By Anatoliy Yudovich, Chief Technology Officer
Manage information technology (IT) for a law firm? You’ve probably lost sleep over the myriad ways your company’s data can be compromised – and the devastating effects it could leave on your reputation and bottom line.
Due to the highly sensitive and confidential information law firms manage for clients, hackers have increasingly attacked the legal sector with ransomware in the past few years. Law firms also continue to face risks such as silent subpoenas, where business application providers are forced to silently turn over files, emails and any other law firm data existing on their servers.
Although more lawyers now expect their firms to adopt remote work and collaboration tools promise to boost productivity, some law firms remain torn about adopting new technology. The good news is that you can benefit from a collaboration tool while minimizing data security risks. Here are three features that can help keep your data secure as your team collaborates more productively.
Limit Data Access With Secure Hosting Options
The more people who have access to your law firm’s data, the more ways your data can be stolen, shared or otherwise compromised. If you allow your business application providers to store your files, messages and other data on their servers, they could be forced to surrender that data if subpoenaed, and they could inadvertently leak it if their servers are breached.
Many modern collaboration systems are hosted in the cloud, which often isn’t secure enough for law firms since data is stored on the provider’s servers. Tools offering on-premises hosting, however, can provide enhanced security as well as legacy system integration benefits.
On-premises remains a go-to hosting method for many businesses; as of 2019, 98% of organizations used on-premises servers. To set up on-premises hosting, your provider installs a dedicated server that will live inside your firm’s headquarters. Locally hosted services will interact with user devices and your provider’s cloud servers, preventing your provider from ever accessing your information. Private cloud hosting is another hosting option for security-minded firms, offering the control of a private environment with the flexibility of accessing data in the cloud.
Here are the key advantages of secure hosting:
- It reduces the number of touch points your IT team has to monitor, giving them more time to address active threats.
- It safeguards you from silent subpoenas. At any time, your business application providers could be forced to turn over any of your firm’s information living on their servers. These scenarios are known as silent subpoenas because providers are also prohibited from informing you of what was shared. With secure hosting, you can ensure that your providers will never have anything to turn over – because your data will never live on their servers in the first place.
- It can simplify legacy systems integration. If your law firm uses calendar, email or other systems developed over decades, an on-premises collaboration solution makes it much simpler to connect all your systems securely
Ensure Greater Compliance With Customizable Data Governance
The longer your emails, files, messages and other data exist digitally, the greater risks you face. That’s why law firms typically establish data retention and deletion policies indicating which communications should be preserved or removed within a certain timeframe. Your firm may have also designated a secure way of sharing documents and set compliance standards for monitoring channel activity.
Most collaboration tools are not designed with law firms’ privacy and security needs in mind – including ways to apply a defensible legal hold over data – so they offer little or no flexibility regarding data retention and deletion. To help ensure compliance, some firms are integrating third-party apps offering greater customization of their collaboration platforms. Unfortunately, these add-on apps create unnecessary complications and costs for your IT team and business.
A better solution? Use a collaboration tool with customizable data governance features built in. Choose a tool that allows you to customize when certain information is deleted and provides admin monitoring capabilities. With Workstorm, for example, admins can choose how long the platform retains different types of information. Workstorm also integrates with legal document management systems, such as iManage, which sync and store your files and messages so that they don’t linger unnecessarily in your collaboration platform.
Prevent External Threats With End-To-End Encryption
As law firms face new hacking threats, an overwhelming number are unprepared. According to a 2020 report analyzing a global sample of law firms, 15% of networks showed evidence of compromise, and 100% of the sample firms had been targeted by hackers.
One way to address these threats is to ensure that data sent over business applications is encrypted. That way, only your firm has visibility into client documents, financial information or other documents you wouldn’t want to fall into the wrong hands.
Because your information is vulnerable at every stage, choose a collaboration tool provider that encrypts data both in transit between devices and at rest on its servers. For example, part of our commitment at Workstorm is to never store a temporary index on our servers or hand off your local encryption keys. That way, in the unlikely event of a cloud server breach, your valuable data isn’t exposed because it was never there.
Choose the Collaboration Tool Focused on Privacy and Security
Workstorm is the all-in-one collaboration tool designed with privacy and security first, and that’s why it’s a go-to platform for law firms that value productivity and compliance. We prioritize the privacy and security of your data, starting from the moment you deploy. In addition to secure hosting, configurable data retention settings and AES256-bit encryption, we provide further protection through multifactor authentication, single sign-on capabilities, mobile device management, eDiscovery integrations and SOC 2 compliance.