Proper cyber security tools deliver safety and improve productivity
By Carl Mazzanti
The technology industry loves shiny new toys, but law firms need specialize to solve real-world problems. The challenge, though, is to select tools that will improve productivity and security while delivering cost savings and enhancing both client and attorney experience. In the current cost- and labor-constrained environment, potential and existing customers expect more and better services for lower prices, along with assurances that their sensitive information will remain secure and confidential. Legal technology consultants at a well-staffed IT support services provider should be able to offer a menu of essential services, from Microsoft 365 integration to cyber security, cloud services and eDiscovery tools.
Cloud-based practice management
A legal practice management system, or LPMS, can serve as the essential foundation for managing cases and clients. Although many firms still use on-premises solutions, a cloud-based LPMS delivers the flexibility of anytime/anywhere access for attorneys who demand it, while satisfying clients who expect such online services as a portal for client intake, billing, and communication. These kinds of client-facing features, however, are only the starting point. Critical LPMS functions include client/contact management, calendaring, time and expense tracking, automated billing, matter management and conflict checking.
Facilitate document management
Traditionally, lawyers have loved paper documents, since they provide a kind of audit trail of activity. But thanks to technological advances, that same level of tracking confidence can be obtained with paperless systems that can save costs and improve organization. Digitized documents are also easier to search, while offering more protection against loss or unauthorized access of key documents on a granular level.
Legal document management software facilitates this process by providing access to documents through a central repository. The document management system not only supports document organization and storage, but also allows legal teams to classify documents according to type, client, and other essential criteria.
In addition to classic documents and spreadsheets, a document management system provides the ability to save email messages in a centralized fashion, to a case folder, while providing tools for automating legal document assembly.
Integration with office software
An effective legal practice management software system will feature a suite of tools to manage communication — including email, word processing, and presentation software — that integrates tightly with the firm’s document management software and LPMS.
Microsoft 365, for example, delivers essential communication and collaboration tools, and has released a version of Microsoft 365 for law firms. Additionally, Microsoft Teams includes a host of resources to support collaboration.
Modern cyber threats
Legal practices are prime targets of hackers, since lawyers typically store a treasure trove of valuable information on their systems. Consequently, a robust cyber security system is a basic requirement for firms and solos alike.
Security gaps can be identified with a comprehensive risk assessment, while an effective legal security strategy will include multiple security layers that include encryption, email filtering, multi-factor authentication, and monitoring.
Then, before recommending specific cyber security tools, a knowledgeable cyber security consultant will take time to sit down with a client to clarify the problems the technology needs to solve. This kind of huddle will enable them to develop a list of pain points, priorities, and current processes at the client, and then involve stakeholders in choosing and implementing appropriate technology solutions.
Top-performing legal practices have a host of responsibilities, including maintaining document retention, access, and flow in a secure environment. Fortunately, high-quality managed IT services organizations can deliver solutions that will let firm owners and solos breathe a bit easier as they address these challenges.
BIO: Carl Mazzanti is president of eMazzanti Technologies, a cyber security and IT support organization based in Hoboken, NJ. The company can be reached at [email protected].