Privacy and data security should be of utmost importance to all of today’s court reporters. For many, the most considerable risk is employing an attitude of “it won’t happen to me.” But it most definitely can. What’s more, court reporters are guardians of the record, and it’s their responsibility to ensure that data remains protected and secure.

The weak link in any data security protection is the human element. As a busy court reporter, it is challenging to stay abreast of all of the latest security trends, potentially opening up opportunities for cybercriminals. However, by following the best practices below, you can take the modern approach to data security to better protect the records you keep.

1. Keep Software and Applications Up to Date

Out of date software is one of the most common entry points for hackers with malicious intentions. During your busy day to day, one of the last things on your mind is updating a piece of software that isn’t vital to your work schedule. However, that lingering update may provide a backdoor key for a cyber thief.

It’s relatively easy to limit the possibility of this happening to you. First, it’s best never to ignore an invitation to update a piece of software. Also, look within your settings to set if you can switch the application to automatic updates so you need not dedicate any time to remember updating it.

2. Use Multiple-Factor Authentication

Most commonly available as two-factor authentication, this is the process whereby your login to a portal or application requires more than just a password. Once you log in, you will then be prompted to enter a constantly changing code that’s either available in an app, sent through a text, delivered via a push notification.

This defense mechanism stops criminals that have either decrypted or found out what your password is since an additional piece of ever-changing information is required to gain access. For ultra-sensitive documentation, you may want to implement three-factor authentication to make security even tighter.

3. Create and Maintain Difficult Passwords

Gone are the days of “password” or “1234” for logging in to portals or secure files stored online. It’s best practice to create a strong password; it could be the difference-maker in a cyber-attack situation. Brute force attacks can easily bypass simple passwords, and therefore you may as well not have one at all.

To best protect yourself, make the password at least 8-12 characters, with a combination of letters, numbers, and special symbols. Never write your password down, and never use just one password for multiple accounts. A password manager is a great way to remember numerous complex passwords if you’ve made your passwords particularly hard.

4. Educate Yourself on How to Spot Phishing Scams

An increasingly common tactic for hackers to gain entry to an individual’s cyberspace is to send a phishing scam via an email or text message. It’s important to always verify the sender of an email by looking at the originating email address, does it match who they say they are? Phishing emails are increasingly looking like legitimate emails from suppliers, clients, and even coworkers. It’s essential to remain vigilant and inspect all links before clicking on them.

Never respond to a request for sensitive details such as password information, bank account details, or private information pertaining to a case. Requests of this nature should always be made through official channels, so an email asking for this information should immediately sound alarm bells.

Take a Proactive Approach to Data Security

Data security has an increasingly important role in everybody’s lives. But as a court reporter, you have an added fiduciary responsibility to protect the record. So data security should be front and center of your mind as you go about your daily activities. By following the steps laid out above and taking additional precautions such as installing anti-virus software and backing up all data, you can make sure that you’ve taken all of the necessary steps to prevent yourself from succumbing to a potentially catastrophic cyber-attack.

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