Paper documentation in the legal world is quickly going the way of the rotary phone.
ICO recently reported that legal data security breaches increased from three to four percent last year, with most arising from loss, or theft of paperwork. With the drawbacks of paper documentation increasing, legal firms that have no digital transformation strategy are missing several advantages that digital documents offer.
1. Better Productivity
Digitally searchable documentation can save tremendous amounts of time and worker productivity. Did you know that employees in information-based industries spend an average of 11.2 hours per week creating and managing documents? Worse yet, six are wasted by the inefficient burden of transferring and filing paper documents, hours that could be saved if digital documents were the norm. The inefficiencies of paper filing add up quick.
The productivity benefits of digital documentation are twofold: digital documents are searchable by variables, such as title or keyword, and can be instantly accessed. They also let multiple users review and amend them at once, saving the time and hassle of physical document transfer between parties.
2. Streamlined Communication
Digital documentation allows faster communication among workers. Any user with an Internet connection can access documents stored digitally in the Cloud, or sent through email. This creates streamlined messaging among parties working on the same project and allows businesses to display real-time updates to clients who have access to the project.
3. A More Mobile Approach
With the legal world becoming increasingly mobile, digital document systems leverage the rise of mobile use by letting lawyers work wherever their phones are. With Cloud-based project management, folders and documents can be shared regardless of geographic location. There’s no worrying about the transportation of physical documents, or concerns about letting papers fall into the wrong hands.
4. Cost Savings
Digital documentation can be an effective way to optimize a physical workspace. Many offices have storage rooms full of old paperwork and files. Digital systems free up space, and can be a lifesaver for small offices with little real estate to spare.
5. Going Green
Despite the digital push, legal firms are still printing up to 10,000 pages per month. This creates a significant environmental impact on the community. Digital strategies negate the need for large-scale printing and provide a necessary boost to corporate sustainability and the local environment.
Data Security Concerns
Despite the well-documented benefits of digital strategies, many legal firms are reluctant to take the plunge due to their fear of poor digital document security. How can you protect your online information?
Fortunately, digital information governance is affordable and easy to deploy these days. Data security firms can work with legal departments to ensure ironclad digital security for their privileged information, helping firms correctly recycle and destroy their outdated paper files. Taking these security steps will ensure that legal departments are kept safe during their transition to digital documentation.
Written by Dean Van Dyke, Vice President, Business Process Optimization
Dean Van Dyke is the Vice President of Business Process Optimization for iBridge. He brings more than 18 years of customer relations, business process outsourcing, lean six sigma, program/project management, records management, manufacturing, and vendor management experience to iBridge. Mr. Van Dyke was the former head of Microsoft’s corporate records and information management team and served honorably for over fourteen years in the U.S. Navy and Army National Guard. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota and his Master’s in Business Administration from Colorado Technical University.