Tip #16: Tales From the Encrypt

We’re not entirely done optimizing your protection – here is another crucial (but easy and FREE!) step towards avoiding catastrophic computer consequences.

You’ve updated your passwords, activated 2FA, patched all your software, and are even using a VPN to log-on at Starbucks — you’ve made significant progress in covering your cybersecurity basics and deserve to celebrate with a caramel macchiato (extra whipped cream!)…but when you get back to the table, your laptop is gone.


It’s a common affliction in a quarantine season: so focused online, we neglect real life — forgetting the threat isn’t just hackers, but thieves. Worse yet, if the crooks are tech-savvy, they can access your data and own your hard drive in under 10 minutes.

Luckily there’s a simple proactive measure to protect against such intrusion, and it’s already built into your computer: full disk encryption (FDE).

Your old startup screen might’ve kept your niece out of your browsing history but was easily defeated by professionals, whereas FDE (using pre-boot biometric locks and/or a separate PIN) encrypts everything on your hard drive, rendering your device useless to anyone else.

Best of all, FDE is already installed on your Mac (via FileVault) or Windows 10 device (via BitLocker) – so PLEASE ENSURE THAT IT’S ENABLED!

On a Mac, navigate to “System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault” to check your status. On Windows 10, simply search your settings for “Device Encryption” and verify that it’s turned on.

Most new machines enable encryption by default, but a recent ABA tech survey revealed that only 22% of attorneys were using it: take a minute right now to make sure that you are one of the smart ones.

Maybe we can’t stop thieves or prevent careless misplacement, but with full disk encryption, you can buy some peace of mind while protecting yourself, your data, and your clients from a worst-case-scenario.

Alright, NOW you can enjoy that coffee. 


About the Author

Tom Lambotte is the CEO and Founder of Security+, an all-in-one security solution for solo and small firm lawyers. They provide leadership and direction to transform law firm operations and boost profits by leveraging technology.

Tom’s methods are based on over a decade of research, testing, and real-world refinement of best practices, working directly with law firms. Tom is the author of Hassle Free Mac IT Support for Law Firms and Legal Boost: Big Profits Through an IT Transformation and has a forthcoming book being published by the ABA Law Practice Division titled Macs in Law. He is a highly sought after speaker at national events such as the ABA Techshow and MacTrack Legal.

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