As a lawyer, you are privy to a significant amount of sensitive information.
All the information necessary to run a successful law practice, from private client information to court documents to evidence, could be damaging or dangerous if it fell in the wrong hands.
And if that information lives on your computer (which, in 2017, it likely does), it’s already at risk.
Internet privacy and security is an extremely hot-button issue right now.
Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, rivaling even our own intelligence services.
The President has repealed the Internet policies that were put in place to protect your privacy, essentially giving the internet service providers (ISPs) free reign to collect, share, and sell your data to the highest bidder.
The internet is no longer a safe place, and as a lawyer, this could have serious implications for your practice.
That’s why now more than ever it’s important to protect yourself, your sensitive information, and your privacy. But how, exactly, do you do that?
Everything you need to protect yourself online can be summed up in three simple letters: VPN.
What Is A VPN?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is exactly what it sounds like: a private network that exists to protect your information online.
It also allows you to access the internet anonymously; when using a VPN, it’s impossible to track your identity or location.
When you use a public network (like the free wifi available in coffee shops and other public locations), it’s frighteningly easy for people to access your data, like your passwords and account login information.
As a lawyer, this puts all of your client and case data at risk.
A VPN encrypts all of your digital activity and channels it through private, secure servers, which allows you to access the internet (and your sensitive information) without making it available to hackers and other cybercriminals.
VPNs can also mask your location by accessing servers around the world, making your connection appear to come from a different area of the globe.
For example, you might be surfing the web from your laptop in California, but your VPN can make it appear as if you’re in Tokyo, Japan.
Free vs. Premium: Which Is The Better Option?
There are two different types of VPNs: premium and free.
Just like any other service, there are pros and cons to each.
With a free VPN, the obvious advantage is it doesn’t require any investment on your part.
So, if your main concern is budget, a free VPN is an option to consider.
But nothing is really “free” and a no-cost VPN service will definitely come with some strings attached.
Be prepared for slower connections, intrusive ad pop-ups, and a lack of customer support if you run into any technical issues.
Also, not all free VPNs are completely secure; even though they market themselves as a safer alternative, they may still collect your data and sell it to third-parties.
When you subscribe to a premium VPN, you’ll pay a monthly fee in order to access the service (premium VPNs typically run in the range of $10 per month).
However, with that monthly fee comes a significantly higher level of security and better all-around experience.
With premium VPNs, you’ll have a faster connection, better customer support, increased access to servers in multiple locations, high-level encryption, and the ability to access your VPN on multiple devices (which is especially important if you manage activities related to your law practices on your phone or laptop).
While it may be tempting to sign up for the free service and save a few dollars, we highly suggest investing in a premium service for the higher level of protection and usability.
How To Set Up A VPN
You don’t need to be a tech whiz to set up a VPN.
VPNs are available on nearly all devices and operating systems.
Step 1: Download Your VPN
The first step to setting up your VPN is choosing a tool and downloading it onto your device.
There are plenty of VPNs on the market; if you need help choosing the right VPN for your needs, be sure to check out this comprehensive VPN review from PCMag.
Step 2: Activate Your VPN
Once your VPN is downloaded, the application should automatically open on your computer (it will continue to automatically launch upon startup unless you disable this feature).
Once you login, your VPN will list all the available servers and locations.
Some VPNs will automatically choose a server and some will require you to choose one manually.
Step 3: Connect And Browse
Once you’ve chosen a server, hit “Connect” and you’re ready to browse the internet securely.
Once you’re connected to your VPN, your internet connection will be fully encrypted, allowing you to access sensitive information (like client data or case files) securely.
Why Do You Need A VPN?
If you’re still not convinced that you need a VPN to protect yourself and your law practice, let’s review why you need a VPN:
- It protects sensitive client information
- It protects attorney-client privileged information from falling into the wrong hands
- It protects your information and browsing history across multiple devices
- It encrypts all data coming from and going to your computer
- It protects your accounts from being accessed
- It protects your passwords from being stolen
- It allows you to conduct business online anonymously
Protecting yourself from cybercrime should be a priority for everyone, but as a lawyer, it’s particularly important to take extra precaution to protect yourself, your clients, and your practice.
A VPN is a fast, easy, and affordable way to ensure that your online activities are safe, protected, and private.