The Cactus Quarterly Newsletter - 4th Qtr 2020 Print

President's Report

Who is ready for 2020 to be history? What a crazy year it has been for all of us! March and April seemed to last 100 days while the rest of the year has flown by so quickly and here we are in the 4th quarter of the year.

I proud to say that the Board has worked hard to provide ways for us to stay connected via zoom with our trivia nights, education opportunities and other activities. In July we had the unique opportunity to have a virtual Chapter Leadership Institute (CLI). It gave us the ability to have more of our chapter leaders attend this great event that was spread out over 10 days.

September was busy with a great presentation on Implicit Bias and the Practice of Law by Ray English, Assist Dean at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU and having Lynda Shely give a quick presentation on the Arizona rule changes regarding the Regulation of the Practice of Law effective January 1, 2021.

Join us in finishing out the month on October 27th with a panel discussion titled:  Recruiting and Hiring During COVID-19.  

We are currently working on a location for an in-person Holiday Party on December 3rd.  We are looking at an outdoor patio area where we can social distance, but still see each other.  Be sure to check out the Chapter’s calendar of events on the website so you don’t miss out. 

Stay Safe and Healthy!

Jerri Buchtel
President, ALA Arizona Chapter

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Business Partner Spotlight


Thank you for your continued support!

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I've missed my ALA

Everyone I talk to says the same thing – what a crazy, volatile year and that is true for me as well, both personally and professionally!  Handling this pandemic at times has been unnerving, overwhelming and unpredictable! 

On the flip side, it has also been a time of personal and professional growth and improvement.  I, for one, have learned so much on how to handle large scale projects that affect multiple offices, issues dealing with organizing an entire workforce to work remotely, how best to market an office effectively in a virtual landscape, keeping up with finances, and most importantly, staying connected with those I work with and making sure they are feeling supported and cared for daily.

That is what got me thinking about my fellow colleagues.  I can only imagine you are likely experiencing the same roadblocks, challenges and successes.  I have been a member of the ALA for the last 10 years, and as most of you know, very involved with the local Chapter, on the Board for 7 years and ultimately serving as Chapter President – accomplishments that I am very proud of. 

For now, we all agree it may be best not to hold in-person events, but that does not mean we can’t connect virtually and reach out to one another on a more consistent basis.

For me, re-joining and re-engaging in the Chapter helps me to do just that.  After taking a break over the last year from many of the organizations where I was a member, I recently participated in the Lemonade conference which our Chapter graciously paid for, as well as the attending the virtual meeting on AZ Rule Changes re Regulation of the Practice of Law.  I saw so many familiar faces and realized I was right back where I should be! 

Of course, I can’t forget the Business Partners who have always been an irreplaceable support in my every day job.  Even when I am not able to engage their services, they never seem to back away from being an amazing resource by offering suggestions and answering questions.  They keep our finger on the pulse of the ever-changing products and services available to law firms.  This is definitely one of the areas I look forward to catching up on!

The ALA is a great place to ask questions, learn new skills, collaborate on issues, share successes and make long-lasting friends.  When I paid my dues and re-joined, I was received with a huge welcome back, we missed you!

That reminded me our local Chapter is more than just belonging to an organization you have to pay yearly dues to …. rather it means being part of a group of really smart people and friendly faces you can always rely on.

Thank you Arizona Chapter - So happy to be back!

Gina Sanfillippo
Office Administrator
602.474.3602 direct, 602.309.6928 mobile
[email protected]

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Total Networks

What does data encryption mean and what does it do?

Encryption means "hidden." Specifically, encryption is used to keep confidential information private by scrambling all the ones and zeros to make them appear like gibberish unless you have the key used to perform the scrambling. This key (a special code) is kept private so that you are the only one that has it. With the key, your information looks just like you would expect it to look. Without the key, the data is worthless, it is meaningless. There is a certain amount of technology behind the scenes where you often may not know the actual key used to perform the encryption, but this key is essential both to keep the data private and to allow you to access it.

Encryption at Rest versus Encryption in Transit

There are two major types of encryption:

  1. encryption at rest
  2. encryption in transit

Encryption at rest means that information is saved to a hard drive by a computer program that uses a key to scramble the data just before it actually writes the information. Some common examples of encryption are encrypted laptop hard drives and encrypted mobile phones. Laptops and mobile phones are very portable and easily stolen, so they are commonly encrypted to ensure that your data won't be compromised if they are lost or stolen. A thief may steal the device, but they won't have the key so it will be worthless. The most common type of laptop encryption uses Microsoft Bitlocker to perform this encryption and the unlocking happens automatically by using your password to log into the PC. Unless someone knows your password, they generally won't get access to the information on the laptop, so make sure you are using a good password and never write it down on a sticky note that might get stolen along with the laptop.

Encryption in transit is data that is being transmitted, generally over the internet. When you log into your bank's secure website to manage your account, you are using encryption to keep the information strictly between you and your bank. This is used to protect email being transmitted via Office 365 as well. There are many places where encryption in transit is required to keep your information safe.

How Do You Know Something Is Encrypted?

When you go to a secure website, you will generally see a lock in your browser to indicate that the website you are working with is encrypted. The web address will also technically start with "https" instead of just "http." The 's' is used to indicate that the site is secure. Most modern mobile phones will be encrypted by default so long as you supply a PIN. However, you will want to verify that by reviewing the phone settings. Many modern laptops have the native ability to be encrypted, but will generally not be encrypted by default. If you have sensitive information on that laptop, this can be very dangerous.

Managing technology and security involves many things. Checklists are helpful to ensure that you are doing all the things that you need to be doing. Ask your IT provider about encryption. If they are already talking with you about encryption that is a good sign that they are keeping up with the times and are being proactive. If they have not spoken with you about encryption that is a red flag that your IT provider might not be doing all that they should be doing to take care of your security. Ask about what you are doing with regards to encryption at as well as encryption in transit. If you want to be serious about security, set aside at least one meeting a year to review your security, review your checklist. What are your top threats? What are you doing to manage those threats? Encryption should be one of many things on the list of things that you review.

Dave Kinsey, Total Networks

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Corporate Interior Systems

Hello ALA People,

Long time Furniture guy to the ALA here!

I would like to talk about design firms for a minute. There are many Administrators with extensive experience in furniture remodels, if you do have extensive experience then this will be review for you.

The question is always should you contract your design firm to do your furniture and test fits? The answer is yes, and for these reasons:

  1. Design firms are constantly being introduced to new products by factory reps and dealer reps. This means they see and understand how products are designed to work in your space.
  2. The design firms are already doing the test fits for you in most cases.
  3. The knowledge they have on all aspects of your remodel can prevent mistakes and some of them BIG!
  4. They will gather samples and put together your project boards including products for floors, walls, ceiling treatments, furniture, lighting, and many other products you might need.

Here are some things design firms have expressed are important to them in the process:

  1. Releasing the firm to execute the project and define the role of design.
  2. Define decision-makers & expectations (partners or committee).
  3. Be open-minded in the process, offices are changing more than ever before because of technology.
  4. Have a budget of some kind to work within and share that information.
  5. Does the support staff have to be built in? There are ways to work with the landlord to get it done so it is versatile.
  6. Are you making room for community and private space?
  7. During the design firm interview process have plenty of questions, this leads to more questions and answers.

Steve Ferradino Jr.
Senior Account Manager 602.309.3909
[email protected]

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Save the Date for ALA Right Now: A Virtual Conference

This online event has a flexible format for your busy schedule

ALA is excited to announce another fall event: the ALA Right Now: The Virtual Conference, taking place November 17–19.

This event was designed to appeal to workplace leaders (and legal management professionals striving to take on leadership roles) with content that will help them weather the storm and build a stronger business. As such, the format is meant to accommodate busy schedules — each day will have just two education sessions, one at 10 a.m. Central and the other at 2 p.m. Central.

Here’s what you can expect each day to focus on:

  • Tuesday, November 17: Risk management, e.g. keeping your office safe and overseeing organizational risk issues
  • Wednesday, November 18: Remote work, including managing teams and future implications for your firm
  • Thursday, November 19: Resilience, both personal and organizational

Registration will include virtual attendance and session recordings. Stay tuned for more information!

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ALA Resources and Useful Links


The ALA Arizona Chapter website has a new tool call the “Forum.” The forum is a way to engage between members with discussion threads on the ALA Arizona Chapter StarChapter website. 

The “forum” is a drop down under the “Member Area” on the main website page, which is restricted to members only.

To post a thread, any member can go to “Member Area”, then “Forum”, then “Start A Thread”. A small pop-up box will ask for the member to provide a “Thread Title” and enter the “New Thread Content”. 

The person can then decide if they want to receive emails whenever a new post to the thread has been completed by checking the “Email me updates on this thread”.

To post a replay choose “Leave a Reply”
Please contact Teresie Zmyslinski, if you need assistance.

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