Law firms face significant risks when it comes to file sharing, particularly when safeguarding client documents and information from hackers. Why would a file-sharing solution and secure communication system be necessary for a law firm? It is crucial for law firms due to the utmost importance of attorney-client privilege. Using unsecured email poses a threat to client confidentiality. This article provides tips on sharing legal documents securely and reliably communication within and outside your organization.
A Few Words About the Importance of Secure File Sharing for Law Firms
The 2019 Solo and Small Firm Tech Report by the American Bar Association revealed that less than 50% of respondents utilize encryption for file transfers, email transmission, data storage, or hacking prevention. This statistic is concerning when considering the sensitivity of attorney-client communications. A data breach exposing confidential client information could have catastrophic consequences. Therefore, lawyers and law firms have a responsibility to uphold attorney-client privilege as mandated by the ABA.
The ABA has established certain requirements, including:
● Rule 1.1 entails providing competent representation for clients and managing privilege through secure communications.
● Rule 1.4 emphasizes protecting client communication regarding representation and decision-making.
● Rule 1.6 necessitates maintaining confidentiality for client data and communication-related to their legal case.
The ABA article highlights that un-encrypted email remains the primary mode of communication and file sharing employed by law firms, which poses a threat to client confidentiality and violates ABA ethical concerns.
How to Secure Collaborations in Law Firms?
#1 Integrate ERP Software
Legal firms use ERP software to automate essential processes, boosting efficiency and productivity. Implementing such a system grants complete control over operations and fosters transparency across all departments. This software supports continuous management of both internal and external operations, resulting in a cohesive and streamlined environment.
Key functionalities include:
● Tracking budgets and managing finances
● Managing lawyers and staff
● Handling client communication and management
● Managing cases and matters
● Generating invoices and tracking payments
● Integrated document management and storage
● Automated reminders and notifications
● Advanced reporting and analytics
Law firms should recognize the strategic importance of technology in driving efficiency and innovation within the legal sector when considering ERP adoption. By embracing ERP solutions, firms can improve operational efficiency, ensure data security, and provide exceptional client-centered services. To position themselves as efficiency and innovation leaders and better tackle today’s legal market challenges, firms must have a strong commitment to achieving these goals.
#2 Use Secure Email
Some ways allow you to exchange email securely. Moreover, you can even remain anonymous if conditions require it. Do you know how to send an anonymous email? Well, this is quite a lengthy question, so you better read about secret email in detail in another article linked above. In short, one of the tools is a VPN, you can also use VPN in free trial mode. It allows you to maintain anonymity and secrecy even in email services.
Using modern email encryption grants users the ability to encrypt not just emails, but also their attachments. However, there’s a caveat: encrypted emails function bidirectionally, requiring both you and your clients to employ the same encryption and decryption methods for all communications. If the encryption technology employed by the sender proves cumbersome, a lawyer or a client may seek out an unencrypted alternative.
#3 Transition to Cloud-Based Document Sharing Platforms
Dropbox is widely used by lawyers for consumer document sharing. According to the American Bar Association’s 2020 Legal Technology Survey Report, 67% of respondents rely on Dropbox for document sharing.
Dropbox offers robust security features that facilitate safe collaboration on casework. Users can conveniently access documents anytime through various interfaces, including desktop, web, and mobile. By utilizing block server technology, Dropbox encrypts and synchronizes only the edited or modified blocks of document files, enhancing protection beyond its secure servers.
With its extensive safety and security functionality, Dropbox is a top choice for firms prioritizing secure document sharing.
Another favored cloud-based document-sharing tool among lawyers is Box. Similar to Dropbox, Box provides extensive security capabilities and stands out with its advanced features. It supports the sharing of large files, including zipped folders, with previews available for over 120 file types, including commonly used Word, Excel, and PDF files.
Box seamlessly integrates with various business software, such as Microsoft Office, Outlook, Google Apps for Work, Salesforce, DocuSign, and CaseFox—the popular law practice management software.
You can also use document management software for law firms that not only help you with sharing documents but also with the creation, storage, and management of documents. CaseFox is one such legal document management software that you can rely on for the creation and collaboration of documents.
#4 Creating Cloud Data Exchange Rules
When it comes to cloud security, law firms must remain extra vigilant. The data that law firms store in the cloud comprises legal documents, client information, financial records, and other confidential data. To ensure the confidentiality of this data, law firms must take the necessary steps to protect it.
For instance, law firms should ensure that the cloud provider is certified by the appropriate regulatory agencies. Additionally, it is crucial to establish an acceptable use policy that outlines the protocols and rules for utilizing the cloud service. That is, if you require the use of a VPN when connecting to servers, you must specify all the points: for which devices you need to download a VPN, connection settings, and allowed remote servers. Requirements should be complete and, if possible, not overloaded with terms.
Law firms can leverage various security services and tools offered by cloud storage providers. These services include:
● Encryption of data both in transit and at rest
● Access control and authentication
● Multi-factor authentication
● Application firewalls
● Event logging and auditing
● Network isolation
● Data loss prevention
● Advanced protection threat
● Backup and disaster recovery
● Identity and access management
A properly configured secure file transfer solution can do much more than simply encrypt documents. Employing a robust file transfer solution empowers law firms to effectively manage data, safeguard their interests, and perform vital business functions.
Critical capabilities for secure file transfer solutions include automated audit logs and reports that demonstrate file access and system events. These logs serve multiple purposes, including diagnostics and compliance, eDiscovery, and optimization. The best results can be achieved by combining the above tools; in this case, the security of collaboration will be at a high level.