King & Spalding blocks employee access to personal email accounts, but offers an alternative

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Citing security concerns, a major law firm has blocked its workers from accessing their personal email on its computers.

In a memo to employees on Monday, King & Spalding said it had been advised by consultants that accessing personal email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail from the law firm’s computers “creates a significant security risk.” Hence, as of May 1, workers will be blocked from doing so—and should not do so, even if for some reason they are not blocked from doing so. The ban includes accessing personal email from firm laptops even if they are not using the firm’s computer system, the memo notes.

Above the Law blogged about the memo and posted a copy of the law firm’s email.

“The firm’s computer systems hold confidential information about our clients and the firm and, as you know from reading articles in the press, individual users who innocently click on malicious e-mails are often the cause of security breaches,” the memo tells employees. “We need your help in protecting our systems by following this and other security related policies, even when you can do things that you are not supposed to do.”

However, access to personal email is not lost for those with personal laptops and electronic devices at the office, the memo points out. A special wireless network has been installed in each office that employees can use for this purpose.

Some clients do require law firm personnel to use accounts such as Gmail, the memo notes, and says employees should contact the firm for help determining how best to handle such issues.

“When it comes to our internal operations, it is our policy that we don’t comment publicly,” Les Zuke told the ABA Journal, when contacted about the memo. He is the law firm’s director of communications.

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