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Mobile Device Management: What Can You Gain With It and Lose Without It?

Written by: Cameron G. Shilling

Published in New Hampshire Bar News (7/21/2021)

Practicing law today requires the use of mobile devices, like cellphones, tablets, and laptops. Yet, because of their mobility and value, there is an increased risk that these devices will be lost or stolen. Mobile device management (MDM) is the solution to mitigating that risk, and also provides law firms with other technological advantages.

Segregate Law Firm Data

MDM is a type of application installed on a mobile device. Once installed, the firm can configure the MDM to contain certain other applications and data. Simple MDMs house the email accounts that the firm issues to its employees. Those types of MDMs are commonly available within existing email platforms, including Microsoft Office 365 and Google.

More advanced MDMs facilitate containerization of not just email, but also data accessed or saved using other applications, such as electronic records retention systems and time entry and expense reimbursement applications (to name just a few). Additionally, unlike simple MDMs, more advanced MDMs can be installed on laptops as well as cellphones and tablets. Such advanced MDMs are available from certain email platforms, such as Microsoft Office 365’s Intune MDM, as well as from many established third party developers.

Implementing a MDM enables the firm to segregate its client, business, and other information on mobile devices used by employees from the personal and other information that employees retain on those devices. The application also encrypts the firm’s information within the MDM container on mobile devices.

Lost and Stolen Devices Result in Breach

Mobile devices contain a plethora of valuable sensitive information about us and our clients and firms. Lawyers commonly receive and retain that information in the form of email, attachments to email, data accessed on the Internet, information communicated in apps, and records accessed and saved on laptops. Today’s mobile devices have sizeable memory, retaining information long after it has been deleted and is inaccessible or unapparent to the user.

The loss or theft of a lawyer’s unencrypted mobile device results in a breach. State law requires us to notify affected individuals and regulators if the lost or stolen device contained personally identifiable information, such as a social security numbers, financial account numbers, governmental identification numbers, and passwords. Additionally, legal ethics are broader than state law, requiring lawyers to notify clients if the lost or stolen device contained information about clients. Implementing a MDM encrypts client and firm information on mobile devices, so that a lost or stolen device does not result in a breach.

MDMs Provide Other Advantages

In addition to preventing breach, MDM’s afford other advantages for firms to manage information on mobile devices. For example, MDMs can remotely de-credential the mobile device of a departing employee, preventing the employee from accessing, using, and disclosing any client or firm information in the MDM after the employee departures. Firms also can control and backup data within MDMs, preventing loss of work product due to device failures. MDMs similarly permit firms to properly log employee access and activity with respect to client and firm information, and to locate lost or stolen mobile devices.

Additionally, lawyers and law firms are ethically required to adopt reasonable security measures to prevent the loss and theft of client information. The features of MDMs are critical for firms to implement such safeguards with respect to mobile devices.

Lawyers rely heavily on cellphones, tablets, and laptops to sustain our practices. Given the importance of these devices and the sensitivity of the information that exists on them, we need to properly secure them through the use of MDM technology.

Integrity and trust

At McLane Middleton we establish and maintain long-standing relationships with our clients to help us better achieve their unique goals over time. This approach to building trust requires that our esteemed lawyers and professionals use their broad, in-depth knowledge and work together with integrity to ascertain sound resolutions to legal matters for their clients.

Strength in numbers

McLane Middleton is made up of more than 105 attorneys who represent a broad range of clients throughout the region, delivering customized solutions. As a firm we are recognized as having the highest legal ability rating. The firm is rated Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell and is recognized as one of the nation's leading law firms in Chambers USA. Our attorneys are distinguished leaders in their respective practice areas.

Meet Our People

Commitment and collaboration

McLane Middleton's versatile group of attorneys and paralegals become trusted authorities on each case through collaboration. We work with our clients to learn their individual needs first and foremost and, together, we develop comprehensive solutions to their specific legal matters. This approach helps us exceed our clients' expectations efficiently and effectively, client by client, case by case.

Practice Areas

A history of excellence

McLane Middleton was established in 1919 in New Hampshire, and has five offices across two states. However, deep historical roots don't allow you to become innate. Our firm is organized, technological, and knowledgeable. Our history means we are recognized. But our reputation is built on the highest quality of service and experience in very specific areas of law.

The Firm

Intelligence paired with action

Our team continuously seeks opportunities to enhance their professional development and put key learnings to action. The pursuit of further insight guides us to volunteer service opportunities, speaking engagements, and teaching roles. Our lawyers are sought after thought leaders across their industries, and recipients of leadership awards throughout the region.