control of a single governing body or company. File storage systems employing blockchain technology are able to decentralize the storage component and eliminate vulnerabilities caused by a single authority or company managing all the data. Technologies such as the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) allow digital content to be stored safely and securely on these global decentralized networks, making it virtually impossible for anyone to pinpoint and attack a specific group of files or content. IPFS is designed specifically for decentralized network file storage and provides features to enhance file security, access, and management.

AXEL Go

Leveraging its patented file management technologies, AXEL has combined blockchain with IPFS file management to bring AXEL Go to lawyers and their teams. AXEL Go incorporates features and ease-of-use found in centralized storage systems, while using blockchain technology to create a global, fully decentralized network. Users enjoy the benefits of a fully decentralized file storage network that offers advanced security capabilities such as AES 256-bit encryption and multifactor authentication, as well as swarm file storage and retrieval.

AXEL Go is the most private and secure way for anyone to collect, store or share files.  Its “Secure Fetch” feature allows lawyers to request files from clients by creating an encrypted “empty box” for clients to place their sensitive files in. The “Secure Share” feature allows lawyers to send documents as secure links instead of vulnerable e-mail attachments. Lastly, “Secure Storage” provides a much more private and secure repository to house information.  There are no file size limits on AXEL Go and access to documents can be granted or revoked at any time by the user.

Members of The Florida Bar now receive a free trial and 20% discount on AXEL Go. Kick off Cybersecurity Awareness Month by signing up for your free trial here.