What Can Law Firms be Doing to Secure and Automate Their Practice?

Author: Daniel Lassell
January 30, 2019
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What Can Law Firms Be Doing to Secure and Automate Their Practice?

By Daniel Lassell | January 30, 2019

In the fifth podcast episode of InterVision’s Status Go, attorney, CEO and founder of Doxly, joins host Jeff Ton to talk about the ever-growing pressures on law firms to secure sensitive information and automate their daily practice responsibilities, which helps them compete in the modern landscape of legal representation.

Altman explains that she founded Doxly from being frustrated as an attorney with the typical legal transaction process. Her desire for efficiency led her to examine the role technology could play in making the life of a law firm and its employees easier. She notes that efficiency in law firms isn’t something that she alone desires. In fact, many in the legal industry wish to embrace new technologies but are concerned about the security risks—and rightfully so, given examples of modern-day breaches and widespread digital threats.

Security Incidents Can Shape Reputation

The risks of improperly sharing information is definitely worth the extra effort to share items securely. Security breaches could have lingering impacts on revenue growth for any law firm, since client retention depends heavily upon reputation, which means simply having insurance for incidents is not enough.

Altman shares examples of breaches that have happened recently and the reputational risks that come with any business practice. She says that IT leaders can help their attorneys keep cybersecurity top of mind by helping their firms understand the evolving risks. Data can be compromised when there’s a failure in email and technology usage. For this reason, firms should be asking more questions and focusing in on how to better protect their IT systems. Identifying which types of information a firm has, and asking how it should be shared, is a good beginning step.

Additionally, firms must have backup plans to ensure data protection, tools to enable faster attention to clients during crisis, and clearly-defined roles and steps should any detrimental event occur. Firms can reduce the risks of a cyber breach in a number of ways; read this white paper by InterVision for tips.

Problems with Sending Sensitive Material Via Email

Doxly’s recent eBook for the legal industry, “Technology Solutions Mitigate Risk of Data Disclosure,” explores how traditional technology practices often fail to meet standards of confidentiality, and how firms must be evolving to meet these challenges. Altman explains her thoughts behind its publication, describing how law firms don’t always consider the use of email versus other forms of communication. She says, “The risks that surround communicating information via email are dramatic and have potentially massive monetary issues.” Even though email represents one of the biggest communication avenues not only for law firms but every type of business, it isn’t necessarily secure. This is because cybercriminals have gotten far more savvy in recent years, posing as clients or firm employees to steal passwords, personal information, initiate wiring transactions, and much more. She claims this is why encryption technology and secure portals have become increasingly popular.

Finding Balance Between Security and Efficiency

It’s common to hear apprehension from law firms about being slowed down by security protocols. Altman says that email isn’t a bad communication method – it just might not be the best avenue for sensitive information. She states that for certain types of documents and exchange of information, there must be precautions taken and additional methods of communication considered.

Standard encryption protocols may not be the best form of communication where a lot of back and forth is anticipated. Altman says that simply asking, “What information demands an additional level of security?” can help law firms orient their employees toward more secure operations. Having a secure platform for exchanging information can facilitate scenarios where there’s a lot of back and forth anticipated. “It really comes down to the information you’re looking to share,” Altman says.

Why Should Automation Be Important to Law Firms?

The technology involved in automation allows law firms to harness greater speed in addressing security incidents, Altman claims. Embracing technology that serves to make operations more efficient will not only make firms more productive but assist in the adoption process. Not to mention, automation-based solutions will also help to establish the IT department as an innovator within the practice.

A growing number of clients are looking to obtain legal representation that matches the demands and expectations of the modern age, which means firms need to have communication options that include digital services. But firms must also be careful when embracing new solutions, laying out standards for using the technology. They should be prepared to answer common questions from clients surrounding security. For companies looking to retain legal services, Altman urges them to be putting these questions into their RFPs to hold law firms’ feet to the fire.

Facing the Future with Confidence

Altman closes the podcast by urging firms to understand the information they have and need to protect, which includes knowing what technology is available to protect that information. Adoption is another key hurdle. Good technology vendors will have a secure onboarding process, sharing risks along the way and how to categorize data (since not all data needs the same amount of protection). This careful approach to security in embracing new technologies will help the legal industry face challenges with greater confidence.

Securing and automating your law firm isn’t a one-and-done project. Instead, it’s an ongoing cycle of improvement to be sure you’re staying ahead of the competitive curve. Exploring your firm’s current vulnerabilities is a good place to start. When examining your IT stance, keep in mind that getting a secondary perspective is important, to be sure you’ve not missed anything – for example, you can’t see a whole painting if you’re too close to it. Requesting assistance from an expert consulting firm or performing an outside security audit is yet another way to stay resilient against evolving cyber threats.

Want to hear more from Haley Altman & Jeff Ton?