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Vol. 43, No. 4

2018 Benchmarks Survey: New questions ask about data security, workplace security

With any survey that is done regularly over a number of years, there can be great value in comparing the most recent data against results from past reports. At the same time, it can also be useful when this type of research project continues to move forward, adding new questions that relate to new concerns, or ones that have gained greater prominence.

That’s true of the 2018 State and Local Bar Benchmarks Survey: Membership, Administration and Finance, recently published by the ABA Division for Bar Services. While many of the questions are identical to those in past years, allowing helpful comparisons in things like budget size and membership numbers, among the questions in the most recent survey are entirely new sections on two important concerns: data security and workplace security.

There are some interesting variations in the ways that bars of different structure and size attempt to secure their data. For example, while 75 percent of respondents from mandatory state bars with more than 50,000 members have two-factor authentification in place, this is true of just 20 percent of respondents from voluntary state bars with more than 20,000 members. Also, while 61 percent of respondents from mandatory state bars say that their bar has up-to-date anti-virus or anti-malware software, just 44 percent of voluntary state bars and 43 percent of local bars say the same. Mandatory state bars are much more likely than voluntary state bars or local bars to require that passwords be reset at regular intervals: 67 percent, 50 percent, and 38 percent, respectively.

There were also significant differences in workplace security measures. For example, 100 percent of respondents from bars in the following categories said that access to the bar’s space requires a keycard: mandatory state bars with more than 50,000 members, mandatory state bars with 20,000 to 49,999 members, and voluntary state bars with 10,000 to 19,999 members. Percentages for all other categories were much lower and didn’t always correspond to bar size in predictable ways; for example, just 40 percent of respondents from voluntary state bars with more than 20,000 members indicated keycards as a security measure.

How else are bars working to secure their data and their workplaces—and what key trends emerge in the answers to the questions that have also been asked in previous surveys? Order your copy of Benchmarks for all the data, plus helpful analysis.