“Lawyers shouldn’t use any Google services in their law practices.” Sometime in the previous months, you’ve heard the statement thrown out. The fact is, because of Google’s ever-present server scanning, lawyers are afraid that using Google’s Gmail or Drive services somehow compromises confidentiality. Admittedly, there are legitimate concerns with cloud storage services.
However, the more I read and learn about the risks and rewards, the more I’m convinced that even non-Google services stand a chance for hacking. I’m also convinced that if you’re worried about spying or inappropriate disclosures, then you probably shouldn’t put that information into the cloud.
But there are ways to combat spying and protect data that’s sent into the web-o-sphere, including quick and easy encryption.
Get simple and strong encryption with Viivo
I officially met the Viivo folks at ABA Techshow, but our “affection” for each other came after this series of tweets back and forth:
— Jeffrey Taylor (@jeffrey_taylor) March 25, 2014
— Jeffrey Taylor (@jeffrey_taylor) March 25, 2014
— Viivo (@VIIVOkey) March 25, 2014
I love when companies interact with customers on social media, so being able to meet and greet these folks at ABA Techshow was an added bonus.
I’ve used Viivo off and on again for over 1 year, but haven’t really delved into the program until recently. Mainly, I wished Viivo had a useable, non-“Crash City,” Android app. Fortunately, that’s now available.
Here’s a little video about Viivo:
Fortunately, as the video shows, Viivo works well to secure files for storage in the cloud. Plus, with the accompanying Android app, secure encryption on your mobile device is simply a click away. More importantly, Viivo gives the user the encryption key, which helps ensure added protection against intrusion. You can check out Viivo’s explanation of their security or how attorneys can use Viivo. I also like Viivo’s terms and conditions, which are fairly straight forward and simple.
Viivo works with Email, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and SkyDrive.
A straight forward approach
Viivo adds a folder to your desktop where you can dump files and data for encryption.
Viivo automatically encrypts the files, then syncs with your cloud provider. You’ll see the Viivo folder to indicate which file’s encrypted.
Or, if you’re viewing folders as a list, you’ll see the .viivo extension.
Try opening the file without Viivo and you’ll get an error message.
This really stinks when you’re trying to view cloud-based documents from a browser (Chromebook especially), so be cautious. Currently, there’s no Chrome extension to decrypt the file from the browser, but hopefully that might come in the future.
Mobile users rejoice
Thankfully, you’re not so far out of luck, since Viivo has an Android app to decrypt the files. You’ll also find that opening the files is as simple as opening the cloud app (in my case Drive), clicking the encrypted Viivo file, and selecting Viivo when Android asks how you want to open the file.
Click “Always” to have Android always associate this file extension with Viivo app.
Additionally, Android might ask you what program you’ll use to open the file if have more than one document reader on your device.
I should note that I got a little confused the first time I tried decrypting a document, since the process returned me back to the Viivo app to complete the final opening. Just remember: Open Drive (or the cloud provider) > Open the file in Drive > Choose “Open with Viivo” > Wait 2-3 seconds > Choose “Open with [document program].” You should end up with an open document or file in whatever app you selected.
Viivo only works one way
Unfortunately, but maybe I couldn’t figure out the process, you can’t encrypt documents or files from the Viivo mobile app. In other words, Viivo’s mobile app is decrypt only, so please refrain from sending a billion comments on how that process works.
So what’s the catch? It costs $100 per month, right?
The greatest feature of Viivo is that it’s affordable, regardless of your plan.
At $9.99 per month for a business plan, every attorney should grab his or her subscription. In fact, you can buy additional licenses for all members of your team for $119.99 per user, per year.
But, since I know attorneys are cheap — you’re already thinking, “I’ll just use the personal plan for commercial use” — if you visit this page, you can grab and introductory year of Viivo Pro for $1.
You’ll definitely want to know two things: 1) privacy is dead; and 2) the NSA is watching everyone at all times. If you’re using the cloud to provide a great experience to your clients, then you’re obligated to protect their data you store in the cloud. Not only should you inform the clients of the risks of email and cloud services, but you should encourage your clients to use every means necessary to communicate securely through those services. Viivo is a cheap way to handle one portion of keeping a secure latch on client data. Oh, and did I forget to mention that PKWARE, the company behind Viivo, gave us ZIP? Yeah, it’s that good.
Viivo gets 4.5 of 5 stars for its simple system and peace-of-mind.