Remote and Mobile Working Are Still RobustFor better or worse, work has expanded well beyond the office. The American Bar Association's 2018 TECHREPORT noted that 68 percent of firms with two to nine attorneys allowed telecommuting. In larger firms, remote working has dropped off somewhat from the astronomical numbers reported in 2015 and 2016, but it remains common; around 80 percent of firms with more than 10 attorneys allow offsite work.The continuing trend toward flexible work arrangements is no surprise: remote access is enormously valuable to employees, particularly millennials, who make up an increasing percentage of the workforce. And that freedom, once obtained, is hard to give up. In its survey, Buffer reported that 90 percent of remote workers intended to continue working remotely for the remainder of their careers.Just as work is no longer confined to one physical location, it's no longer restricted to one type of device. Remote work may occur on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In the same report, the ABA noted that about 50 percent of attorneys at all firms'47 percent in solos and small firms and 53 percent in firms of 100 to 499 attorneys'use tablets for at least part of their work. Both document access and client communications may also occur on smartphones, regardless of whether those are provided by the firm or are personal devices.But that's where there starts to be trouble in paradise.
Mobile Devices Create a Security ProblemLaw firms are still targets for security breaches due to the concentration of sensitive information that they manage. The ABA reported in 2018 that about 23 percent of responding firms had experienced security breaches, while another 40 percent reported virus or malware infections.Mobile and remote access only increase these risks. For example:
- Personal devices may not be running the latest operating system, introducing security vulnerabilities.
- The apps on personal devices may not be up to date.
- Personal devices may lack antivirus and firewall protections.
- Regardless of device, not all connections are secure.
- Whoever they belong to'the firm or an individual employee'phones are easy to lose.