Remember when you and your childhood friends used complex knocks, passwords, and handshakes to govern entrance into your backyard treehouse club? No matter how much older neighborhood kids teased or younger siblings begged for access, you and your friends protected your secret society with a vigor befitting an amateur spy ring.
Even as children, we instinctively understand that some types of information are more sensitive and require more protection than others. This understanding follows us through our lives, with secret handshakes turning into locked diaries and locked diaries turning into phone passcodes.
In running a law firm, when protecting sensitive information can be the difference between success and failure, secret handshakes start looking more like full, end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and password-protected URLs.
Even though the average employee wastes eight hours per week on paper management, US businesses still spend $350 billion on computer printing each year. Part of the reason for this is simple–it’s about security.
Data breaches reached a record high in 2021. And it’s not just big corporations that are getting hacked. Almost 50% of small and mid-sized businesses suffered a cyberattack, and at least 29% of law firms have reported a security breach.
A more frightening statistic? According to an American Bar Association report, just over one in five law firms don’t actually know if their firm has experienced a security breach. But if someone who shouldn’t know the secret knock has figured it out and rummaged through your firm’s “clubhouse” (i.e. digital files), well…that’s a pretty big deal.
But thanks to new tools for law firm file sharing, digitizing your firm’s document management processes doesn’t have to be risky. Investing in secure file sharing will help your practice:
- Satisfy legal and ethical obligations
- Increase efficiencies
- Improve data security
- Protect against data loss
- Manage large file transfers
Reason 1: Satisfy legal and ethical obligations
As a lawyer, you know better than anyone that you have legal and ethical obligations to protect your client’s confidential information. Industry best practice standards require counselors to take every possible action to safeguard attorney-client privilege, and statutes establish that lawyers have a fiduciary duty to keep client information secure.
Utilizing secure file-sharing tools establishes a good faith effort to do both.
Reason 2: Increase efficiency
Secure file sharing, with or without a client portal, allows access to documents anywhere, anytime. This means no matter what time zone you and your clients are in or how far apart you are geographically, work can keep moving forward. By removing what have traditionally been barriers (scheduling conflicts, transit times, etc.), your firm’s cycle times can be reduced with very little effort.
Secure file sharing also creates opportunities for real-time collaboration. These live, streamlined work sessions can save many valuable hours by substantially reducing back-and-forth communication and cutting the amount of time spent switching between word processing, communication, and editing platforms.
Reason 3: Improve security
The defense capabilities that come with secure file sharing (secure links, encryption, password protection, etc.) can significantly lower the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information. And even if bad actors do breach your system, role-based access permissions create natural breakwalls that limit the amount of information they can find, which also curbs the amount of damage they can cause.
Reason 4: Protect against data loss
Regularly scheduled, automatic data backups are a function of most secure file sharing platforms. This means that even if your firm’s server crashes or one of your partners leaves their laptop in an airport somewhere, the most current versions of the important documents your team members have been working on won’t be lost.
Reason 5: Support large file transfers
Contracts, settlement agreements, and discovery are never short stories. Research estimates that law firms spend up to three percent of annual revenue on printing and document output. Printing multiple copies of all the documents for a single case, let alone hundreds of cases, is not an efficient process, and digital copies of these documents are often too large for standard email attachments.
Secure file sharing makes it easy to quickly upload and access large document files.
Secure file sharing vs. client portals
About 25% of corporate email messages have attached files. That’s 76 billion emails every day. Attaching files to emails was a groundbreaking technology that dramatically sped up the process of sharing information. But standard email attachments are no longer capable of withstanding sophisticated cyberattacks, nor do they meet security compliance standards for legal workflows.
Thanks to new privacy laws and increased consumer expectations for digital privacy, many firms have turned to encrypted file-sharing platforms and custom client portals to securely share documents with their team, clients, the courts, and other appropriate parties.
Secure file sharing is the process of sharing one or more files with different users in a protected mode using any combination of cybersecurity measures (encryption, passwords, etc.) to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing, copying, or sharing confidential or otherwise sensitive information.
Client portals are web- or cloud-based platforms that provide secure access to documents, IP assets, project timelines, and communication tools. Portals can be a valuable tool for improving efficiency and collaboration in general, but they aren’t necessarily the best file-sharing tool for law firms.
Because it adds one more barrier between you and your client. First, they have to read your email or answer your call to get the correct login information, then they have to move to a different screen to access/edit/sign the file you’re trying to share, then go back to the email or phone to let you know they’ve done it.
Additionally, there are no standards for log-on or navigation processes across portals, which makes it likely that you’ll either have to act as tech support for individuals trying to access their documents or deal with low adoption rates among your clients. Either result will negatively impact the return on your portal investment.
But luckily for you, you don’t have to build out a full portal to safely share documents.
Securely share files easily with Rocket Matter and ImagineShare
As the first legal practice management software platform, Rocket Matter has spent countless hours looking for ways to help our clients improve their operations. We’ve provided integrations for DropBox, Box, NetDocuments, and Evernote for years, but with recent rulings determining that DropBox is not a secure way to share documents, we knew we needed to find a better solution.
That’s why we were so excited to partner with ImagineShare.
ImagineShare’s platform combines the simplicity of email attachments with the security of cutting-edge secure file sharing technology. By integrating with Outlook, ImagineShare eliminates the need for a client portal by adding powerful encryption and security features to your regular email attachments. ImagineShare can also serve as a document management software and supports e-signatures.
Using Rocket Matter and ImagineShare means you can manage every aspect of your law firm from a single, affordable platform without an expensive client portal solution. It also makes things even easier for your clients, since they won’t have to worry about logging in to a separate program to see or sign their documents.
If you want to see what Rocket Matter can do for you, your firm, and your clients, let’s talk.