The hardware and software recommended for implementing technology in our law firm are: 1. Laptops/Notebook Computers/Desktops: Since our business requires a lot of traveling, laptops for all attorneys is recommended. For all support staff and others requiring little or no traveling, desktops could be provided. 2. Networking equipment: A production server, router, data cables would be required for networking the computers. The production server is where all the information would be centralized.
This is essential so that all information in available at one place rather than residing on individual computers and creating problems when the individual is unavailable. Protecting data and taking backups also becomes easier. 3. Scanner: This is required to convert all paper documents to electronic documents. While the office staff itself would be using electronic documents, one cannot rule out the possibilities of receiving paper documents from outside. Also, notes made during meetings can be quickly scanned rather than typed in case required. 4.
Cell Phone/Blackberry: The latest phone technologies provide a tremendously flexible and easy way to keep tabs on contacts, appointments, emails, notes and also allow recording of voice notes or conversations, and taking pictures that could be useful to record information during client meetings. 5. USB/flash/pen drives: These are portable storing devices like CDs but much smaller in size and easy to carry along. They allow for easy copying and moving of files from computer to computer. 6. Wireless Internet Service: This is required to be able to connect to the internet to get updates and news related to office.
7. Internet Presence: This serves dual purpose – one is to reach to new clients and the other is to provide information to existing clients. Also, it would be more professional to have email addresses with company names rather than using free email addresses. The registration of a domain, email address provision and web hosting can be availed in $25-$100/year. 8. Data Backup: To prevent data loss in case of hard drive failure, loss of laptop, virus attacks, etc. regular data backup is required. For this, DVDs, CDs and External hard drive are required.
9. Antivirus and Anti-spam software: Antivirus software is required to protect the computers against virus attacks or any spy software that can compromise data security. Anti-spam software is required to prevent email spamming that can lower productivity. 10. Firewall: Firewall software is required to prevent unauthorized users from hacking into the computer network and compromising with the data security. 11. Microsoft Windows XP and Office 2003/2007: All computers would require latest Microsoft OS.
Microsoft Office comes with MS Word for document processing, MS Excel for financial processing and MS PowerPoint for presentations and MS Outlook for email management in brief. This will help in creating documents, presentations, and also create and manage emails. Microsoft Outlook also provides with contact management system and comes with other features like managing your appointments, reminders, alerts, etc. It also allows integration across the firm so that one can know the availability of others when required for a joint meeting. 12.
Document Management System/Case Management System/Practice Management System: This will help manage all documents and provide for easy maintenance and retrieval when required. 13. Electronic fax: For outbound faxes, an electronic document is required, which if not already available, can be scanned and sent across as fax. This would reduce the requirement, maintenance and filing of papers and enable to maintain paperless office. Inbound faxes get delivered as attachments in your inbox, thus helping the mobile lawyers. 14. Adobe Acrobat: This software allows conversion of any printable file, email, picture, website, etc.
on your computer into a sharable and safe document which can be made non-editable and password-protected as well. 15. Laws and Court Rules software: Easy access to all laws and court rules throughout the country will make life easier for everyone. One can quickly refer to a section or search for the same. This software could also provide users with email alerts for all upcoming court and case deadlines. 16. Timing & Billing, Accounting, and Payroll Software: These software can automate the work required to manage billing, financial accounts and monthly payrolls of employees.
Using software for these tasks would mean ease of maintenance, retrieval of past information, automated reports and quick access to specific information (e. g. past bills for a particular client in last month). Recommended security protocols for data, internet, and electronic communications are: 1. Unauthorized Users: All computers need to be password protected. When people leave the firm, their password access needs to be deactivated. There should only be one network administrator that is responsible for adding and removing user access.
Each employee gets access to relevant documents on the server depending on the job requirements of the employee. When not in seat, the employee will lock their computer (by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del) so that unauthorized users do not get access to confidential information unintentionally. 2. Password policies: • Include non-alpha characters in the password, such as numbers and punctuation marks • Passwords must be kept in a safe place and not shared with anyone. • Password should be of minimum 8 alphanumeric characters. • Passwords should to be changed periodically.
The system should enforce changing of password if the agreed upon period is over. • Passwords need to be masked on the screen when anyone logs in. • Passwords should not be available to administrators or IT department but they should have the ability to reset passwords in case anyone has forgotten it. In such cases, once the new password is provided to the employee, it would be their responsibility to immediately change the password. 3. Hackers: A firewall should be installed to prevent unauthorized users from hacking into the computer network. 4. Antivirus policies: a. Antivirus software should be regularly updated.
b. Antivirus software should be running at all times when any computer is in use. c. Virus scans should be regularly scheduled and automated by the system administrator so that the entire system can be screened for viruses. d. Any external data storage device, email attachments, files downloaded over the internet, etc. should be screened for viruses before use. 5. Internet communications: Any confidential information sent must be encrypted. Any accompanying email message should also contain a disclaimer/warning message. All files shared over the internet will be non-editable PDF password-protected.
6. Internet Usage Policies: a. Internet should be used for designation purposes only as relevant to the job and should not be used: b. Internet should not be used to access, upload, download or distribute pornographic, obscene or sexually explicit material. c. Internet should not be used to violate any law. d. Internet should not be used to download music, video that are not relevant to the job. 7. Acceptance of policies: When new users are added to the system, they will receive and acknowledge receipt of policies related to the use of equipment and accompanying software.