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If your business is the victim of a cybercrime, it’s not just money and productivity you’ll lose. It’s also reputation and trust.
The law industry isn’t known for embracing change quickly: tradition can trump a willingness to embrace new technologies. Yet digital technology has become an essential part of many lawyers' working day. Partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) provides support and enhanced cybersecurity during this evolution.
Lawyers rely on technology today to:
- communicate with colleagues and clients;
- exchange documents;
- schedule events and share calendars;
- research precedent and legal issues;
- streamline file management;
- automate menial tasks;
- track billable hours;
- invoice clients and pay vendors;
- access information from mobile devices, when and where needed;
- virtually conference during the pandemic.
Now, imagine the disruption if that tech-savvy firm’s systems went down, even just for a few hours. No, this is not an argument to return to paper-pushing and the old-school methods; it’s a reminder that you need an IT expert at the ready in case something goes wrong. Plus, an MSP can manage and watch systems to help prevent the worst.
The MSP Solution
Legal service provider clients expect digital proficiency. They want to schedule appointments online; they want to upload documents to the cloud instead of coming into the office; they are looking to provide digital signatures and pay securely online. The MSP can set up software to meet customer expectations without risking compliance or cybersecurity.
An MSP with experience in the legal industry can also boost competitive advantage. These IT experts can identify opportunities to improve productivity. It may be a faster network or computer upgrades, or you may benefit from improving software integrations and adopting better collaboration tools. The MSP’s initial tech review may also save you money. They'll identify where you are overpaying or places to streamline software licenses.
Also, on the financial front, the law firm can enjoy a consistent budget line item working with an MSP. Instead of waiting for something to break and then looking for someone to fix it, you’ll have expert ITs on call, which can reduce costly downtime. Better still, the MSP will take preventative action to avoid that downtime in the first place. This includes keeping your antivirus and security updated and checking technological asset health.
The MSP’s small, ongoing fee is something you can plan around. The ongoing monitoring makes a budget blowout less likely, as well.
Managed IT services offer proactive support plus enhanced security. They understand the importance of end-to-end, layered security. They know the threats to a legal firm and can recommend quality precautions. Attorneys need to secure sensitive data and documents to remain compliant. The MSP can suggest secure storage and backup to perform the essential tasks.
Further on security, the MSP has the know-how to help your firm become more mobile, but safely. Your tech partner can put systems in place that allow your team to securely work when and where they need to.
It also helps to have a dedicated support team available. They'll already know your firm and its technology. This can speed up the response if there are ever issues, plus, you have a consultant to call with questions about new technological innovations.
Keep pace with customer expectations and maintain competitive advantage. Enjoy technology support and cybersecurity peace of mind with an experienced MSP. BlueCastle IT is here to help. Call us at 860-215-8960.
The law profession has been slow to embrace virtual work. It’s a people-oriented business, and there is great reliance on sensitive files and court documents, yet the pandemic pushed lawyers – and the rest of us – to embrace more digital technology.
Sure, lawyers were using mobile devices before. They worked in satellite offices, on-site with clients, or from home. Still, the profession’s traditionalists were loathing putting paperwork online or meeting virtually. Now they have to do so.
In the United States, 70–90% of firms surveyed by the American Bar Association still used traditional offices in 2019. By early April 2020, 48% were working online, and a further 40% were doing a hybrid of on-site and remote.
While many are eager to get back to the office, digital transformation has still taken hold. Let’s discuss the digital technology available to law firms today.
Digital Technology in the Law Firm
Digitizing documents and uploading them to case and practice management software has many benefits.
The law firm gains:
- collaborative access;
- streamlined process;
- improved productivity;
- storage space previously wasted on boxes of file folders;
- greater flexibility of interactions with clients familiar with digital upload of documentation;
- peace of mind data backup is available;
- centralized systems.
The software also adds a layer of accountability, as firm leaders or administrators can see who is accessing what and when. This enables better measurement of productivity and billable hours.
Clients also enjoy not having to leave home and find parking to drop off documents. Paperless transactions can speed the process on both sides, especially with virtual forms collecting data. This also avoids the inaccuracies that can come from manual data entry.
Another significant development for the virtual law firm? Relying on cloud-based collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). Paralegals and lawyers can work on documents and spreadsheets simultaneously in real-time. With Outlook email and calendar sharing, everyone stays current on any device.
SharePoint and OneDrive also offer secure document sharing. SharePoint is an internal file management tool, whereas OneDrive is a bit simpler.
Lawyers now need to meet with clients and opposing counsel, and to appear in virtual courts. Online communication requires a good internet connection, plus a quality camera and microphone to take part in a Zoom or other type of virtual meeting.
Other firms are moving to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Those who have used Skype are already calling via data packets transmitted online. And there are other options available: B2B VoIP vendors offer options integrating call forwarding, call queues, and more. With VoIP, the client calls a local number and connects to an employee anywhere without noticing a difference.
All these digital technologies can have a positive impact on the day-to-day running of the law practice, yet it needs correct installation, as security is critical. You don’t want confidential documents shared publicly or phone conversations carried out on insecure lines.
Enjoy digital transformation efficiency with a managed service provider (MSP) installing the right tools. The technology saves space and frees up resources for other practice priorities. Meanwhile, an MSP will offer its IT expertise at a consistent set fee you can budget around. Plus, you’ll know you have IT help on speed dial if something goes wrong.
We’ll make sure your digital transformation – whether short- or long-term – is done right. Contact BlueCastle IT today at 860-215-8960!
Trusting identity is foundational to a law firm’s work. In a law office, the documents going back and forth contain sensitive information, and contracts, negotiations, or transactions can't be shared with the wrong parties. The industry needs to be cautious about validating identities.
Legal service providers need to achieve compliance and protect clients and their assets. Techniques are changing as lawyers move from in-person conferences to digital document exchange. This article examines four digital-age areas in which lawyers need to validate identity.
#1 Phishing Scams
Phishing is always a risk, no matter the industry. Paralegals, associates, and lawyers risk inadvertently clicking on malware, especially as this field relies heavily on attached documents going back and forth.
A cybercriminal criminal might steal money copying a vendor’s invoices. Everything looks the same, but payment details put the dollars in the crook's bank account. Or they will send an “urgent” message containing a link that goes to a Web page that looks credible. It might seem to be from a bank or the government, but one character in the URL is different. Those who don’t notice the difference will enter sensitive account details into a form that goes to the bad guy.
Verification tip: Firm-wide filters can check for malicious attachments before they reach people. Educate employees about always verifying the URL before clicking on a link. Hovering over the highlighted text will show the address where a click will take the user.
#2 Business Communication Email Scams
Business communication emails scams also often target law firms. In one example, Jared Kushner’s lawyer exchanged emails with someone imitating the ex-White House aide. Emails from email@example.com prompted the lawyer to share newsworthy information.
Verification tip: At the beginning of an engagement, verify the client's private, secure email address. Always confirm that the sender’s email address is the same as you have on file before responding.
#3 Outgoing Email
Email automation can also lead to problems. The associate allows Outlook to auto-populate the recipient’s email address from the address book. Too busy typing a quick note, he doesn’t confirm that he’s sending it to the right person. But Smith, John is a divorce attorney and Smithson, John is a client at a dental firm. They should not be getting each other’s filings!
The law firm Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale, and Dorr sent files detailing a history of whistleblower claims at PepsiCo to the wrong person, a Wall Street Journal reporter. So much for client privilege.
Verification tip: Check and double-check your email address list. Set up your firm’s email program to disallow any auto-populating of email addresses.
#4 Multi-Factor Authentication
One other area where you want to verify identity is when staff access your systems and software. Relying on username and password credentials only isn’t strict enough. Humans make mistakes. They share information that makes their access credentials easy to guess. Your people may not pick complicated passwords or change their access credentials. Data breaches can put professional accounts at risk when people reuse passwords.
Verification tip: Adding multi-factor authentication makes it more difficult for the cybercriminal. Even two-factor authentication adds another important level of security. Having the access credentials alone isn’t enough. The hacker also needs to get their hands on the personal device where the authentication code is sent.
Need help establishing robust digital practices to confirm client and employee identities? A managed service provider can help. BlueCastle IT experts can review risks and suggest simple, affordable solutions. Improve your identity experience. Contact us today at 860-215-8960!
There is always information being collected and shared at a law firm. Files go between employees and back and forth among clients, too, and these can contain critical data. One mistake could cost the firm money – and reputation. Workflow automation technology tackles document sharing and data collection to offer several benefits.
#1 Improved accuracy
Collecting information using workflow automation saves a menial task. The client entering the data saves the paralegal manually, keying it in from a paper form. This also cuts the back and forth over email or time spent on phone calls confirming intake details. Plus, there is less risk of a mistake in the data entry.
#2 Greater productivity
Some software notifies the lawyer or associate a document is ready for review. The firm can even set up reminders to ensure timely document processing. The software may integrate with billable hours tracking to enhance time-spent analysis.
#3 Enhanced customer satisfaction
We’re in a digital age, no matter how old-school your firm, and clients want to take advantage of digital signing options. For example, Adobe Sign and DocuSign integrate with many different software packages. They appreciate uploading documents to cloud storage (such as Dropbox or OneDrive) from the comfort of their own homes.
#4 Freedom from the humdrum
No one becomes a lawyer to push paper. With the right automation tools, lawyers can use technology to:
· start document requests;
· obtain internal approval;
· document dates, signatures, and other information receipt;
· organize finalized documents.
Workflow software configurations set conditions to trigger the next action. For example, if the firm is trying to collect prospective client details or if someone signs up for the firm’s newsletter, their email address is automatically added to an Excel spreadsheet.
#5 Collaboration and Mobility
Moving document workflow to the cloud supports improved collaboration. With more people working remotely, sharing information online is beneficial. With many tools, people can work together in real-time online. Even those back in the office enjoy keeping up with case documents and communications on the go. With cloud software, staff and clients can stay involved from any mobile device.
#6 Added security
A law firm relying on paper documents risks all its institutional history going up in flames, or being destroyed in flooding or another extreme weather event. Workflow automation digitizes documents and provides an online backup of the information. It’s still a good idea to have another backup, though, and we recommend keeping a current data backup in three different places.
#7 Cost savings
Workflow software handles administrative tasks more accurately and efficiently, which can mean hiring fewer admin personnel. Plus, with digital documentation, think of the file storage space you’ll no longer need. You might be able to add some offices or meeting rooms, or cut your real estate and off-site document storage budget.
Workflow automation is available to any law firm. You can start out with Microsoft Forms or Google Forms, and DocuSign or Dropbox. Intermediate automation tools such as Zapier and IFTTT take it up a notch. Or you can invest in the workflow automation software targeting law firm management.
Need help selecting the best automation options for your office? BlueCastle IT can help. We’re here to set up, secure, and keep your software and systems running smoothly. Contact us today at 860-215-8960!