Properly securing physical data before, during and after litigation often can be eclipsed by concerns about online “virtual” security issues. Agreed — firewalls, data encryption and password protection are vital safeguards. But another part of the story is how to properly secure and dispose of your hard drives, CDs, backup tapes, and obsolete hardware such as laptops, PCs, PDAs and thumb drives.

Ignoring physical data-security considerations is not only careless and irresponsible — it is just plain dangerous. Data exposures can lead to severe consequences from public relations, legal and financial standpoints, and can be especially precarious issues for law firms entrusted with safeguarding clients’ electronic data, along with their own. From a legal standpoint, allowing data to fall into the wrong hands can mean loss of claim to privilege or lead to malpractice allegations.

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