Friday, 25 September 2009

The Risks and Benefits of Mobile Computing

More and more solo and small firm practitioners are making the most of the advancement in technology to practice law using mobile devices and remote applications. The launch over the last few months of the latest iPhone and Blackberry Storm has been another leap forward in enabling technology.

Not only does mobile technology assist attorneys in managing their client base, it also helps in lowering their business overhead. Mobile devices enable attorneys to work from anywhere. The term ‘Mobile Attorney,’ while meaning a specialization in the past, now relates to the practice of using mobile technology to conduct business.

One of the key aspects of the Mobile Attorney is that they no longer just have a laptop running Microsoft Windows. They are now accessing their email, documents and other business applications via webmail, mobile enabled Document Management Systems (DMS) and a broad array of devices such as Blackberry, iPhone, PDAs, NetBooks and Apple Macs.

But, this brings up an interesting fact. While being a Mobile Attorney has many significant benefits, it does introduce new security risks, especially where the firm's security tools, such as their metadata removal application, is limited to a desktop tool. The Mobile Attorney using the web, DMS or mobile device does not have access to these tools and so fall foul of what I refer to as 'the mobile security gap'. If you are a Mobile Attorney – are you aware of these risks and are you doing anything to make sure you and your data is protected?