The world is changing, technology is changing, and the threats to your private files and security are changing. The evolution of AI is making it hard to keep up.
But don’t lose hope. It’s been a while since we’ve had IT expert Adam Alexander with us, but he’s back with more tips for solo practitioners and small practices. Alexander and his firm, InterNetwork IT, help attorneys identify, deploy, and manage security solutions and keep firms running efficiently.
AI is shaking up everything. We’ll talk about Microsoft AI “Copilots” and how Microsoft is integrating AI into your entire PC experience. You’ll be surprised at how this combination works for both Windows and Macs.
Learn how to check security settings. Breaches are real and can be costly. Hear why it’s so important (and easy) to back up your files offsite
We’ve seen some tremendous tools in both productivity and security. If you aren’t keeping up, you might be missing out on some time saving hacks (even a way to convert handwriting to text built into your Snipping tool). Get the scoop on this episode of New Solo. .
Got questions or ideas about solo and small practices? Drop us a line at [email protected]
- AI is changing a lot, including the simplest tasks. In our latest tech talk, dive into AI products that plug right into your web browsers.
- Why file security is so important (and protecting your files is easier than you think … if you pay attention).
- Some daily activities require specific security efforts, including Payment Card Industry (PCI) security and even, if you work with medical information, HIPAA security. But you can do it.
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Mentioned in This Episode
Previous appearance on New Solo, “The Microsoft 365 Special: Your Questions, Expert Answers”
Microsoft Copilot, “Announcing Microsoft Copilot, Your Everyday AI Companion”
Copilot for Microsoft 365
Copilot for Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Copilot for Windows
Windows Security Center
Microsoft Defender XDR
Microsoft HIPAA products
Previous episode, “A Short Primer on Microsoft Accounts, OneDrive, and SharePoint”
Previous episode, “The All-Mac Edition: The Episode For Mac-Curious Attorneys”
Previous episode, “HIPAA Happens, But Compliance Software Can Help
Intro: So if I was starting today as the New Solo, I would do something — the entrepreneurial aspect would be –- we’re going to have to change the way they’re practicing –- by becoming a leader — analyzing one after another — to help young lawyers — starting a new small firm — what it means to be fulfilled — make it easy to work with your clients — bringing authenticity — new approach, new tools, new mindset, New Solo — and it’s making that leap.
Adriana Linares: It’s time for another episode of News Solo on the Legal Talk Network. I’m your host, Adriana Linares and my guest is my favorite IT guy and possibly yours, too. Adam Alexander is back to give us a couple of updates on Windows. We’re going to talk about Windows a little bit but don’t be turned off Mac users. We’re going to make sure you get some tips here as well. So before I let Adam introduce himself, I want to remind everybody that Adam was on the show back in May of 2022. So it’s been a long time since I’ve had Adam back. We did a Microsoft 365 Special. Your questions, expert answers, and I think that show is still 100% relevant today. Don’t you think, Adam?
Adam Alexander: Oh, yeah, definitely. We were just mentioning, I think you just got a call and I just got a call from people that are still listening to it and reaching out.
Adriana Linares: Yes, so that’s great. So go back and listen to that one if you’re still trying to figure out some Microsoft 365 things. And also, there’s another episode in the lineup about OneDrive and SharePoint that I did specifically addressing a lot of the questions that I get about that. So, hi, Adam. Welcome back.
Adam Alexander: Hey, thanks for having me. It’s been a while. I’ve been looking forward to it. So I think it’s going to be a good time.
Adriana Linares: Well, great. Tell everybody a little bit about yourself and what services you offer. I send a lot of attorneys your way from anywhere in the country that they might be. So give everybody a little bit heads up before we start talking about copilot, text messaging, Windows, security issues, we’ve got a bunch of topics we’re going to cover but tell us about yourself first.
Adam Alexander: Yeah, thanks. Yeah, my company is InterNetwork IT. We started back in 2011 and we started with legal because that’s kind of where I came from before, I started the company. We do medical and anyone really construction or anyone else at this point too but we specialize in Microsoft products like you were mentioning 365. I’ve done a lot of Microsoft 365 migrations for people and we also have branched out to security and, of course being in IT, our mainstay is just a day-to-day it for other companies. But we’ve also branched out to more security-based products as well.
Adriana Linares: That’s great. And one of the things that I think you specialize in which I want to make sure people know about is divorcing GoDaddy from 365. So if you’ve been a listener of this show for x number of time, you hear me say constantly that if you have GoDaddy attached to your Microsoft 365 account eventually you’re going to start running into issues, not performance issues but GoDaddy ends up becoming a middleman and creating connection problems for you. So let’s say you’re using a practice management program and you need to connect that practice management program to your Outlook or to your OneDrive. When GoDaddy is in the middle, it starts to become problematic. So if you need help with that, please reach out to Adam. I send Adam a lot of those cases and I say he’s my divorce specialist for GoDaddy and Microsoft 365.
Okay, what I really wanted to talk about today because I think it’s become very confusing because it’s come on so quick. I want to start with Microsoft Copilots and I say it plural because there are many of them and Microsoft is going to keep calling them Copilots. I think it’s kind of going to become a term like extensions and apps. So now there’s Copilots and at least through Microsoft’s terminology they are, as you all know, I like to call them robots. They are robots that do things for you. But specifically let’s cover the Copilots that Microsoft has unleashed in the last quarter of 2023 which is what we’re in. Which is Windows Copilot, Copilot for Edge and then Copilot for Microsoft 365. Adam, can you break those down for us? And then I will talk about my experiences with all of them.
Adam Alexander: Right, so Copilot for Windows is some people might already have it. You may have seen it pop up in your taskbar next to the search area. You click on that and it brings up their Copilot AI where you can type in. For instance, as a little demo for myself, I typed create a BAA business agreement for me for these two companies and it starts typing it all out for you and then you can copy and paste it and things like that. So that’s built into Windows. Now Copilot for Edge is built into the edge browser and it does the same thing.
Bizarrely, sometimes a little bit different results than the Windows one which I thought that was pretty interesting. And I’ve actually had more success with the Edge version to be honest with you. And then there’s the Copilot for Office 365 which should be pretty interesting, I think, in the sense that it’s going to be your own personal contained AI in you Microsoft 365 account. And I think that’s going to be interesting as far as security because it will only search inside of your Microsoft products and the admin can also limit or expand what it can search to where it can search just your OneDrive or he can give you access to search everyone’s OneDrive to create documents and create vernacular in your emails to write emails in your wording. So it should be pretty interesting, I think.
Adriana Linares: Now everybody, don’t get excited about that last Copilot. Copilot for Office 365 is just a bummer right now because for some reason you and I, the solos, the smalls of the world can’t have it. Right now, Microsoft Copilot for 365 has to be bought with a minimum of 300 seats. 300 seats, you guys. So we can’t have it yet. I have a feeling. I hope that they’ll somehow change their mind about that. But it is something to hope for and get excited about in the future because it does become an AI that’s inside of your own data repository. But we can’t have it right now, so we have to use some other tools and services which we’ll talk about. So we’re going to push that one aside. And if you are with a firm that is 300 or more and they decided to pay the $30 a month for all of those seats you are one lucky dog because I hear it’s pretty cool. But I haven’t even, other than just seeing some demos on YouTube, I can’t use it because I don’t have 300 seats.
Adam Alexander: Well, to your point, it’s $30 per seat, correct?
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Adam Alexander: So it’s not even a free.
Adriana Linares: No.
Adam Alexander: AI that you can use for your company. I mean, there are definitely other options. But security wise, if you look at it from a security standpoint, it’s a really cool product.
Adriana Linares: I think that’s the reason big companies are going to pay for it. If it’s going to stay within your data container and access your own data, I mean, that sounds pretty amazing. So I think companies that see the value in that are going to pay for it and then eventually over time, they’re just going to end up firing everybody because the AI is going to do all the work.
Adam Alexander: Yeah, it’s kind of already is happening a little bit. You become a document reviewer.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. So for all that, let’s talk about the AI that you can actually use. And I’m just going to backtrack a little bit to what Adam described for us a moment ago. Microsoft Copilot for Windows is going to get installed at some point on an update on your Windows machine. A couple of things to note. You have to have Windows Pro. So I got the Copilot for Windows about two weeks ago when I did an update. It does appear in your taskbar so you really have to process this. There’s a Windows Copilot, an Edge Copilot, and then the Microsoft 365 Copilot that none of us can have, most of us can’t have. So back to this point about the Windows Copilot. Sorry Mac users, you don’t get this part but wait till we get to the Edge conversation because then you can have it.
The Windows Copilot, personally, I have not found it very useful. It actually just sort of does the same sort of searches and results that Chat GPT would do or Google bard. So you’re going to see it. It’s going to appear in your taskbar in the bottom left-hand corner right next to the search bar the way Adam described. And you do have to have Windows Pro. I went out to LA a couple of weeks ago and loaded up my computer over there which I have a gaming machine that I keep over there that helps me render videos and also do other work at the time. I did not realize it was a Home installation of Windows. And I kept updating and kept waiting for Copilot to show up and it didn’t. Finally, I went and looked and sure it was Windows Home. So I paid the $99 through the Windows store to upgrade to Windows Pro and boom, it appeared right away. Is it in 10? Windows 10 or is it only Windows 11, Adam?
Adam Alexander: It looks like it’s going to be coming to 10. It might not be out just yet but along with that it may also be coming out to Home as well. It’s one of those things where it says maybe coming to so we can expect it to eventually get there but it just may be some time.
Adriana Linares: Okay, well that’s good. All right. So having said that though in a minute when we get done finished talking about Edge, I want to talk about why you should still upgrade no matter what to Windows Pro. All right, so Windows Copilot opens up just you click on it and it opens up on the right-hand side of your screen and you can ask it basic question. Not basic, I should just say you can hit the web, you can have it create like you asked it to do, text contracts, does some pretty cool things.
You can upload an image and have it search for the image. I think so far, the real value that I have found and I think this is what you were alluding to when you said you’ve had better results with Copilot in Edge is the Edge Copilot for me has been the best. So in this case everybody, whether you’re a Windows user or here you come Mac users, if you have Edge and use Edge and log into your Office 365 account you’re going to have a little Copilot icon in the top right hand corner and it also opens up a panel on the right hand side.
Kind of like the way Windows Copilot does inside your windows screen. In this case, it’s going to open it inside of Edge. Look, if you are a hardcore chrome user get over yourself. Use more than one browser. If you’re a Safari user on the Mac just download and install Edge especially if you’re an Office 365 user because a couple of the things that you can do inside of Edge are pretty amazing with Copilot. Adam, you were just mentioning that your experience with the Copilot in Edge was better.
Adam Alexander: It was actually really interesting because I did two tests. One, so I did this in both the Windows version and Edge version. So I had to create a business agreement one time in Windows, the Windows version did it. The other times like three other times it said “Oh, I can’t do that because that’s a complex thing to do and I need a bunch of information and it’s a whole legal thing so I can’t do that right now.” Edge did it every time. So that was interesting. The other thing I had to do was I put a picture into the Windows version and Edge version and I just said analyze picture. I actually think the Windows version didn’t come back with anything. I think it said it couldn’t analyze a picture. The Edge version gave like a whole story about what the picture was. The one thing that’s interesting to me is that when you open both versions, it’s the same window that opens. But they’re doing something different somehow which is interesting to me.
Adriana Linares: It’s a little bit confusing everyone at this time. But let me tell you a couple of things that you can do with the Edge version that I think is really interesting. If you have a PDF open inside of Edge. So again, most of you get frustrated when your PDFs open inside the browser you want to detach that. So you probably have your computer set up so that PDFs will open in Acrobat or whatever your PDF manipulation tool is fine. But sometimes you will want to do this which is right click on that PDF tell it to open in Edge. Because if it’s inside Edge now, your Edge Copilot can run analysis and run tasks on that PDF. By the way, everything I’m about to describe it will also do with any web page. So let’s say you are doing research in Westlaw, Lexus, Fastcase, and I know they all have their own AI tools or maybe you’re in Google Scholar or maybe you’ve downloaded an opinion and you just want to have it summarized.
If it’s inside Edge, the Edge Copilot does a really good job of working on anything it has inside that window. So I strongly suggest you give it a try. And an example that I did just real quick is I gave a presentation on this for San Diego last week and I opened up a motion to dismiss a federal complaint from inside Edge. Now remember, you’ve got to have it inside Edge Windows or Mac. And I said, this document contains a table of contents from a motion to dismiss in federal court from it, please create a bulleted list of counterarguments and it freaking did. So I encourage you to try some of these things. I’m not going to tell you to write your legal documents in there. I’m going to tell you to get inspired, to let it help you, to let it act like a calculator when you’re doing financial work and help you with some of the administrative tasks that you might run on certain documents.
Adam Alexander: And I think that’s an important distinction to make is the calculator. It’s pulling from templates online. If you say, “Hey, build this document for me.” “Hey, create counterarguments.” It’s seeing what the document has and then pulling from templates or things that it can find basically on the web in a sense so it can get down to, let’s say, 80% right. So you can’t just have it write documents say, “Here client, here’s a document.” You need to really be sure to review and make sure it’s actually accurate to the point that you need it to be.
Adriana Linares: Right. A couple more things that Edge Copilot will do which I thought was pretty awesome. A lot of you like to handwrite notes but then you want that handwritten note converted to text. An attorney sent me a nice note, a good old-fashioned postcard. Sent me a note and his handwriting is an attorney handwriting. But I uploaded it and I said please convert this image to text and it did almost flawlessly. So, of course, please set your expectations right. If you have really bad handwriting, it might not do a good job but I encourage you to do that.
The good thing about being inside Edge and being logged into your Microsoft 365 account is you’ll notice at the bottom of the Copilot Window inside Edge, it says “Your personal and company data are protected in this chat.” So I think you can feel pretty secure about using it for certain thing. But you might want to, of course, please as the attorney use in the room go read the terms of service to be sure of that. But it does say it pretty plain and out loud inside the Edge browser. The last thing I will use as an example that I did with it is, as you all know or might know, I am very close to an attorney who sits next to me all day long and he had a really interesting test for me to run. He had a five-page property history. So there was a lease holding he was doing on a ground lease, I think, and it had the dates of all the parties that had held interest in this property. I, before I put it in there because I just wanted to be sure changed all the names to Flintstone and Jetson names.
But then I opened it inside Edge as a PDF and I asked it to, I said something like the attached document or the document in the window is a lease holding agreement since 1972. Please create a history of the ownership and the percentage of each party that owned it. And because he had already done it manually, ran through it, looked at it and said, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing.” It did in 10 seconds what took me an hour and a half. So, everybody, if you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon yet, I encourage you to try these tools, play with them, see what they can do. I think you’ll be really surprised at the results sometimes. Before we go on, though, let’s take a quick break. Listen to some messages from some sponsors.
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Adriana Linares: All right, welcome back. We’re talking all kinds of stuff for Windows and Mac users about the latest and greatest in Microsoft 365. I’m here with Adam Alexander. So another cool update that came in Windows recently is the snipping tool which hopefully everybody’s familiar with the snipping tool. Sorry, Mac users. The snipping tool came with two new features and a recent update which is also convert handwriting to text. It’s built right into snipping tool. Now you’ll see it along the toolbar along the top and/or depending on which one you want. It also has redaction built right into it. So you could actually take a screenshot of maybe a deposition from the web or whatever deposition transcript and redact it right then and there, and then copy and paste the snippet into something.
For the Mac users though I will say this, a lot of the things that I just mentioned you can do with preview so you’re not left in the dark. You just don’t have the snipping tool. And you know what? I should mention and remind everybody for the Mac users out there in the world that in July of this year we did the all-Mac edition with Bret Bernie and Jeff Richardson. So if you are a Mac user and didn’t catch that episode go back and listen to it. Adam, anything else you have found in Windows that we want to mention that has come up in an update lately as far as new tools or AI lately?
Adam Alexander: Actually, we were going to talk about the Windows Pro versus Home thing which can be a pretty important aspect outside of Copilot with that we’ve already mentioned but also for some security features too.
Adriana Linares: Oh, I’m so glad you brought that up. So, right, a few minutes ago, you said, well, it sounds like Copilot might be coming to Home. And then I said but I still need you attorneys to have Pro. So, Adam, can you remind everybody kind of the reasons that we would want to make sure we’re running Windows Pro as legal professionals and not the Home version?
Adam Alexander: One of the biggest reasons to run Pro in Windows and this could be 10, 11 is BitLocker. And BitLocker is, I don’t want to say a basic. It’s almost like a necessity of a security feature, which unfortunately it’s not with Home in my opinion it really should be. But I think–
Adriana Linares: I agree.
Adam Alexander: Yeah, right. It encrypts your hard drive so if someone takes out your hard drive, they can’t read any of the data so it’s actually a really important feature to have.
Adriana Linares: This is very important attorneys remember that all 50 states have breached notification laws and triggers. And if your device is lost or stolen and there is access to the personally identifiable information of residents of your state or residents of the states in which you do legal work it could trigger a breach act. So please make sure that you are using BitLocker that is the encryption service built into Windows Pro not Home. And I agree with you, Adam. They should have it for Home and Mac users that service is called FileVault on your Mac. Adam, I have had in the past attorneys who say, “My IT guy says encrypting my hard drive will slow it down.” Is that true?
Adam Alexander: No, there’s an initial encryption that it runs kind of like if you install antivirus, it does like an initial scan sort of thing. After that, it’s just doing little tiny encryptions as you save files and things like that but once it’s done, it’s done. You won’t even know it’s there.
Adriana Linares: Awesome. Okay, so we covered Windows Pro versus Home and then I wanted to ask you too about just giving us a security update. I have a lot of attorneys that are using and happy with Windows Security center but then they will also add on a Norton or a McAfee or Malwarebytes. What’s your opinion on paying for and having those third-party services? Again, back these are mostly Windows machines that use these services.
Adam Alexander: Surprisingly, Windows Defender has actually come a long way. It’s been really interesting to see that because Windows Defender for years and years since the beginning has been kind of a joke in a virus as far as IT goes. But now they have added the AI aspect. I kind of wonder, actually, I haven’t looked it up but I wonder if that’s part of a copilot system. But they’ve added an AI aspect to it where instead of, and this goes along with any antivirus. The standard antivirus where it scans during lunchtime, it scans at night, and all that kind of stuff. Those are the ones that you want to get away from now.
The ones you want to go to are things that have like Windows Defender that have an AI aspect to it because what it normally does is it’ll do one scan when it gets installed and then of course Windows Defender gets installed with Windows so you’re already done. And then from there it just watches what the computer is doing. So it doesn’t have to run a lunchtime scan. You’re not going to miss a night time scan because your computer was off. It’s just constantly watching what the computer is doing and what the software is doing that you download and install and things like that. And if it sees something malicious, it immediately acts on it and locks down the computer or locks down that program. And they’re far, far more efficient than the old ways of doing antivirus.
Adriana Linares: I’m so glad you said that because I run the tech help desk for the Florida bar and I just can’t tell you how many times an attorney is having a problem and it’s freaking Norton. And it’s the web thing that it does the safe surfing or, you know, like you believe, you cannot have too much security. So I will say to them, listen, you can’t have too much security but I might encourage you to uninstall it, stop paying for it, and count on Windows Security center. Now, it’s called the Windows Security center. It has virus and threat protection. It runs your firewall and your network protection. It’s got app and browser control. I’m looking at mine.
The thing is and maybe you can help us understand this, Adam. Antivirus programs and Windows Security are really addressing our hard drive issues. But services like Office 365 and if you have your email through Office 365, through Exchange and Outlook that’s a whole different world of security and action being taken on our digital data. So can you help us understand the difference between a local antivirus, anti-malware, anti-spyware, and then what Windows is or what Microsoft is doing for us or Google workspace? If you’re a Google workspace user and your data is mostly digital. Well, I guess it’s all digital. But I mean, not on your hard drive in the web.
Adam Alexander: Right. Yeah, good point.
Adriana Linares: On the web.
Adam Alexander: Yes. So actually, if you think about the local antivirus versus email, let’s call it email antivirus, the local antivirus like Windows Defender and things like that are actually Windows Defender is the way Microsoft does things. They combine the names of multiple products and it becomes confusing. So let’s just say the local antivirus on your computer, if you download an email and has an attachment, let’s say you don’t have a proper email antivirus scanner that attachment may have a virus and it’s gotten through your email system. So it’s sitting there but it’s not really doing anything yet. But when you download that attachment and you run it could be like a fake PDF or a fake Excel. When you open it, it starts installing a virus onto the computer. That’s where the local antivirus comes into play. Now something like Microsoft 365 so this is where I was going to say it gets confusing because they used to have a name for it called advanced threat protection and now, they changed the name to Microsoft 365 defender. So just to make things more confusing, the way Microsoft–
Adriana Linares: They gave it the same name.
Adam Alexander: Yeah, they gave it the same name. And I recommend this to anyone that has a Microsoft 365 account. And we do it on all of our clients and all the migrations that I do for your clients. Add the Microsoft 365 Defender for email. And it’s actually email and OneDrive it covers the entire account. And what it does is so let’s say you have an email come in, it will scan for known phishing attempts. Right off the bat it detects. Microsoft has one of the biggest phishing databases in the world right now. So it has a better detection for phishing emails. It will actually scan and open the document before it gets to you to test if it has a virus in it. But it also will scan and open URL links like the little blue links you get an email so it’s called safe links.
And actually, what you do is when you click on it, it will open in a virtual environment and make sure it’s a safe website and then go to the website. So it’s a really comprehensive antivirus, anti-threat protection suite and so this, you know I’m talking about emails but this goes through OneDrive, it goes through Teams chats. It protects you from every level of Microsoft and so it’s a really important tool. And when that came out, even when it was called advanced threat protection years ago, the amount of people contacting us saying that they got a virus, it just dropped off the mat because 90-95% of viruses come in emails now. And so if you can knock that out from the beginning before it gets to your computer you’re ready to go. And then on top of that, you’ve got your antivirus on the computer where something still slips through or if you’re going to a website that’s outside of your email then you have your local antivirus.
Adriana Linares: Can you see the excitement in my face? Were you wondering why I was making these faces?
Adam Alexander: A little bit.
Adriana Linares: Listeners, as Adam was talking about this, I decided to go into my office.com account and go to admin which as a side note, I’m going to take the opportunity to say this: “Attorneys, you need to have admin access to your own firm’s Microsoft 365 account. If you log into your Microsoft 365 account online and you cannot go to admin and look at security, you need to figure that out. Adam, can you explain really quickly what I’m talking about and then also explain that sometimes an IT company will make an admin account but you should have access to that.
Adam Alexander: Yeah, for sure. And actually, you can go straight to it. If you go to admin.microsoft.com, it’ll take you straight to the admin portal. Yes.
Adriana Linares: Unless you have freaking GoDaddy.
Adam Alexander: Yeah. GoDaddy is a whole separate topic that’s outside of any discussion we’re having.
Adriana Linares: Correct. If you type in admin.microsoft.com and you get a GoDaddy login window, you have got to call Adam.
Adam Alexander: Yeah, let’s get you off of that.
Adriana Linares: But anyway, okay, so I would go to admin.microsoft.com.
Adam Alexander: Yeah. Okay, so you’re asking some IT companies, they’ll do the Microsoft 365 account. They’ll have an admin account but they won’t have an admin account for anyone else which is a good practice. You don’t want the receptionist to have an admin account. You want to limit the admin account. So maybe just one attorney at the law firm has it or someone who does the invoicing and billing because then they can get in and change a credit card number if they have to. But it is important because you can log on, you can see all the users that are there, you can see your license count. A lot of times what happens is as an IT company is removing users that have moved on they don’t remove the license. So now you’ve got 25 licenses that you’ve purchased and you’re using 20. So you’re paying for five licenses for nothing.
Adam Alexander: Now, ultimately the IT companies should be doing that as they remove users, but sometimes it happens. But you can also go in and you can go into sometimes it’s called marketplace, sometimes it’s just called purchase services, it just depends on which version of the portal you have. But you can go in there and you start searching products and you can look up 365 Defender and you’ll see it pop up in there and things like that so you can see the price and honestly, it’s so worth it because it’s only $2 per user.
Adriana Linares: So that’s what I was so excited about when you said this, which I have a Microsoft 365 account, of course, I’m one user which I know a lot of my listeners are too but I use Google Workspace for my email. Doesn’t matter. But here I am so I went into admin.microsoft.com, I always go to office.com and then I went into Admin and then I clicked on security and the first thing I see is this thing that says welcome to Microsoft Defender, respond to threats and manage security across your identities, data device and infrastructure. So most of you attorneys who have just a couple of users you want to go do this.
I didn’t realize it was extra. I’m going to turn it on now, then it says protect your employees, start free trial and you’re saying it’s just a couple of bucks a month, anyway.
Adam Alexander: Yeah, $2 per mailbox.
Adriana Linares: All right, wonderful, and then down here also on my — and by the way the URL for this is once you click on security inside of admin, its security.microsoft.com. So I’m assuming you could go straight there and log right into your security portal. So on this dashboard here, it gives me a Microsoft secure score, very poor Adriana Linares at LawTech Partners. I’m going to work on making this a little bit better, 39%.
I am going to fix that as soon as we’re done with this recording. I don’t use it for email though but I know most of you out there do so pay attention to this. Then it has it says, did you know businesses are spending half a million dollars per breach and I think that’s what I really want to remind everybody of that. If you have a security breach, it can be very, very expensive for your firm. So it’s really important that you get into office.com. Go look at your security settings, so for those of you who are very concerned about security and you all should be I strongly encourage you to do some research if you get stuck, you can always call Adam but there’s a whole security center in here that has a lot of features which are going to be confusing for the average user. But some of them are pretty easy for us to figure out.
Any other security tips or suggestions you want to mention while we’re talking about that, it’s such an important subject.
Adriana Linares: Yes. So actually so like Adriana was mentioning, breaches are you could be a small law firm, a small company and it’s going to cost you half a million dollars and it just frames up and so there are proper external backups that you can do, like off-site backups of your entire 365 account that’s email, OneDrive everything, Teams everything so look into that and there was for Dropbox and box and have backups of your computers too because one thing people don’t think about too is you get — some people have servers, all of our information is on a server or all of our information is in Clio.
Okay. Well then be attorney gets ransomware and he’s got a bunch of stuff in as my documents. Well, you didn’t have that backed up. So there is still a good argument to backing at the actual computers too along with your OneDrive and Dropbox because what happens is you get a ransomware on your computer and then it encrypts your entire OneDrive if you have it set to download to your computer. Now your whole OneDrive is encrypted. So it can still reach out just be aware of that.
Adriana Linares: I think that’s an important well I wanted to make a distinction there because I think this is also confusing for people. You said it can encrypt the documents that are in your OneDrive that are on your hard drive. So is it fair to say that a virus cannot jump from your hard drive into the cloud.
Adam Alexander: Correct.
Adriana Linares: Okay so can you explain that real quick to us? Because OneDrive users and Dropbox users and box users and everything else users, we probably all have what is called selective sync. Which we’re saying okay, I’ll use OneDrive as example. I got half a terabyte of data out on OneDrive but my hard drive is only 125 gigs. So there’s no way my hard drive could actually contain the half a gig of data that I’ve got in the cloud.
So we do what’s called selective sync. We say, okay well to my local hard drive in case my internet goes down or I’m on an airplane, only download and synchronize the folder called client files. So on my hard drive, I only have client files but out on the web, out on OneDrive in the cloud, I have all my other files and so explain sort of I mean I kind of laid the groundwork for you, but explain there what I’m talking about and viruses specifically and encryption.
Adam Alexander: Right, yeah, that’s an important distinction. So it usually is called selective sync across all platforms and you can normally right click on a folder. Let’s say you’re in OneDrive on your computer and you right click on the folder and there’s usually an option that says like make offline or keep files offline. It’ll be along those lines somewhere. So if you select that option, if you just click on the one file or if you click on a whole folder, it’ll physically download that folder to your computer to sync locally.
And so it’s good for traveling, it’s good for things like if you’re constantly in a folder it’s good because it won’t be slow every time you open up or save a file or a close out a file and things like that because it will have to download and upload it every single time. You open it so it can be really efficient as far as just daily work getting in and out of folders and files.
The problem is it’s doing let’s call it a physical sync just for to make it easier it’s doing a physical sync from your computer to the cloud constantly. So anything that changes with those files on your computer will automatically sync to the cloud repository. So if you get a ransomware, it’s going to search your entire hard drive, it’s going to go through your whole OneDrive folder and it can’t touch the ones that are kept only online. But the ones that you would say keep offline that are let’s say again physically on your hard drive, even though it’s digital, it’s going to encrypt those because they’re actually on your hard drive and then OneDrive is going to say, oh all these files changed. I mean upload all these changes.
And so it’s going to upload all the encrypted files to your OneDrive and the cloud. And now your cloud database is now encrypted. So it’s an important distinction to me.
Adriana Linares: Not all of it, but specifically those files that were on the hard drive.
Adam Alexander: Only the ones that you say save online.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Adam Alexander: Right.
Adriana Linares: Okay. No that’s really helpful and an important distinction. I have more and more attorneys that are — the Internet is so reliable these days or worst case scenario, your Internet goes down. You connect to the hotspot on your phone. So I really do have more and more attorneys these days that are trying really, really hard to focus on being very cloud-based, they are really trusting the cloud and not keeping files on their hard drive. Okay. That’s awesome. That’s a very helpful tip.
Adam Alexander: Well really quick because you’re mentioning hotspots and things like that, please use a VPN. If you’re working at a hotel, if you’re working at Starbucks, I work at Starbucks all the time, I have a VPN setup to my home router directly. You can use online versions like Surfshark things like that. But if you’re working in a coffee shop, if you are working anywhere on a public Wi-Fi, please use a VPN to keep people out of your computer and honestly, even on the VPN try not to do anything financial regardless just to be safe.
We’re talking about using hotspots and things like that. So there are cell phone scanners, so using a hotspot, someone can still attach to your cell phone or hotspot. So it’s just a matter of just being safe as possible.
Adriana Linares: So that’s interesting. I’ve always thought that the hotspot on your phone or if you have a broadband card, which is what I tell everybody to get a broadband, a hotspot not from your phone, but you get through your cell phone provider, you get — they’re like little pucks. But what do you call them? I always call them a card but the card makes you think that it’s the size of a credit card. It’s not, it’s like the size of a small cell phone. I always thought those created a VPN for you.
Adam Alexander: I mean cell signals inherently have encryption involved. I would say using if you have an option between using an open Wi-Fi network and using a hotspot, your hotspot is going to be a lot better.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Adam Alexander: But there are always ways of getting around everything. So the safest way is using a VPN especially even more so if it’s one that you can control where you have VPN unlike your router at work where it’s your VPN, not Surfshark or nor VPN or anything like that. But yeah, if you can have your own personal VPN, that’s the safest way to go about it.
Adriana Linares: Okay, so that’s something that interests you attorneys and it should then you need to make sure you get that covered, look into that a little bit more. And so one last question for you on that Adam because I think I’m a little bit confused about this. My Windows security center, firewall and network protection is not a VPN.
Adam Alexander: No, that’s just your antivirus basically, your local antivirus, which includes firewall. The firewall will kind of — Windows has always had a firewall but it’s always been kind of like a basic firewall. That’s why some antiviruses will attached like you’re saying Norton will attach its own firewall and all that kind of stuff.
Now with Windows Defender, they’re always improving that stuff with the AI implementation into all that. Firewall is a little tricky because they can’t be so locked down, but you can’t go through the internet and do what you want to do.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Adam Alexander: Especially when you’re talking about just a Windows laptop or desktop and Microsoft doesn’t want to get a bunch of calls saying hey, I can’t go to the website I want to go to right, it’s pretty open, but that’s where the antivirus comes in because then if you download something then the antivirus can say hold on a second, that’s not right.
Adriana Linares: Before we move on to the next topic. I know we’re having a great conversation, but let’s stop and listen to a couple messages from some sponsors.
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Adriana Linares: All right, we’re back after a quick break. I’ve got Adam Alexander, my favorite IT guy here, doing a quick update for us on Microsoft 365 and other important topics. Adam, I know we’re coming up on time, but I wanted to ask you, you spend a lot of time helping attorneys with security from a payment processing perspective, PCI. So can you talk to us about that and the things we need to consider.
Adam Alexander: Yeah, so, and I get these too, where you get to actually have one, I have to do now for my payment processor. You get the PCI questionnaire and they’ll have you do a little scan and all that kind of stuff through their website.
Adriana Linares: And so let me put this in terms that most of us are going to understand. If you’re a LawPay user, every year LawPay sends you notification. It’s time for you to get PCI compliant. You need to click here and run through this security check and check a couple of boxes off, make sure you understand this and that. And by the way, when you don’t do that, ask me how I know LawPay charges you 1999 a month. They got me for $40 this year for failing to just follow up and click on that link and make sure I understand PCI compliance. So you’re right, Adam. A lot of times our service providers help us be PCI compliant. But tell us what else we need to know.
Adam Alexander: I want to say, it’s those questionnaires. They sometimes give you an option, do you do web sales? Do you have a web sale portal? And they’ll kind of break down what your business is. If you don’t do web sales, do not say you do any kind of online sales because your questionnaire will go from 30 questions to over 300 questions, and then you’re going to contact your IT guy like, why do they want to know all this stuff? It’s because they think you need to secure your website and all this.
Adriana Linares: Your store, your ecommerce store, which most of us do not have in the world of legal, some of you might if you’re selling books or videos or something, but most of us are probably not going to be running ecommerce through our websites.
Adam Alexander: Right. It’s wild how the questionnaire changes if you do ecommerce. But, yeah, so you’ll go on there, they’ll have a questionnaire. It’s usually, let’s say 30 to 50 questions, and then they’ll have some scanners that they do. Now, I will say this is for you processing credit cards, and it’s usually through the vendor, too. The vendor wants to make sure you’re secure so that the vendor doesn’t have issues on their end that they have to be responsible for. Now, there are other security platforms and things I would say, because this is New Solo, if you are an attorney looking — some things to consider, if you’re a new attorney coming in and you say, hey, I want to specialize in medical, be aware that you need to be HIPAA compliant to work with medical facilities. And a lot of times they’ll send you a questionnaire and say, hey, you need to meet all these regulations, and it may be basically just a full HIPAA report. And you have to do that every year and you have to be on top of it. If you want to do financial legal matters, yeah, you need to be PCI compliant yourself. And this is outside of something like LawPay. This is like a full PCI compliant setup with full security, full everything, because you’re responsible for everything you do for your clients. And so, if you get breached, you have to report it to your client and then they have to do a breach report saying, hey, yeah, it didn’t get through to us, we’re okay. And so they want to be sure you’re okay. And so it’s just things to be aware of sometimes. Let’s say you’re not specializing in medical, but you have medical client, they may just send you a questionnaire saying, hey, can you just meet these regulations? And it may just be like 10 things, 10-15 things. So it might not be that bad.
Adriana Linares: And I will say it sounds scary than it is when you look at what those requirements are. A lot of times you’re meeting them by using a service like Clio has HIPAA compliance level that you can add on monthly, and they’ll turn on some HIPAA compliance standards. I think we had Josh Lennon come on and talk about this on New Solo last year.
So if that’s something you want to hear about insofar as Clio, please go look for that episode. Of course, as I mentioned, LawPay helps you with their PCI compliance standards, and then if you need something beyond that, might need the help of an IT person. But Adam, I would guess that Microsoft has, and I’m pretty sure it has levels of security and compliance in meeting HIPAA standards or financial standards that you can upgrade your Microsoft subscriptions to include?
Adam Alexander: Yeah. And to kind of branch off what you’re saying is using platforms like Clio, using platforms like Microsoft 365 will wipe out a lot of these — not regulations. The regulations —
Adriana Linares: Will meet them.
Adam Alexander: It’ll meet the regulations and wipe out these requirements because it’ll say, hey, where are you storing your files? Is that HIPAA compliant? What security do they have? And you just say, hey, we’re using Clio, they’re compliant. And you just blast out that whole area of the questionnaire. And the Microsoft 365 defender will take care of a lot of those questions too. And actually, if you’ve seen recent insurance questionnaires for cybersecurity, they just say right on there. Are you using Microsoft ATP?
Adriana Linares: Awesome.
Adam Alexander: It is just right on there.
Adriana Linares: What we talked about earlier, by going into admin and then going into security and making sure that you’re, well, you’re going to have it at a basic level. But why not pay the extra bucks to get Microsoft defender, what were they calling it?
Adam Alexander: Yeah, I think Microsoft 365 defender.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. It is.
Adam Alexander: And then there are like two levels. One level has more reporting that might be going, but towards what you say, HIPAA, where it’ll do more of a breakdown. I think the XDR component, I haven’t seen it called that. They may have changed the name to XDR, but it goes into a more deep reporting where you can really track what happened with XYZ when it happened. So it does a lot more reporting, which would be into that HIPAA area, but really just for the everyday person, just get the $2 one that is the whole threat protection.
Adriana Linares: And that’s per user. Here’s what’s so confusing about this? Right. It was called Microsoft Defender on your Microsoft device. They took that name and put it into this cloud-based service. And now what was Microsoft Defender on our hard drives is now just called Windows security. So it’s confusing, but hopefully we explain it in a way that makes sense. And by the way, back to the Mac users, everything we talked about inside of office as far as this Microsoft Defender and your email and XDR, that is operating system agnostic. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a Mac user or a Windows user. Everything that’s happening through Microsoft 365 insofar as Defender and other security protections that they have for us, doesn’t matter if you’re a Mac user or Windows user because you’re using the Microsoft 365 services. I feel like we covered a lot today, Adam.
Adam Alexander: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: And probably ask you to come back again next year so we can cover some of the topics we didn’t get to today. And of course, keeping up with all this is just becoming harder than ever. I am having a hard time keeping up with everything. And I have to say in my 20 something years of doing this, I’ve never really had to say that because process and progress has been slow, but now they are really because the world is changing, technology is changing, threats are changing, people are getting smarter and meaner. I just feel like all these changes are coming at us faster and faster. I really want to thank you very much again for taking the time to help make us smarter with our devices. Remind everybody where they can find friend or follow you.
Adam Alexander: Yeah, you can always find me by email [email protected] phone 321-300-6383 and my extension is 101. And then just our website, internetworkit.com. And you can reach us through there, too.
Adriana Linares: And don’t forget to tell him you’re a friend of Adriana because that’s where you get the white glove service.
Adam Alexander: That’s right.
Adriana Linares: Thanks so much, Adam. We’re definitely going to have you back. And thanks everyone, for listening to another episode of New Solo. We’ll catch you next year. This is going to be the last episode for 2023. I wish everyone a really wonderful holiday season and a very prosperous 2024.
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