A law firm IT administrator needs to wear a lot of hats to be successful. Network maintenance, third-party vendor management, and data security are just a few of the responsibilities.
Data security is a common top priority due to the volume and nature of information that is handled during legal review. A workflow solution designed for document control and security can help law firms limit access to private client data without adding a lot of work to overwhelmed IT teams.
Choosing the right solution for your firm can be time consuming. Here are five important features to consider when implementing a secure, easy-to-manage document control solution.
Leverage a secure content ecosystem with regulated workflows, defined access perimeters, and comprehensive oversight. Authorized employees can access documents based on their assigned privileges, and content interactions should be logged for accountability. A comprehensive ecosystem should provide users with a means to securely interact with their clients’ sensitive materials (even those that originate in paper form), minimize its productivity footprint, and give administrators workflow oversight and management controls.
Security policies related to documents are common among law firms, and there are different solutions in the market. Not all of them meet the above criteria.
MOST COMMON TYPES OF SECURITY POLICIES AT LAW FIRMS
documents/ record management and retention
internet use/ computer use
Technology, document-workflow solutions, and office equipment that has easy-to-use, built-in security features (such as badge scanners on printers) can enhance security efforts because user compliance tends to be higher.
If security requirements are cumbersome—or there is no time or resources to train employees—people may be tempted to use less-secure workarounds. It’s especially important that office equipment has security features that are transparent to the user and are not disruptive.
A Data Breach Could Cost More Than $7 million
Average cost of breach of private data for U.S. organizations in 2017
Root Causes of a Data Breach in 2017*
malicious or criminal attack
Source: Ponemon Institute 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study, June 2017
*based on benchmark sample
Activist groups, disgruntled employees or clients, and cyber criminals have many means of accessing client information. They could take client documents from anywhere at any time: a desktop, a laptop, a mobile device, a table in a copier room, or during a file-sharing session.
An effective document management and security solution should provide quick access to details about a document, such as who accessed it last, what they did with it and when.
Even if no private client information is in jeopardy, having fast and extensive document traceability can be an important capability for helping to limit accidental exposure because it can provide quick insight on what happened when a document is misfiled or missing.
Law Firms: Top 10 Cybersecurity Threats IN 2017
Lack of security awareness
3rd party providers and cloud systems
Human accidental error
Weak or lacking password management
Remote workers’ variable security standards
You can require user authentication when documents will leave or will be accessed from outside of the ecosystem; for example, when documents are shared with outside council and are viewed on a mobile device, or when copies are ready for output at a printer.
This can be a key capability as both clients and law partners expect on-the-go document accessibility as mobile device use increases.
Smartphone Usage is Exploding
of Americans own smartphones.
Source: Pew Research Center, “Mobile Fact Sheet,” January 12, 2017
Law firms are dealing with numerous challenges that are prompting transitions, according to 2017 Altman Weil research. Sixty-five percent of surveyed firms reported that demand for legal services is not back to pre-recession levels, but more than half believe headcount growth is a requirement for continued success.
Finding a solution that can grow with a firm can minimize the need to change technologies as their needs change. Look for solutions that:
More Users to Monitor and Train?
firm partners believe headcount growth is a requirement
IT administrators don’t need to take on a painful project to help limit access to private client information. Easy-to-implement and manage document workflow systems can provide a consolidated ecosystem for documents with a variety of security options that can be configured to align with firm security and compliance policies; offer single-view visibility into what’s happening with client documents; as well as give control to IT or office administrators to help limit and manage document access and activities.