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Posts published in “Smartphones”

How Safe are your Mobile Apps?

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Did you know there are over two million apps to choose from in the iPhone app and Google Play stores?

With that many options, it can be difficult for you to pick which apps are worth your time. Time.com shares the 25 Best Apps of the Year and PC Mag provides their 100 best Android and iPhone picks.

But, wait a minute! Before you download any of those apps (or apps that may be on your checklist to download), make sure to follow these tips to test whether each app is trustworthy and secure:

  1. Have you downloaded a security app that scans new apps for safety? If not, check out Sophos Mobile Security, Trend Micro, or Lookout.
  2. Make sure the "marketplace" is trustworthy. How do you know?
    1. Terms of Service are well written and developed.
    2. The marketplace/developer includes clear contact information and a troubleshooting frequently asked questions (FAQs) list if there is a problem.
    3. The marketplace follows strict app criteria.
    4. The developer provides regular updates to outdated apps.
    5. The marketplace removes vendors who do not meet this criterion in numbers one through four.
  3. Know the source. Never download an app outside of the iPhone or Google play store. Double check the "maker" is the trusted source. Third party apps from websites (outside of the iPhone or Google Play store) may contain hidden links or hijacking code.
  4. ALWAYS read the terms of service to see what rights and permissions you give the app.
  5. Pay attention to app ratings and the number of times the app has been downloaded.
  6. Check user reviews or comments to discover if there are any red flags or issues to be aware of.
  7. If an app offers a paid version, consider buying that version over the "free" version. The paid version is less likely to contain malware and phishing code behind it AND the terms of service (that you check or sign) may allow the company to access your data (photos, text messages, contacts, phone calls, location, etc.)
  8. Once the app is downloaded, click on the app settings to evaluate privacy, security, and general settings. Always change privacy and security settings from the default setting. Also, turn off any permissions you do not want the app to have access to (like photos, phone messages, text messages, location, contacts, etc.)
  9. Regularly re-evaluate apps you have downloaded on your phone. It is a best practice to minimize the number of apps that you download and regularly ask yourself, "have I used this app in the last week or month?" If the answer is no, delete it right away. Mobile apps that you do not open or pay attention to are likely to be targeted by hackers and cyber phishers.
  10.   Be careful downloading games and fun apps (coders love to hide some of the most malicious code where they know people will go for downtime/fun).

Remember your smartphone stores data like all your other devices. "Care" what you "Share!" Email pmap@scbar.org if you need assistance.

9 PMAP Website Resources to Help You Manage your Law Firm

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In recognition of National Small Business Week, check out a few of our favorite practice management and technology website resources to help you manage your small firm (or large firm):

  1. Start a Practice - Are you planning to start a practice? Navigate these resources to find tools to help you develop a business plan, create a budget, decide on an entity and firm name, find the right location, get the proper licenses/insurance, market, prepare for emergencies, choose technology, plus much more!
  2. Close a Practice - You're thinking about winding down your practice...but you have no clue where to begin. Check out the PMA's guide to close your office plus how to transition out of practice based on a variety of situations. We even have resources for succession planning!
  3. Firm or Law Partner Changes - Things happen: Lawyers decide to leave in order to form new partnerships, go solo, or dissolve practices. Our lawyers in transition section will help you navigate through a variety of situations. If you cannot locate a particular situation, contact pmap@scbar.org for assistance.
  4. Build Your Practice - Whether you want to explore client development or learn how to build your business, our business development resources provide a variety of tips from a variety of marketing resources.
  5. Prepare for the Worst - With Atlantic Hurricane Season kicking off officially June 1st and manmade or natural disasters happening every day, it is important for law firms to create a disaster and emergency preparedness plan. Check out our Prepare page for tips and also request a free copy of our disaster handbook, if you do not one.
  6. Time and Business Management - How should you manage your time and stay organized in your business? Check out a few great tips here. (P.S. Don't forget to check out our SC Small Firm blog for more organization/time management tips and the PMAP Forms Bank for correspondence, checklists, plus more.)
  7. Technology Tips - Whether you are interested in learning more about technology or looking for a specific tech topic (software, security, consultants, etc.), our tech tips section will help you navigate through some of the most important decisions in managing your practice.
  8. Legal Research (for South Carolina Bar members) - Looking to conduct research for a particular case or cases? Check out the South Carolina Bar's free legal research member benefit Fastcase by logging into the Bar's website. Our FAQ's page will help show you how.
  9. Resources- Can't find a specific resource you're looking for? Don't forget the South Carolina Bar has over 160 resources available to active Bar members in good standing via the Lending Library. Also, check out the PMAP Videos Bank and the FAQ Bank for helpful tips and information.

Contact the Practice Management Assistance Program for further assistance in managing your law practice.

Is Your Smartphone Protected Against Mobile Security Threats?

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Today, smartphones are just as powerful and functional as tablets and computers. However, they are vulnerable to cybersecurity risks.

Did you know that the Federal Communications Commission has created a tool called the Smartphone Security Checker to help smartphone owners get protected against mobile security threats?

To use the tool, choose your mobile operating system and then follow the ten customized steps to help secure your device. Smartphone users should also check out TechRepublic’sfive ways to maintain your privacy on your smartphone and TCCrocks’ important steps to securing your smartphone.

Do you have questions about law firm security? Email pmap@scbar.org or call (803)799-6653 extensions 183 or 118.