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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boost Law Firm Productivity & Revenue

Law firms and technology have made some giant leaps in the last decade or so. Now, there are applications made specifically for law firms that track time, facilitate billing, generate and manage documents, and even help you manage your practice.

We know that you want to take full advantage of the efficiencies and transparency that legal applications can provide to a law firm. That’s why, at Legal Workspace, we make it a priority to host and support the most popular and most effective legal apps on our cloud environment.

 

How it works

Because Legal Workspace was created specifically for law firms and their unique challenges, we understand that firms need certain legal applications to be available anytime and anywhere in order to be able to function at full capacity.

Working with Legal Workspace provides law firms with the opportunity to migrate their existing legal applications to the cloud – or to strategize and make new decisions about what technology they want and need to make work and life easier (and more accurate).

Legal Workspace’s engineers are certified in the top legal applications, so they can provide support if and when it’s needed. They can also consult with clients to identify which apps might work best in their particular situations.

And, Legal Workspace can even license certain legal apps, which simplifies billing.

 

What apps does Legal Workspace host?

Legal Workspace hosts a wide variety of legal applications. Law practice management software includes Amicus Attorney ®, Time Matter®, Needles®, Practice Master®, Thomson Reuters ProLaw®, Juris®, and LawBase®.

Legal document management software includes Worldox® and Microsoft SharePoint®.

Time and billing software includes PCLaw®, Timeslips®, Tabs3®, and Quickbooks®.

Legal document generation automation includes Hot Docs®, ProDoc®, and Amicus Attorney®.

You can find out more about how you can customize your Legal Workspace cloud environment with a variety of legal applications and software here. 

And, what if you have your own proprietary software that you use for practice management, for example? That’s no problem. Legal Workspace can host the software law firms develop.

 

Cloud benefits

When you work with a cloud environment that hosts the legal applications you need, you are using technology to your advantage. And, you get so much more from using the cloud.

Your attorneys and staff can access the programs and data they need from any location at any time. Remote access isn’t the only benefit: You’ll save money on hardware – and its set-up and maintenance. Instead of laying down big money to get started, you’ll have one simple monthly bill.

Your data is continuously monitored and protected. Beyond that, working in the cloud means that recovery of data – if a disaster were to occur – would be that much simpler.

Working with a team like Legal Workspace’s enables you to get the most from your technology. The legal applications that it hosts can propel your law firm to new levels of efficiency and accuracy. With Legal Workspace’s engineers’ help, your law firm can take another giant leap by allowing technology to work for you – so you can concentrate on the business of law.

 

 

Not All Clouds Are Equal: Select the Best

By now, you’ve heard all about the cloud, how it can keep your data secure, and how using a cloud environment is a more convenient way to work. You’re convinced that working in a cloud environment is the way to go. What’s the next step? How do you get the cloud and make it work for you? Will any cloud do?

As with any other technology, you must be selective. Choose the cloud environment that provides security and support.

Legal Workspace goes way beyond providing just cloud storage for lawyers. Its cloud environment was designed with the particular needs of the legal profession at its forefront. Because of that, Legal Workspace’s cloud environment – and its set-up and support team – provide special features that make it the best choice.

A dedicated team

When you work with Legal Workspace, you aren’t just buying space and an interface. You get to work with a dedicated team that is there to help you with your technology needs. This team is made up of people with legal industry experience.

That legal industry experience allows the team to immediately comprehend and meet your firm’s needs. The team takes an unbiased approach to hosting, and they understand a law firm’s daily workflow in addition to all of the facets of technology. For example, they can help you customize programs and applications for greater efficiency. Beyond that, if you ever need advice as you make technology decisions, the team can contribute CIO-level guidance.

And, certain aspects of tech maintenance become invisible. Just think: You will never need to worry about updating software again – because it will happen automatically.

 

A secure environment

You have your dedicated technology team to set up and maintain your own distinct cloud environment when you work with Legal Workspace. But that’s not all your team can do for you. You can consult with your team about security, too. Because Legal Workspace is designed specifically for use by those in the legal profession, it has developed and locked in place a multi-layer defense system to protect your – and your clients’ – data from exposure.

Legal Workspace uses two-factor authentication, advanced intrusion detection and prevention systems, state-of-the-art antivirus software, and anti-spam solutions as tools in its mission to keep your data safe. The security teams at Legal Workspace are always working to keep your data secure with proactive monitoring, redundancy, and airtight training and policies.

 

A compliant mindset

Legal Workspace takes security and compliance seriously. It knows how important compliance is to you and to your clients. That’s why on-staff security and compliance experts are easy to reach and at the ready to help you make compliance decisions and meet the demands of standards required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

And, data storage isn’t a mystery with Legal Workspace. Your data is stored in the United States – in Dallas, TX, and Denver, CO – and it will never leave those locations.

When you work with a cloud solution that understands the challenges the legal profession faces, you have the opportunity to take advantage of its expertise. You can work in a cloud environment designed especially for law firms, and you can work with teams with legal industry experience and technology expertise. That makes it so much easier to set up a cloud environment that does what you need it to do.

 

5 Unexpected Benefits of Cloud for Law Firms

There are so many reasons for law firms to use the cloud, ranging from increased convenience to more robust security. Here are five unexpected benefits of cloud services for law firms:

1. Bump up holiday and summer billable hours

It’s summer time, and the living is easy—right? All of your clients are settled on a beach somewhere, and all of your attorneys are kicking back with their feet on their desks. Maybe in a parallel universe!
In this world, hours need to be kept up during the summer and holidays. With Legal Workspace, remote computing for law firms allows just that: Attorneys can access data and the programs and applications they need whenever and wherever they need them.

2. Eliminate network downtime

Network downtime can be a scourge. It sidelines productivity, it causes headaches, and it costs money. When you transition to using a cloud environment, any fears you had about experiencing network outages and failures can disappear. Legal Workspace, for example, has redundancies in place to ensure that its servers are consistently up and available for customers using its cloud environment. No interruptions. No glitches. No downtime.

3. Automate data back-ups

Stuff happens. One attorney might inadvertently leave her laptop on a plane, another might find his smartphone went missing somewhere between the office and the commute home. And it’s not only lost or stolen devices that could cause problems: Security breaches also pose data loss risks to law firms reviewing and storing sensitive, privileged materials.
Most people know that data back-ups are paramount to guard against data loss. Unfortunately, not many law firms perform regular back-ups as they should. When law firms use the cloud, data gets backed up routinely, thus eliminating worries about data loss.

4. Easy onboarding

Onboarding new employees can be a hassle. You may be introducing multiple unfamiliar applications, programs, and procedures to any new attorney or staff member. Working in a cloud environment such as Legal Workspace can ease that pain because the platform is standard across devices; there’s no need to re-invent the wheel every time someone logs in from a different device or location. Legal Workspace also provides an environment that’s intuitive to use, which reduces trial-and-error interactions while reducing law firm overhead expenses.

5. HIPAA compliance

Law firms and attorneys that work with Private Health Information (PHI) have an additional responsibility: complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Some cloud environments, such as Legal Workspace’s HIPAA Compliant Edition, offer enterprise-grade safeguards for data storage, which meet HIPAA compliance obligations. This type of solution removes the need for large law firms’ IT departments to cobble together a system for additional data protection. It also allows smaller law firms access to security that would otherwise be impossible for them to create and maintain.

When a law firm begins using a cloud environment like Legal Workspace, it instantly benefits from increased convenience, consistency, and security. The cloud can be an immediate painkiller for a lot of common law firm headaches.

In-House or in the Cloud: Choosing the Right IT for Your Law Firm

This article was written by Joe Kelly, CEO of Legal Workspace, and published in Colorado Lawyer.

Whether attorneys are hanging their shingles or working at large firms, information technology (IT) is probably not their highest priority. Most lawyers would rather focus on practicing law than worrying about technology. Nevertheless, IT plays a vital role in the business of law today.

desk set up

Complicating matters is the growing necessity for practices to support mobile devices and a virtual workforce. At the same time, firms must also ensure security and compliance with professional obligations and regulations, such as the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). When transitioning to new IT systems, attorneys and staff often want to continue using their favorite software programs, which may come from different providers and may not be legal-specific.

Those at larger law firms can usually let the IT department worry about such logistics. However, attorneys at small or mid-sized firms do not have the luxury of a large IT staff—if they have any IT staff at all. Consequently, lawyers are left to figure these things out, even if the sheer number of issues to consider when setting up or reimagining IT seems overwhelming.

It is helpful for small to mid-sized firms to think in terms of three main options when it comes to IT:

1)  keeping IT onsite;

2)  adopting a hybrid mix that involves some cloud-based solutions with some onsite hardware and software; or

3)  being fully cloud-based.

When considering which approach to take, lawyers should evaluate its cost, security, and convenience, as well as the amount of time it will take away from their practice to manage each option. Although three options are listed in this article, not all options are an exact fit for every law firm.

Servers in office

The Onsite Approach

The onsite approach is the most traditional IT route, simply because technology has not allowed for many other options until the past decade or so. With this approach, firms set up and maintain all of their IT infrastructures at the law firm.

 

Cost of Onsite IT

Conventional wisdom holds that medium and large law firms will benefit the most from onsite IT. Solo attorneys and small law firms can often function in a peer-to-peer based environment without a server. However, many of today’s leading legal applications use SQL Server as their backend database. An attorney who selects one of these legal applications will need to purchase and install a server for the application to function.

Setting up onsite IT is an involved process that can easily cost thousands of dollars a year for each staff member. The firm will need to (1) purchase and configure servers for data applications, backup, and security; (2) purchase and configure software programs (e.g., a Windows server, the email server, practice management applications, and time and billing systems); and (3) purchase and set up hardware, including computers, laptops, mobile devices, and Bluetooth devices.

Unless lawyers are intimately acquainted with IT and have the time to devote to it, law firms will find the need to hire IT consultants to help with initial setup and configuration. The initial labor costs can easily reach $1,000 per staff member. Additional consultant costs may arise for ongoing maintenance, unless someone at the firm can dedicate significant time to maintaining and troubleshooting hardware and software issues. As the firm grows and adds more personnel, someone at the firm will need to oversee licensing additional software, buying more hardware, setting up additional email accounts, and ensuring compliance standards are met.

 

Security of Onsite IT

Many lawyers assume that high security is inherently linked to the onsite approach because the law firm maintains complete control over the files and systems, including how they are stored and shared. However, when software is housed within the firm, it must be updated continuously to make sure that systems are as secure as possible. This means that someone must be available to run patches, checkups, antivirus software, and other tools to ensure that systems are not vulnerable to malware and hacking.

With an onsite approach, the firm must also consider backup plans and disaster recovery solutions. Backup plans should take into account how to host the backup at another site in the event of a natural disaster, fire, gas leak, or other circumstance that makes the firm’s office inaccessible.

Firms also need to consider where they are most vulnerable. According to the IT security firm Trend Micro, hacking and malware account for 25% of all data breaches, while lost devices account for 41% of data breaches. That means that firms need to consider how they can remotely wipe any devices that lawyers and staff have lost or misplaced.

Trend Micro further warns that data breaches caused by hacking and malware tend to be highly sophisticated and deliberate: “Highly customized defense solutions and strategies are required in these cases.” Firms need to decide whether to install consumer firewalls or enterprise firewalls. Enterprise firewalls may be more thorough than consumer firewalls, but they can also be more expensive and complicated to operate. And unless the firm is large enough to warrant a dedicated IT staff member, the firm will need to pay for special training on a regular basis.

Finally, if any of the firm’s clients and their information calls for HIPAA compliance, the firm will need to add additional layers of security. Complying with HIPAA comes with very specific and often costly requirements around physical, technical, and administrative safeguards. Failing to comply with these safeguards can lead to penalties in excess of $1 million per year.

 

Convenience of Onsite IT

An onsite server is highly convenient because all hardware and software is located just down the hall. As a result, it’s easy for staff and attorneys to check on anything that goes wrong.

However, unless someone at the firm is an IT expert, it will be difficult to fix most problems that arise. That means that the firm will have to bring in an IT consultant to handle serious issues. Along with the added expense, someone at the firm will need to take time away from legal projects to work with the IT consultant. The firm will also lose billable time and productivity while hardware and software problems are being addressed.

typing_keyboard

A Hybrid Approach

A hybrid approach encompasses onsite IT functionalities and the advantages of specific cloud-based software to support practice management, billing, and other areas.

 

Cost of Hybrid IT

This approach can be more cost-effective than an onsite system, since cloud-based software and applications normally run on a subscription model based on the number of users (e.g., software licenses for each user) or the amount of storage needed. The manufacturer normally handles all upgrades and patches automatically. This option and the subscription model are often more affordable than buying software licenses.

When considering which programs to host onsite and which to base in the cloud, the firm should consider its current software and processes. The ratio of cloud to onsite applications will affect costs. Firms will also need to spend more time and money managing multiple vendors when some programs are cloud-based and others are managed within the firm.

Because the main goal of leveraging technology at a law firm is to increase efficiency, progress usually involves connecting and automating different parts of a firm’s work flow. This becomes very difficult in a hybrid model. For example, a firm may use a cloud version of a non-legal-specific bookkeeping system and want to link it with the accounts receivable from a time and billing system. Some systems on the market cannot support this approach.

 

Security of Hybrid IT

The security of hybrid systems depends on the types of cloud-based applications and software that the firm is using. Many cloud-based apps and software offer built-in security contingencies, such as automatically installing the latest updates to address vulnerabilities and potential viruses.

However, attorneys need to be aware that common cloud-based apps or software, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, often have data storage facilities around the world, which might prompt data ownership questions. If the firm’s data resides overseas, it raises the question of who actually owns it. Therefore, when considering cloud providers for any type of information storage, attorneys have a responsibility to find out where their data will be stored. They need to feel confident that their data cannot be lost or stolen and understand who physically owns it.

Reliability and security are also major concerns with mainstream cloud-based services. Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the world’s largest cloud providers, has been known to stop working on occasion. In September of 2015 roughly one-third of AWS services were down for an excess of five hours. Since the services can support a variety of items such as backup and recovery, websites and business applications, an interruption can impact a law firm’s ability to access critical client files or billing information.

 

Convenience of Hybrid IT

Most cloud-based software and applications enable mobility, allowing staff and attorneys to access information from anywhere at any time. A hybrid approach is also easier to scale up with solutions that grow as the firm grows and adds more staff.

LWS

The Cloud-Based Approach

With this method, all IT needs are handed off to a cloud-based third party. This third party sets up, configures, launches, and maintains hardware and software, allowing the firm to forego servers and backup devices.

Cloud-based solutions normally use one of three ways to configure a law firm’s IT:

1)  managed cloud computing platform;

2)  desktop as a service; or

3)  private cloud computing.

The first approach, managed cloud computing, enables firms and other organizations to share databases, hardware, and software remotely through the provider. With managed cloud computing, law firms can purchase entire virtual servers or parts of cloud servers.

With the desktop as a service model, law firms can utilize virtual desktops that are highly customizable and run from the cloud. Users’ data is downloaded and uploaded to and from the cloud when users log on and off.

The private cloud computing option is similar to the managed cloud computing with one major exception: In private cloud computing, law firms do not share hardware with other companies or industries. A private cloud IT system allows law firms to maintain confidentiality and privilege when handling sensitive data on behalf of clients.

 

Costs of Cloud IT

When outsourcing entirely to the cloud, regardless of the configuration, law firms usually pay for a subscription-priced service that often offers a lowerentry price point compared to paying for onsite IT. Subscription based services are priced per person and normally include the programs the firm needs to operate its practice, along with IT support.

Typically, cloud providers offer a place for the firm to install an operating system and then build up its IT based on that foundation. Semi-customized programs typically include a desktop built on a Windows-based platform, MS Office, file storage, and antivirus protections. From there, firms can add their legal-specific programs of choice, such as practice management, document management, and document automation systems. This model tends to provide greater stability for the IT budget because the firm will not accumulate unexpected IT costs.

 

Security of Cloud IT

While all cloud providers tout their security protocols, not all of them understand the unique requirements of those in the legal industry. That is why law firms should consider a cloud-based provider that focuses on the legal industry and offers private servers with enhanced security measures, such as enterprise-grade firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and dual-factor authentication.

Firms should also look for the physical security of the data center that hosts the firm’s information (e.g., keycard access and biometric identification) and immediate disaster recovery that is enabled by a secondary site. That means that even if the firm’s office is destroyed, or one database supported by the cloud provider is compromised, attorneys and staff will only be one login away from accessing their information.

Professional woman and man having a discussion on the stairs of a stately buildiing. Could be lawyers, business people etc. [url=/my_lightbox_contents.php?lightboxID=13637164]Click here for more[/url] from this shoot.

Convenience of Cloud IT

Cloud IT can be the most convenient approach, as the law firm has to spend little to no time managing IT. With this model, attorneys spend more time practicing law and the staff is able to focus on supporting the firm’s needs.

 

Conclusion

For small and mid-sized firms, there have never been more options for IT, ranging from systems that are completely hosted onsite to those that reside solely in the cloud. Attorneys should consider factors such as cost, security, and convenience, with the ultimate goal of selecting an approach that enables them to spend less time on IT and more time on their clients and law practices.

 

Data Breaches Cost More Than You Think

Recently 11.5 million documents containing confidential data were stolen from Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth-largest offshore law firm, and published online. Hackers gained access to one of the firm’s servers which allowed the hackers to steal valuable data and emails. All law firms collect and store a myriad of client and financial data making them attractive targets for cyber attackers.

High-value data including trade secrets, acquisitions and mergers and personal health information (PHI) can be leaked to the public or used maliciously. For example, a large law firm handling a merger might be targeted by someone who wants insider information in order to buy or sell stock. Not all cyber attacks target complex data — even basic client data can be targeted. For example, a small law firm might be handling a divorce and the other party works in IT and has the skills to discover what the representing attorney has planned.

While the hacking motives vary the consequences are consistently catastrophic for law firms. Data breaches erode the foundation of attorney-client privilege by exposing sensitive data solely entrusted to law firms. Therefore, securing and protecting privileged information is of the utmost importance.

How can you prevent a data breach?

Intrusion prevention and protection systems

Your network should have an intrusion prevention and detection system in place to monitor unusual server traffic. This system helps to identify and shut down hackers, who constantly search IP addresses looking for weaknesses. Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of intrusion protection by requiring users to enter two forms of identification during the login process. This approach eliminates the chances that a hacker or computer program can log into a system remotely and randomly create passwords.

Firewalls

Law firms should look for enterprise grade firewalls to protect against malicious software and hackers. Some law firms use multiple firewalls to ensure that if one firewall fails, a backup is already in place.

Email Encryption

Hackers don’t observe attorney-client privilege, and the highest value target is a law firm’s email. Email is the easiest way for clients to send crucial documents and even medical records to attorneys. Email encryption protects data so only the sender and recipient can view email contents.

Internal and External Security Scans

Hackers are constantly evolving their techniques to circumnavigate existing security protocols to find vulnerabilities. Routine security scans are required to ensure data is constantly protected. Law firms that require ultra-security, for HIPAA or governmental compliance, must conduct internal and external security scans on an annual basis.

Data Backups

Off-site data storage is crucial in case all of the other security techniques fail or a natural disaster, theft or fire occurs. Data from ransomware attacks can be fully recovered using backup records, without paying a ransom fee to recover encrypted data.

Encryption, secure data centers, authentication protocols, intrusion monitoring: Complex IT considerations can make your head spin. Even if you have an IT department or person dedicated to managing those issues, it’s tough to stay on top of the latest threats when you’re focused on building your practice. Thankfully, you have options. Legal Workspace has extensive experience securing law firms from physical and cyber threats. We worry about security. You worry about practicing law.