If you’re a Mac-using lawyer, Apple’s recently released OS X Lion has a new feature that single-handedly makes the upgrade worth the $29 price of admission.
FileVault 2 enables whole-disk encryption for OS X Lion computers with just a few clicks of the mouse. Whole disk encryption ensures the contents of your drive are only readable when you provide a valid username / password combination to the operating system. This means your entire computer’s hard drive will be encrypted, and thus unreadable, should it fall into the wrong hands.
I consider whole disk encryption a best practice for all lawyers, regardless of whether they happen to be using a desktop or laptop computer. Laptops, however, are at especially high risk of loss and/or theft, and should therefore always employ whole disk encryption.
Matthew Bookspan has an excellent write-up on how to enable FileVault 2 on Mac OS X Lion over on the MacLawyer blog. If you’re a Windows user, consider using the free, open-source TrueCrypt software for whole disk encryption.