When taking legal action, it is important to protect your information. Protecting it ensures you do not weaken your position if the information is shared and reduces any security risks associated with the case. For these two reasons, it is important to have a plan in place to protect your information. Here’s how.
There are lots of different documents you will interact with during the course of a case. Drafts of legal documents, including legal submissions and claims forms, should be kept confidential until they have to be shared. Doing this ensures you do not give the other side any advantage when the case begins.
Sensitive evidence, your identity, and that of witnesses, as well as communication between you and your lawyers, are other types of information that need to be kept locked up.
There are usually two sides to collecting information; you want to give as much information as possible to support your case but you want the information to remain private. Collecting information should be done according to the sensitivity of the data and the purpose for which it will be used. For example, patient and medical data collected for a personal injury case should be collected in accordance to strict HIPAA compliance standards. Other information can be collected from relevant sources although confidentially cannot be assured in this case.
Sending the information between you and your attorneys should also be done using secure channels. Emails work fine for information you would not care if it spread, but for sensitive data, some people go as far as encrypting any documents or information they send to their lawyers.
Managing the Use of Your Information
During the course of the case, you will have to share certain information with your lawyer as well as the other side. There are exceptions to this rule, though, because there are situations where sharing any information could jeopardize a case or put a witness at risk. Other information that does not need to be shared includes information covered under client privilege.
It’s also important to hold off on sharing any information until a judge orders you to or there is a legal rule that requires you to. This is usually a strategic move for the good of your case. If you need to release information to third parties not affiliated with the case and where you fear the information could be shared with others, it is always wise to redact data to prevent sensitive data from landing in the wrong hands.
Protecting the Integrity of Your Information
For information, evidence, and any documents you present to be acceptable, they must be complete and not corrupted in any way. Ensuring the integrity of all this information can be done through ensuring any physical evidence and documents are stored in secure environments. This reduces the chances of them being stolen, lost, or tampered with in any way.
Digital records, documents, and evidence should be stored in password-protected vaults or virtual storage systems. These systems should not be publicly accessible and should be hacker-proof. Multi-factor authentication is another way to bolster your information’s security. If you want to go further, you can also encrypt these documents to make absolutely sure that their integrity remains intact.
Controlling the access to information during a case can be a strategic decision, but it could also be a security one. It is vital that you and your lawyers ensure your information is protected and is only accessible by those who have the right to and at the right time.