Future-Proof Your Law Firm

Use the Cloud to Keep Up with the Pace of Technology

It’s no secret; technology has accelerated the pace of change – in work and in life. There are a few ways that your law firm can go about adapting to these changes.

You could:

1. Bury your head in the sand and insist on the traditional ways of doing things.

2. Throw money at the problem, amassing all the new software and gadgets available and hiring experts to teach you how to use everything.

3. Make a simple change to the way you do work and handle your data.

Of course, the third option is making the change over to using a cloud environment, such as Legal Workspace. Using the cloud is an easy way to set up your firm for any future tech innovations, in addition to the other advantages it promises, like security and flexibility.

Why the cloud allows for rapid change

When a law firm operates from on-site servers, it lacks the kind of agility that using a cloud environment can provide. For example, what would happen if your biggest client suddenly placed regulations on your firm? How would you go about making sure you could meet those requirements? How much time, effort, and money would it take to give them what they wanted?

And if you were able to pull it off, would the client still be there, waiting for you to bring your security to their level?

Taking advantage of law firm cloud services removes that worry. Legal Workspace, because it was created specifically for law firms, utilizes military-grade security for all of its clients and can accommodate special requests from firms who use its services. HIPAA compliance obligations and any other high-level security requirements can be quickly applied to ensure that your clients’ data is protected.

That kind of behind-the-scenes agility is important because it also allows you to make changes to the way you do business. For example, if you’re not already taking advantage of legal document generation automation to streamline your attorneys’ workloads, you can select one of the applications that is compatible with Legal Workspace, work with its team of experts to customize the program to your preferences, and increase your efficiency.

Beyond that, the simple fact is that workplace culture is changing. Many attorneys are putting in the same number – or even more – hours than they ever did before, but they’re not necessarily doing it from the office. A cloud work environment, like Legal Workspace, allows attorneys to access their workspace from anywhere, on any device, at any time. If an attorney has a big realization while watching their kid’s soccer game, they can grab their smartphone and get moving.

The future is in the cloud

When you migrate to the cloud, a big chunk of worry falls away. No fretting about your data security’s adequacy. No concern about making the right software and application choices. No restrictions for your attorneys with regard to when and where they choose to work.

Now, which of these three options sounds like the best strategy:

1. Stick to tradition and hope your firm remains viable?

2. Throw money at the problem and try to do it yourself?

3. Or, lean on experts to take care of your technology issues by using a cloud environment?

Security With Zero Effort

Security With Zero Effort

Do you know that October is cybersecurity awareness month? More importantly, do you know what you need to do in order to keep your data secure? Or, are you aware of what you need to do…except sometimes tasks (like regular back-ups) fall through the cracks?

Maybe your IT person or department is responsible for security, but you’re not really sure what that entails – which could mean that you’re not really sure if the efforts your law firm makes toward securing its data are effective.

It makes sense that managing partners of law firms would want to concentrate on the business of law rather than spend precious time attempting to grasp the intricacies of cybersecurity. But, managing partners also understand how important it is to secure their firms’ data.

So, how does a savvy law firm strike a balance: not wasting time (and money) on something better left to experts, but ensuring that its data is completely secure?

There is a way for law firms to benefit from military-grade cybersecurity without the hassles that accompany elite in-house security. No personnel management. No constant upgrades, patches, or maintenance. No unexpected expenses, such as the sky-high cost of replacing a server. No downtime. No cumbersome back-ups. Just peace of mind.

When a law firm opts to work with a cloud environment, such as Legal Workspace, security stops being an issue that anyone in the firm needs to consider.

No more worries, just security

Law firms can be lucrative targets because they store privileged information that hackers can use in unintended ways. If your law firm’s cybersecurity isn’t up to snuff, it could mean that you are at risk. Having holes in your cybersecurity could be considered the equivalent of leaving privileged information out in the open for anyone to take and use.

And, if a law firm’s technology isn’t up-to-date and fully operational, that means a different sort of problem. What would happen if your server failed? How much time – and how much data – would you lose?

When you work within a cloud environment specially designed for law firms, you don’t have to worry about any of those issues any longer. With geographically redundant data centers, such as those used by Legal Workspace, your data is safer in the cloud than it could ever be in an on-site server. Access to those data center servers is limited, and staff is always on-hand to monitor for and prevent problems – and to react should anything unexpected occur.

Advanced data encryption, firewalls with a sophisticated detection system, and automatic back-ups secure your data so well that passing compliance standards, such as HIPAA and PCI, is just a regular part of what Legal Workspace does.

What to do instead

If you make the switch to the cloud and your security worries disappear, your attorneys and employees can spend more time on revenue-generating activities. And, if you have an IT person on staff, he or she doesn’t need to spend the day running from place to place, troubleshooting and patching up problems. Instead, that person can concentrate on strategy: discovering and implementing new technology that will save your law firm time and money.

As for law firm management? Well, you can just sleep better at night, knowing that your data is secure, and your clients are happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Server or Cloud? A law firm deliberates

We get many calls every week from law firms that are debating between the cloud and maintaining local IT resources. Yesterday, we received a call that a law firm is losing productivity because of unexpected server downtime. Concerns about data loss overwhelm the managing partners. What if the server fails?

The law firm is being proactive and looking into solutions. One option is working with their IT vendor, which wants to upgrade their server hardware. But the estimate for that project is prohibitive: $15,000 for server hardware and 40 hours of work at $175 ($7,000). On top of that, they can expect the usual costs for network upkeep that come from quarterly updates, 6 hours of work every quarter ($4,200 annually), and monthly maintenance, four hours of work each month ($8,400 annually).

The managing partners wonder: What if there’s another way to protect our data and reliably keep our firm up and running? Is there a more sustainable option to stabilize costs and eliminate downtime?

There is.

It’s the cloud.

An instant productivity boost

The law firm has an IT administrator on staff who deals with server downtime and other day-to-day tech issues. From his arrival to his departure at the office, he spends every day running around troubleshooting. What would his day look like without the hassle of damage control? He could spend his time evaluating new technology, customizing legal applications, and training new employees — all in the service of maximizing billable hours.

Other, smaller firms have a slightly different IT problem: Attorneys and staff members have to figure out what to do when technology fails. Imagine that problem disappearing. They could get back to focusing on revenue-generating activities.

Were the law firm to migrate to a cloud environment, such as Legal Workspace, the IT administrator, attorneys, and staff members could reclaim their time. Legal Workspace’s data centers have a history of more than 14 years of 100% continuous uptime.

Wasted time eliminated.

More than convenience: Safety

That concern the managing partners have about data loss if the server fails? It’s a real problem that could occur whenever you use an onsite server. Cloud solutions such as Legal Workspace have geographically redundant data centers that render data safer in the cloud than it could ever be on an onsite server. Here’s a video that illustrates the difference between server and cloud security. Legal Workspace has advanced security measures in place, such as:

• Limited physical access to servers
• Staff that’s available to react if a problem occurs
• Firewalls with sophisticated detection system
• Advanced data encryption

Using a solution like Legal Workspace also allows law firms to provide the tightest security available to their clients. For example, a firm that works with healthcare providers will need to be HIPAA compliant. Legal Workspace has a HIPAA-compliant version of its cloud environment and will even sign a business associate agreement. Other special security mandates from financial institutions and government contractors are easy for a solution such as Legal Workspace to meet and exceed.

Security concerns eliminated.

What choice would you make?

What choice do you think the law firm made? Did they plunk down $21,000+ and upgrade their onsite server, or did they jump at the chance to advance both productivity and security by switching to a cloud environment? Did they decide to eliminate downtime and stabilize costs?

The choice seems pretty clear.

Reclaim 69 Billable Hours This Year

Everyone gets spam emails. It’s a part of life, so you deal with it. But do you realize how much time your employees spend reviewing and deleting spam emails?

The average worker receives 121 emails per day, and nearly 50 percent of those emails are spam. It takes some time to differentiate spam from the real thing—about 16 seconds per email on average—which doesn’t seem like a whole lot of time until you start doing the math:

If your employees are anything like the average worker, your employees and attorneys spend 16 minutes each day, 80 minutes each week, 5.5 hours each month, and 69.3 hours each year managing spam email. That’s over one and a half 40-hour work weeks per year spent just dealing with spam.

Worrying about spam is a waste of time and money when your staff should be concentrating on more productive and strategic initiatives, such as workflow management, assisting clients and maximizing billable hours. Free or included spam tools, such as Microsoft 365’s spam filtering, are not advanced enough to unburden your employees and protect your network.

Not just wasted time: Spam can be dangerous

Law firms store trade secrets, protected health information (PHI), and other high-value data which makes them valuable targets for cyber criminals. Some junk emails might be easily identifiable as spam, but others are more nefarious. For example, hackers have become increasingly clever when it comes to email spoofing and phishing. Both email spoofing and phishing look very much like the real thing and attempt to fool recipients into either giving away their information or downloading hazardous software.

Ransomware can be another issue for law firms if employees and attorneys aren’t properly trained to recognize malicious emails. An employee might receive an email with a seemingly benign attachment and open it—only to unleash a Cryptolocker virus in your network. The virus systematically enters and locks files on the infected computer (including network files), and the user can only regain access by sending money to the hacker, who may or may not release the information. Spam has the potential to directly compromise attorney-client privilege.

Get those hours back

Implementing the right spam solution is imperative to reclaiming billable hours and securing your law firm’s network. Technology is now available with advanced features such as opening attachments in a “sand box” to check for malware before sending the attachments to the end user’s inbox.

The time, effort, and expense it takes to set up a system for reducing junk email offsets the time, effort, and expense individuals sink into managing it on their own—and you’ll spend a lot more time, effort, and expense if a user in your firm finds itself the victim of a malicious cyber-attack.

Legal Workspace regularly implements spam solutions and provides end-user training to improve law firm efficiency and protect firms from email threats. We are serious about protecting data in a world where hackers and spam purveyors continually invent new ways to penetrate defenses. Get serious about stopping spam, and reclaim those hours back.

Reach out to Legal Workspace to learn more about spam filtering options.

Win Outside Counsel for an Insurance Giant

Winning Large Clients

When your firm handles insurance defense, you receive, send, and store highly sensitive materials. Wise law firms understand that security and compliance are critical because of the growing threat to cybersecurity. Without the proper safeguards in place, you put clients’ information at risk and jeopardize your reputation. And large insurance companies simply won’t hire you if you don’t apply the right controls and protocols to keep their data safe.

They’re right to be cautious: 80% of the largest 100 law firms have been hacked since 2011, according to the American Bar Association in 2015. Law firms are a prime target for hackers because they store large amounts of high-value, confidential data. In The Security Vulnerabilities Law Firm Hacks Create for Corporations,” which appeared in Inside Counsel in June of this year, Amanda Ciccatelli writes, “IT capability is often viewed as an administrative function, not an integrated business capability, and as a result, information security has suffered.”

The rewards of working with large corporate clients are sizeable. To get your foot in the door, you need to be aware of vulnerabilities, be able to bolster security, and meet insurance companies’ compliance requirements.

What You Can Do to Win Outside Counsel

There are ways to determine what holes you have in your security controls and how to patch them. You should, for example:

Protect and back up data and plan for recovery.

Data encryption, dual-authentication, administrative policies, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems can help protect data. Secure off-site back-ups are another key component to data security. If a breach still occurs, know how you’ll respond—and how quickly you can be back up and running. The American Bar Association article, Facing the Cybersecurity Threat to Your Firm, experts say that “[a]dvance planning is critical for effectively responding to a data breach, and that includes an incident response plan.”

Perform a tech review and assessment.

Since new cyberthreats emerge regularly, you should routinely assess and patch your vulnerabilities. Pay attention to audit logs, so you know who accesses what files and can see if something unusual happens.

Understand what devices attorneys and other staff use to work.

Are they using their personal Smartphones and laptops to work outside the office? Are they carrying client information on flash drives? What kinds of safeguards are in place on those devices?

Control access to information.

If an attorney isn’t working on a particular case, there’s no reason for him/her to have access to it. This precaution isn’t about attorney ethics—client confidentiality is paramount to lawyers. Rather, it’s about decreasing the number of ways that hackers can access information. Train employees and attorneys to follow security protocols. As Chris Pogue, CISO of Nuix Solutions writes, “Protecting your information is a battle that is fought by every member of your organization, from the most senior partner to the newest intern, who has access to any data of value.”

These recommendations can be used by law firms looking to increase security in order to be more attractive to any large corporation, but there are also “insurance-specific uses of technology, internal and external research capabilities, and client support databases that should be a part of a law firm’s technology resources,” according to an article written by Bob Dolinsky, CIO of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.

Crafting a strategy and executing its steps may seem like expensive, time-consuming, and technical work. But it all depends on the avenue you take. Working with an IT firm on a project like this can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars, and the process can last months.

Faster and Less Expensive Solution

Legal Workspace can take a project like this off your hands and deliver it more quickly than you might expect. Depending on the size of your firm, it could take only a week for Legal Workspace to perform a cybersecurity audit and apply the appropriate controls for compliance with large insurance companies’ standards and with government regulations.

And, if you’re considering getting into the insurance defense game, but you’re concerned about the upfront costs of upgrading your IT to handle compliance requirements, Legal Workspace’s fees are only a fraction of the cost of working with an IT firm.

The other upshot of selecting Legal Workspace to help you get compliant is that as new threats emerge and security standards evolve, you don’t need to worry about shelling out more money: Maintenance and updates are automatically included.

There are usually a lot of hurdles a law firm has to jump in order to win the business of a large insurance company. The security and compliance hurdle doesn’t have to be the most difficult and expensive one to clear.

 

 

2 Easy Ways to Tighten Security

Law firms have an obligation to keep client data secure. As hacking becomes an ever-increasing threat to businesses of all sizes—especially those that store and transmit sensitive data—two options, Two-factor Authentication and Email Encryption, can help put up barriers.

Two-factor Authentication (2FA): What is it?

2FA simply verifies a user’s identity a second time to make sure that the person making the request to enter a system is the actual user.

Often, it works in such a way that you enter your log-in credentials as usual, then the system sends a code to your cell phone that you enter to verify your identity a second time before you can access the system.

2FA is quickly becoming more prevalent in the business world. Some companies that currently use it include Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Paypal, and Citibank. Many colleges and universities, including Penn State and the University of Chicago, are also adapting their systems to incorporate 2FA. Because these organizations understand that the data they house is precious to their users, they know that extra security is necessary to protect that data. It’s only a matter of time before 2FA becomes the standard.

What advantages does 2FA offer?

It can be frustrating to come up with a unique password for every single account—and that means that many people duplicate passwords across accounts or use simple and easy-to-remember passwords and passphrases. That may make it more convenient for the user—but it makes hacking more convenient, as well.

Even a strong password might not be enough because hackers sometimes use tools that repeatedly guess passwords. Such a tool was used to hack Apple’s iCloud in 2015 [link to: http://www.businessinsider.com/icloud-hack-idict-patched-by-apple-2015-1]; many high-profile users were affected. One way Apple responded was by improving 2FA.

Whether users employ weak log-in credentials, their information gets stolen, or they repeat passwords across accounts, 2FA adds an extra layer of protection that protects law firms’ data.

How does 2FA work?

Legal Workspace offers 2FA as one of the many security options so its clients can experience greater peace of mind around data security. When a Legal Workspace user logs in, he or she can automatically receive a one-time code on his or her Smartphone app. Then the user enters the code in the Legal Workspace environment and gains access to their workspace. The whole process takes five seconds or less.

Most users find the process painless, but if any issues arise, Legal Workspace offers complimentary technical support for assistance.

Email Encryption: What is it?

Email encryption protects content from being accessed and read by unauthorized parties. When an attorney sends a sensitive document to a client, he or she probably assumes that no one but the client will be able to see it. However, most email can easily be accessed by hackers determined to get the information, and the device where email is retrieved and stored—whether that’s a laptop or a Smartphone—is also at risk.

What advantages does Email Encryption offer?

Attorneys know it’s their duty to perform due diligence to protect client privilege. Sending unencrypted documents puts client data at risk—especially since email is one of the most vulnerable and targeted areas for anyone.

When a user opts to send encrypted email, the sent document is never stored on that user’s email server or computer. That means that the information is safe in the event of a computer or email server hack. It also protects information in case laptops or other devices are stolen or lost.

How does Email Encryption work?

Legal Workspace uses a system that works as follows: An attorney who is sending something to a client types the word “encrypt” in the subject line. Instead of the email server sending the email to the other party directly, it instead sends a link that informs the client that he or she has been sent an encrypted email. The client clicks the link, goes to the website, and can access or download the sensitive document from the website, bypassing the email system completely so the files are never stored on the recipient’s email server.

2FA and Email Encryption considerably help law firms battle ever-increasing threats to security. It’s no longer enough to cross your fingers and hope that hackers won’t attack your firm. If you store and transmit sensitive information, you are at risk. These two offerings mitigate that risk by giving you extra layers of protection.