legal computer judge concept, lady justice isolated on white, 3D illustration.
legal computer judge concept, lady justice isolated on white, 3D illustration. (the-lightwriter)

The American Bar Association estimates that at least 80 percent of the largest 100 law firms (by revenue) have been hacked from 2011 through 2016. Yet this problem is seemingly unaddressed, according to the 2016 ILTA Technology Survey, which showed that firms are still quick to list security compliance/risk management as a top technology issue or annoyance.

A simple way to incorporate security features into a firm’s everyday practices can be as straightforward as tightening control of document related processes. With paper reigning supreme for legal firms of every size, a comprehensive document management approach, incorporating the latest technology solutions, can be critical in helping to achieve a legal firm’s security and compliance goals.

While firms may view facets of document management, namely security aspects, as a nuisance, the fact of the matter is that the need for workflow security components goes much deeper than simply meeting compliance requirements. A security breach that results in the loss of sensitive client information can also result in a loss of trust between client and attorney, potentially tarnishing the reputation of the firm. Additionally, regulatory fines associated with deceptive or unfair practices or a breach of client personal data may further erode the viability of a thriving firm.

According to a study conducted by International Data Corp., security threats cost the average company $1.3 million per year (excluding major breaches) with 80 percent of organizations surveyed expecting to suffer at least one successful attack requiring serious remediation. While a data breach can happen to virtually any type of organization, these potential ramifications should cause firms to consider the costs. In the course of a workday, firms send and transfer an incredible amount of information.

As these physical and digital records are handled, firms should ask themselves, “How can we be confident this information is seen only by those entrusted?”

Panama Papers Reveal the Legal Industry’s Secret

Unfortunately, hacking and data leaks are not new (or even rare) in the legal space, but the 2016 Panama Papers leak captured the public’s attention due to the sheer scale of the attack, as well as the salacious nature of the information leaked that involved prominent business and government figures from around the globe. The incident exposed a fact that many industry insiders have known for a long time: Law firms can be particularly vulnerable regarding security, through documents or otherwise. Moreover, the attack came amid a growing awareness that hackers and other cybercriminals have already begun to identify law firms as a soft target.

Industry experts speculate that due to the repercussions associated with disclosing a breach event, the number of firms hacked might be even higher. Hackers are aware that legal firms transfer vast amounts of vital client and company information in the form of both paper and electronic documents.

Accordingly, as these documents move throughout the organization, firms must take critical steps to help them restrict access only to those who absolutely need the information to complete their duties. This security access strategy should encompass all devices and systems that may be used to distribute company information, including multifunction printers, printers and scanners.

Balancing Productivity and Aspects of Document Security

Unfortunately, the drive for productivity may spur individuals within a practice to forego best practices, when handling their clients’ sensitive materials. In many cases, the process for integrating paper into case workflow is reactive and built in an ad-hoc nature in response to immediate needs and might not include proper vetting or consideration of exposure.

Two potential security vulnerabilities frequently emerge when law firms seek to restrict access to documents: storing information only in the form of hard copies and utilizing untrusted, unsanctioned scan repositories. The practice of retaining information in paper documents without a digitized copy can expose firms to risks of loss due to negligence, disaster and theft with little recourse for recovery or accountability. Storing a sensitive document only in paper form removes the option for a backup, as these hard copies are often the only original. Additionally, it fails to provide insight into accountability in terms of chain of custody, the number of users accessing the document, when the document was most recently accessed or if the user was authorized to view or modify the document.

When firms begin to digitize their operations, users may begin taking initiative and scanning documents into potentially unsecure repositories such as email or unsanctioned consumer grade cloud file servers. The risks associated with this type of behavior could far outweigh the productivity benefits. While the convenience of email and cloud storage might seem advantageous, they are not without their vulnerabilities. These potential gaps in the system can enable hackers to access documents without physical access and might even allow them to steal valuable information without the user or firm knowing the breach occurred at all.

Each File Can Change the Fate of a Business

For firms looking to transform their document management, it’s important to start with a strong foundation. A good first step is to establish a functional go-forward process that accommodates the volume of existing material and does not hinder workflow. Secondly, firms should not hesitate to utilize an outside expert consultant or managed document services strategy when getting started. Establishing firmwide policies is often regarded as the most challenging element to implement and may require a custom design based on the firm’s practice areas.

Initiating policies and solutions that also recognize and consider regulatory compliance goals allows firms to take a preemptive position. This might mean time and investment costs up front, however it’s more economical to be proactive rather than waiting until there is a problem to remediate or a regulatory violation cost is incurred. Additionally, this prevents probable harm to the firm’s reputation.

Each individual paper and every file has the potential to change the future of your business. There’s no time like the present to make the necessary security upgrades that are foundational to you and your clients.

Copyright Legal Tech News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The American Bar Association estimates that at least 80 percent of the largest 100 law firms (by revenue) have been hacked from 2011 through 2016. Yet this problem is seemingly unaddressed, according to the 2016 ILTA Technology Survey, which showed that firms are still quick to list security compliance/risk management as a top technology issue or annoyance.

A simple way to incorporate security features into a firm’s everyday practices can be as straightforward as tightening control of document related processes. With paper reigning supreme for legal firms of every size, a comprehensive document management approach, incorporating the latest technology solutions, can be critical in helping to achieve a legal firm’s security and compliance goals.

While firms may view facets of document management, namely security aspects, as a nuisance, the fact of the matter is that the need for workflow security components goes much deeper than simply meeting compliance requirements. A security breach that results in the loss of sensitive client information can also result in a loss of trust between client and attorney, potentially tarnishing the reputation of the firm. Additionally, regulatory fines associated with deceptive or unfair practices or a breach of client personal data may further erode the viability of a thriving firm.

According to a study conducted by International Data Corp., security threats cost the average company $1.3 million per year (excluding major breaches) with 80 percent of organizations surveyed expecting to suffer at least one successful attack requiring serious remediation. While a data breach can happen to virtually any type of organization, these potential ramifications should cause firms to consider the costs. In the course of a workday, firms send and transfer an incredible amount of information.

As these physical and digital records are handled, firms should ask themselves, “How can we be confident this information is seen only by those entrusted?”

Panama Papers Reveal the Legal Industry’s Secret

Unfortunately, hacking and data leaks are not new (or even rare) in the legal space, but the 2016 Panama Papers leak captured the public’s attention due to the sheer scale of the attack, as well as the salacious nature of the information leaked that involved prominent business and government figures from around the globe. The incident exposed a fact that many industry insiders have known for a long time: Law firms can be particularly vulnerable regarding security, through documents or otherwise. Moreover, the attack came amid a growing awareness that hackers and other cybercriminals have already begun to identify law firms as a soft target.

Industry experts speculate that due to the repercussions associated with disclosing a breach event, the number of firms hacked might be even higher. Hackers are aware that legal firms transfer vast amounts of vital client and company information in the form of both paper and electronic documents.

Accordingly, as these documents move throughout the organization, firms must take critical steps to help them restrict access only to those who absolutely need the information to complete their duties. This security access strategy should encompass all devices and systems that may be used to distribute company information, including multifunction printers, printers and scanners.

Balancing Productivity and Aspects of Document Security

Unfortunately, the drive for productivity may spur individuals within a practice to forego best practices, when handling their clients’ sensitive materials. In many cases, the process for integrating paper into case workflow is reactive and built in an ad-hoc nature in response to immediate needs and might not include proper vetting or consideration of exposure.

Two potential security vulnerabilities frequently emerge when law firms seek to restrict access to documents: storing information only in the form of hard copies and utilizing untrusted, unsanctioned scan repositories. The practice of retaining information in paper documents without a digitized copy can expose firms to risks of loss due to negligence, disaster and theft with little recourse for recovery or accountability. Storing a sensitive document only in paper form removes the option for a backup, as these hard copies are often the only original. Additionally, it fails to provide insight into accountability in terms of chain of custody, the number of users accessing the document, when the document was most recently accessed or if the user was authorized to view or modify the document.

When firms begin to digitize their operations, users may begin taking initiative and scanning documents into potentially unsecure repositories such as email or unsanctioned consumer grade cloud file servers. The risks associated with this type of behavior could far outweigh the productivity benefits. While the convenience of email and cloud storage might seem advantageous, they are not without their vulnerabilities. These potential gaps in the system can enable hackers to access documents without physical access and might even allow them to steal valuable information without the user or firm knowing the breach occurred at all.

Each File Can Change the Fate of a Business

For firms looking to transform their document management, it’s important to start with a strong foundation. A good first step is to establish a functional go-forward process that accommodates the volume of existing material and does not hinder workflow. Secondly, firms should not hesitate to utilize an outside expert consultant or managed document services strategy when getting started. Establishing firmwide policies is often regarded as the most challenging element to implement and may require a custom design based on the firm’s practice areas.

Initiating policies and solutions that also recognize and consider regulatory compliance goals allows firms to take a preemptive position. This might mean time and investment costs up front, however it’s more economical to be proactive rather than waiting until there is a problem to remediate or a regulatory violation cost is incurred. Additionally, this prevents probable harm to the firm’s reputation.

Each individual paper and every file has the potential to change the future of your business. There’s no time like the present to make the necessary security upgrades that are foundational to you and your clients.

Copyright Legal Tech News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.