01 Feb 2015

The Encrypted Trustee: Compliance and Best Practices

0 Comment

Tech Tip:

The Encrypted Trustee: Compliance and Best Practices

Last year, the EOUST set a May 1, 2014 deadline for Chapter 7 trustee offices to encrypt all laptops, external hard drives and USB (flash/thumb) drives that contain data related to the administration of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. That date has come and gone, and you can congratulate yourself for having taken the necessary steps to become compliant with the encryption requirements set forth in the Chapter 7 Handbook.

Deadlines are stressful and can make any task seem overwhelming. With the task completed, it’s now possible to look back and appreciate that the encryption requirements were limited to a subset of computer equipment—only laptops and drives that leave or could leave the office, and not desktops or servers.

As you may recall, in previous emails and newsletters, we provided you with several options for how to meet the encryption requirements. While multiple methods of encryption are available to you, some are definitely better than others.

Now that you’re safely past the encryption deadline, you may want to check to see if the processes you adopted when working with encrypted drives reflect current best practices. Follow our tips to optimize your work processes:

Tip #1 – Remember your Encryption Password

It is critical that you remember this password (and keep it in a safe, secure place), as once this password is set and the contents of the drive are encrypted, you MUST use this password to access the machine. If you forget the password, your drive, data, etc. will be inaccessible and result in a total data loss that cannot be recovered by BMS or another IT professional. All data, applications and documents will have to be re-loaded from your backup.

Tip #2 – Embrace the Cloud rather than External Hard Drives for Backups

If you think that you’re more protected by backing up your data to an encrypted external hard drive versus using a cloud-based backup service, think again. Last month, we reminded you why backing up your data to the cloud is better for your practice. Now is the time to make that switch.

Tip #3 – Retire your USB (flash/thumb) Drives

If you’re using a portable or USB drive to transfer files from one computer to another (such as with exports for 341(a) meetings), switch to using a network drive or Dropbox to transfer that data. Both are fast, secure and simple solutions. If you choose Dropbox, the 2GB no-cost storage account should be enough space to transfer your CaseLink LITE or HTML export onto a laptop for 341(a) meetings.

For a quick reminder of why BMS recommends the use of Dropbox to transfer folders or a network drive, read our article, 5 Reasons to Use Alternatives to Encrypted Portable Devices.