My July ABA Journal tech column is called “Are You Vulnerable? Sometimes a Good Hack Can Help.” The column provides a gentle introduction to vulnerability testing as part of your security efforts.

The focus of the column is on simple assessment as a key building block of your security plan – how do you know what steps to take if you don’t know where you currently stand? I take a look at some do-it-yourself tools, but concentrate on the idea of hiring a third party to do some vulnerability testing, something sometimes known as “white hat hacking.”

In vulnerability testing, the third party expert, at your direction, probes your network and systems and reports on the vulnerabilities it finds. You can take that report to determine where your security might need to be shored up.

Although you might think that this is something only for large firms, it’s important to realize that many smaller firms handle lots of sensitive client data, as well as internal firm data. You should be able to find providers of vulnerability assessments who will offer flat-fee options in the few thousand dollar range.

As I say in the column: “And since security is a process rather than a destination, vulnerability assessments should be performed from time to time on a schedule that makes sense for your practice.”

Money quote:

Data breaches can be time-consuming, publicly embarrassing and costly to deal with, and they might require notifications and even law enforcement involvement.

Read the entire column at Are You Vulnerable? Sometimes a Good Hack Can Help.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

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The new book Allison Shields and I have written called “LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers” is now available and also as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.