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Document Dump: How File Creation is Crushing Businesses

Document Dump: How File Creation is Crushing Businesses

We hate to admit it, but there is just too much stuff on the internet these days.

Did you know there are over 2.5 trillion PDFs created each year? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. New documents of every style and size are filling up the empty corners of the web with each passing second.

Document Dump: How File Creation is Crushing Businesses

Image via Kotivalo at Wikimedia Commons

Naturally, controlling, protecting, and tracking these countless documents have become nearly impossible. There is just too much out there to keep up with. Add in our endless connectivity and that documents can be duplicated and distributed across the globe in seconds, and document security and regulatory compliance become legitimate concerns for businesses.

According to a survey of over 500 industry professionals by BPI Network, these concerns are on the forefront of executives’ minds:

  • The majority said that the “accelerated pace and connectivity of business” is requiring more investments of time and money into document production and storage than ever before (83 percent)
  • Many claimed that organizational pushes for better process formalization is driving the need for more documents (42 percent)
  • A third of respondents reported an increased need for documents due to advancing business complexities and industry partnerships (33 percent)
  • Over a quarter cited greater regulatory compliance and oversight as a driving force for more documents (26 percent)

What does it all mean?

There are many factors driving the need for more comprehensive documentation. Unfortunately, with increased documentation comes increased risk. According to BPIs report, the biggest document challenges faced by businesses include:

  • Maintaining document security (84 percent)
  • Inefficiency stemming from document mishandling (59 percent)
  • Increased risk and incompatibility issues when using multiple document versions (36 percent)

These challenges leave executives in a tricky situation. Industry processes are driving the creation of never-ending documents that must be stored and protected within regulatory guidelines.

Locking Down the Docs

Despite regulatory challenges that increase commensurately with the number of documents produced, CIOs are not alone in the document compliance fight. Though technology has facilitated the problem, it also provides solutions—cloud-based platforms can substantially increase document-processing visibility. Finding a solution that allows users to retrieve documents digitally, update from any location, and track changes made to each file is a good first step.

More broadly, processes should be established for verifying and authenticating each document created. While streamlining document creation and approval is no easy task, taking a hands-on approach to document security will become necessary moving forward. Each file produced must undergo a systematic review to ensure accuracy and efficiency of delivery. As these processes integrate into business infrastructure and cloud security solutions continue to evolve, handing the endless flood of new documentation will become much more manageable.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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More Data Vendors Means More Data Risk, says EMC

More Data Vendors Means More Data Risk, says EMC

The future is hard to predict, and a new survey by EMC shows that the IT industry is ill-equipped to take on the challenge. According to the Global Data Protection Index, a survey of 2,200 IT professionals and decision makers across 18 countries, businesses are not prepared to tackle the emerging road blocks of data security.More Data Vendors Means More Data Risk, says EMC

Key statistics from the report include:

  • 18 percent of survey respondents predicted that their organization’s data security infrastructure could support future business challenges.
  • 10 percent said the opposite—their organizations were unprepared to handle emerging issues.
  • 34 percent admitted that their organizations could handle “some” future challenges.

The report also detailed the costs associated with unplanned system downtime. On average, a business can expect to lose $550,000 and 22 hours of employee labor during each down period. In addition, the losses compound as more data vendors are involved—businesses with four or more data vendors had to wait an average of 37 hours before all processes were restored.

Complex Data Environments

Why do multiple vendors make things so complicated? According to Michael Wilke, EMC senior director of marketing, Core Technologies, it all comes back to data. He explained that each vendor has its own strategies for deploying solutions and data protection, and as the number of vendors increases, the data environment becomes less transparent and harder to manage.

“Monitoring complex data protection environments becomes extremely difficult, making failed backups harder to detect and rectify,” he said.

Moreover, these backups are necessary for data security—EMC’s report found that hardware failure was the biggest cause of unplanned system downtime, followed by power loss, software failure, and external breaches. As EMC revealed, this downtime can significantly affect a businesses’ productivity and financial security, making it essential that organizations relying on multiple vendors have security solutions in place.

The Cloud Solution

Despite how unprepared many businesses seem, all hope isn’t lost. According to the research, cloud technology was a common and well-regarded solution for data protection. Of those surveyed, the majority utilized cloud recovery in some form:

  • 45 percent used cloud services for archiving and long-term data retention.
  • 33 percent used cloud services as a mobile device backup.
  • 21 percent relied on cloud technology for disaster recovery.

Though most businesses these days rely on the versatility of multiple data vendors, this flexibility comes at a cost. Each data vendor involved places the organization at greater liability. Moving forward, Businesses need to understand the risks inherent to sharing sensitive information, even with reputable data vendors, and try to prevent downtime, create backups, and utilize cloud storage should a problem occur.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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Why We Need to Redefine eDiscovery and Information Governance

Why We Need to Redefine eDiscovery and Information Governance

The relationship between information governance and eDiscovery has been poorly defined in the legal world. Typically, legal firms view eDiscovery as a byproduct of forcible legal action; an individual process only addressed when a party “legally anticipates litigation.”

However, the mindset of viewing eDiscovery in a bubble separate from information governance costs businesses big in the way of inefficiency, over-collection, and disjointed organizational goals.

Defining the Relationship

Past models, such as the EDRM model, have been used to define the relationship between eDiscovery and information governance. EDRM represents information governance as a discipline that feeds into the eDiscovery process—a feature inherently misaligned with the mission of information governance.

The more recent IGRM model comes closer by including legal, compliance, IT, and business perspectives in the equation, but fails to show the full life cycle of information governance and its relationship to eDiscovery. Joining the two by presenting IGRM as the “other half” of the EDRM coin provides a clearer picture of process complexities, but still falls short by depicting eDiscovery as a natural progression of information life cycle.

Big Data Information Life Cycles

To truly define the relationship between information governance and eDiscovery, businesses must use technology to make sense of the noise and offer a clearer view of data life cycles. Organizations must first use this technology to help distinguish which data is transient and which data is necessary for business decision-making.

Why We Need to Redefine eDiscovery and Information Governance

Fortunately, data analytics and machine learning technology have progressed far enough to enhance efficiency of information governance processes, including categorization, improving access to data, and supporting data destruction under retention policies.

These analytic reviews should begin early in the information life cycle. As soon as information is created or received, analytics can automatically classify documents into categories based on content and prepare them for future analytic processing, even at scale. However, analytic technology alone can’t solve every business’s information woes. Analytics can’t be applied en masse to random data sets; processes for applying technology must be efficient and scalable to remain financially viable.

Above all, the long-term impacts of these analytics tools must be assessed, both on the business and individual user levels. Data security and privacy should remain a priority throughout these processes too—sacrificing security for the sake of efficiency is not a viable solution. With new models being devised and new technologies to apply, legal firms are in a good position to tackle the broader problem facing discovery: how to define the relationship between information governance and discovery in a way that leads to better efficiency throughout the data life cycle.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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Data Security or Data Privacy? The Challenges of Regulating Personal Data

Data Security or Data Privacy? The Challenges of Regulating Personal Data

Data is a company’s greatest asset, but it can also be an Achilles’ heel when regulatory compliance isn’t met.

Though policies for data security are rising due to the increased prevalence of cybercrime, laws dictating how companies can control user data are less regulated. Policies surrounding data privacy have traditionally been under-prioritized, with many legal firms not understanding the distinctions between data security and data privacy. Matters are compounded further when regional variances in data policy come into play.

Defining Data

How data is handled depends on how it is defined—law denotes a distinction between what is considered “sensitive” data and “personal” data.

Personal data is defined as any information that can identify an individual directly or indirectly. Sensitive information is a subset of personal data, defined as information that can only be taken and collected locally if mandated by law. Personal data is more tightly regulated and the focus of most privacy legislature.

Privacy Regulations

Keeping compliant with personal data privacy regulations becomes a significant challenge when international business enters the picture. Legal requirements protect personal data from being collected, used, processed, shared, or transferred in specific global and regional jurisdictions.

Data Security or Data Privacy? The Challenges of Regulating Personal Data

“…If you run legal operations of a company in the U.S., it does not mean you have the right to access data in a foreign jurisdiction.” Said Sheila Fitzpatrick, data privacy expert working with the US government and council of the European Union.

The problem stems from the complexity of data management in each region—local jurisdictions have their own laws that must be adhered to, no matter where the business is conducted. According to Fitzpatrick, transparency is key:

“You need to collect data that you absolutely have to have to run the business … you need to understand what you are using that data for. You need to be very clear about why you are collecting that data and what you plan to do with that data. There is no implied consent.”

Data privacy is subject to several other unique regulations too, chief among them the “Right to be Forgotten” mandate. Part of this legislation denotes how companies have an eventual legal obligation to delete user data unless it has a legal hold protecting it.

Although data security is well-established, data privacy is still undervalued in the legal world. The increasing globalization of e-discovery and the legal world will require more regulations concerning cross-border e-discovery, data ownership, and how to ensure both information security and data privacy for all users.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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Breach Management: The Value of Outsourcing Data Security

Breach Management: The Value of Outsourcing Data Security

According to most legal firms, managing cybersecurity is not a problem.

This mindset, unfortunately, is a much bigger problem.

A Law Department Operations (LDO) survey conducted by LegalTech news in 2015 found that only seven percent of respondents believed their law firms’ cybersecurity strategies could not protect their organization’s data. The consensus was that established cybersecurity policies were enough to handle possible breaches, despite reports from the FBI in 2011 that identified law firms as major targets of cybercrime.Breach Management: The Value of Outsourcing Data Security

One of the survey respondents even laughed at the lack of caution shown by his/her fellow LDOs: “Not only will big law firms be breached, but they have already been breached. They are just not talking about it.”

With cybercrime on the rise and many legal firms feeling overconfident about their cybersecurity policies, how can law firms be sure that they are keeping data safe?

Outsourcing Data Security

If the first step of correcting a problem admits that the problem exists, then legal firms must acknowledge their weaknesses in the areas of cybersecurity and data control. Legal firms are not experts in data security, despite the valuable information sent through legal servers each day. This makes most firms ill-equipped to handle cybersecurity on their own.

Big companies may have dedicated IT security teams, but not all firms enjoy this benefit. If a business lacks in-house expertise, working with third-party security professionals may be necessary. However, not just any security provider will do the trick—the data security team chosen should be able to handle a wide range of issues:

  • Compliance with federal guidelines for data security
  • Hardware security, including desktop computers, cloud storage, external hard drives, and server infrastructure
  • Software security, including updating versions, patching known vulnerabilities, and maintaining malware protection
  • Big data management by way of identifying redundancies, controlling user access to sensitive data, and creating incident response plans

All other considerations aside, there are three primary things to look for when selecting a cybersecurity service provider:

  1. A firm’s ability to monitor a system in real-time to recognize breaches before they happen,
  2. The ability to stop attempting breaches from occurring,
  3. Response strategies in place if a breach occurs.

Firms that have established protocols in these three areas will have a comprehensive system for detecting and responding to cybercrime. In addition, with hackers developing new strategies for data theft every day, legal firms, do not have a second to waste in getting their data security frameworks up and running.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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Lean and Mean: Improving Efficiency in an Outdated Justice System

Lean and Mean: Improving Efficiency in an Outdated Justice System

With ever-shrinking corporate budgets and more eyes turned to where dollars are going, clients are demanding accountability from their legal representation.

Strategies that were once considered “business-only” are finding a home in the legal world. The push towards optimization practices like Lean Six Sigma is increasing as the high costs of legal discovery and litigation are creating unrest in the legal world.

Lean Six Sigma in the Legal World

Understanding Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma is an optimization concept with its roots in Henry Ford’s groundbreaking continuous assembly line. The idea involves reducing business workflows to the essential processes that increase customer value and streamline operations. Much like how Ford revolutionized the automobile manufacturing industry with his optimized workflows, big businesses like Toyota, General Electric, and Samsung have adopted similar strategies in search of reduced organizational waste.

Specifically, Lean Six Sigma is viewed as a method of defining, measuring, analyzing, and improving processes with the overall goal of increased efficiency. Moreover, while these processes have traditionally been business facing, they function well in legal settings too.

Applying Lean Six Sigma to Legal

The legal world has its own, if outdated, structures for process optimization. The federal rulemaking process promotes judiciary efficiency, but this 80-year-old system is very different from the Lean strategies being adopted by businesses today. In the past, the civil justice system prioritized comprehensive discovery over cost management. This lead to chronic overspending on discovery and forced settlements based on financial restrictions rather than case merits.

However, recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) may change the way discovery is handled. These amendments alter discovery limitations and place responsibility on attorneys and judges to justify how proportional discovery is to the needs of each case. The goal of these amendments, particularly Rule 26(b)(1), is to protect against redundant and wasteful discovery costs by encouraging attorneys to look at the big picture of each case. When discovery must be justified with specific and defensible assessments, optimization will be a matter of course.

This concept is the central tenant of applying Lean Six Sigma to legal cases. Much as the 2015 FRCP amendments reduce waste, Lean Six Sigma forces individuals to look at the entirety of a case and ask hard questions about which processes are essential. As legal teams adapt to more conservative discovery practices, the benefits of deploying Lean workflows will become more apparent. Just as Henry Ford changed the manufacturing world, business optimization practices make waves in our outdated legal infrastructure.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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Privacy Survey Highlights the Poor State of Data Security

Privacy Survey Highlights the Poor State of Data Security

Risk management remains a priority for legal firms across the world, but new research is showing just how unprepared many industries are to take on the challenge.

Privacy Survey Highlights the Poor State of Data Security

Guidance Software performed a data risk and privacy survey on a variety of industries, including government firms, IT industries, and financial services. The respondents, primarily security executives and security analysts, shed light on the current state of information security and how they felt security should be handled moving forward:

  • 48 percent reported feeling unprepared to identify and protect sensitive information from data breaches, mishandled devices, or human error.
  • Despite this lack of confidence, 46 percent believe that protecting sensitive data is a top priority.

How data security should be handled was addressed.

  • 69 percent feel that it’s important to systematically delete obsolete or outdated information.
  • 55 percent are most worried about private or sensitive data residing on servers or endpoints.
  • Over 37 percent feel that a risk management solution for regulatory and policy compliance is important for data security.

Security Solutions

With so many respondents reporting discontent with the current state of data security, it makes sense that legal firms are hungry for solutions.

Risk management software lets organizations understand the flow of sensitive data, from the time of creation to its eventual endpoint throughout the workflows of each industry. These workflows include file creation, email sharing, transmission to multiple devices, and storage in databases. Without dedicated data management software, each of these points of contact creates multiple vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

Enterprise software protects data throughout every step of its use and ensures that information practices comply with external regulatory bodies, such as HIPAA.

Building a Culture of Security

Software data security through risk management platforms is the first step of total information governance. To ensure true data security, the most significant security variable present in any enterprise must be addressed—employees.

According to IBM’s 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, 95 percent of all security incidents involve human error. Legal firms must mitigate employee mishandling of information by creating protocols governing data use. Across email, mobile device communications, and file transfers on external storage systems, employees must follow defined rules that dictate how they handle sensitive data.

The effort required to implement these protocols will be substantial at first, but security practices can be refined over time to better align with the workflows of each organization. This will ensure that efficiency isn’t lost while trying to secure data. When legal firms have a strong culture of security backed by risk management software solutions, data breaches and information loss will become concerns of the past.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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Mobile Messaging Apps: Is the Legal World Ready?

Mobile Messaging Apps: Is the Legal World Ready?

Messaging applications have entered the workflows of many legal firms due to the enhanced productivity and communication options they offer.Mobile Messaging Apps: Is the Legal World Ready?

However, a recent study by Infinite Convergence Solutions on mobile messaging for legal firms painted a grim picture of the current state of legal messaging. Results of the study showed that:

  • Only 22 percent of respondents used mobile messaging compared to 69 percent who used email.
  • Usage rates of mobile messaging are relatively low—when surveyed on the reasons why, 30 percent of respondents claimed to prefer sending emails or making calls, 23 percent didn’t enjoy the lack of paper trail present in current mobile messaging solutions, 30 percent weren’t authorized to use mobile messaging by their company, and three percent didn’t feel that mobile messaging was secure enough to use.

These findings highlight the biggest drawback of mobile messaging—messaging applications aren’t equipped with necessary user features and are ill-suited to handle secure business data. Though mobile messaging provides more extensive communication options among legal teams, firms have a long way to go before messaging applications enter the legal mainstream.

Education is Key

To address the growing need for mobile messaging security, managers must make staff education a priority. Legal firms send mixed messages on safe mobile messaging in the workplace; some firms disallow it altogether and some allow it while not understanding the regulatory obligations compromised by its use.

In response, some firms block all messaging applications outright, but this strategy reduces productivity and limits communication flexibility for staff members. Instead of taking draconian policies against mobile messaging, firms should establish protocols and frameworks to govern its use. Many issues surrounding messaging privacy relate to staff members unknowingly revealing sensitive information—establishing a culture of stronger privacy will lead to better data security across all communication channels.

Secure Messaging Options

Education is the first step, but it’s not the only measure legal firms must take. Secure enterprise messaging options are necessary for legal firms wanting to protect privileged data while providing communication options for its employees. Additional research from the above study found that 44 percent of companies don’t use an official mobile messaging platform.

Implementing secure, regulatory-compliant communication channels allow legal firms to release themselves from the burden of mobile messaging data security. Enterprise-specific messaging platforms provide guaranteed compliance without sacrificing productivity.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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6 Considerations for Your Email Security Solution

6 Considerations for Your Email Security Solution

With email still holding a prominent place in the world of communication, businesses can’t afford to take email security lightly. Basic encryption is essential, but the wealth of services available for email security offer a wide range of benefits beyond basic features.

6 Considerations for Your Email Security Solution

Keep these six considerations in mind before purchasing email security software:

1. Outlook Encryption

Microsoft Outlook includes a basic encryption feature, but most businesses find this security method to be onerous. Both parties must have the public key certificate to encrypt and decrypt messages, which is time-consuming when applied to large enterprises.

2. Recipient and File Parameters

For maximum efficiency, your email security software shouldn’t require the recipient to download their own version of your software. In addition, the chosen solution must accommodate the largest files your enterprise may send. Both will help reduce the chance that users will be forced to choose less secure transfer methods to work around software limitations.

3. Security Features

The goal of all encryption software is security, but not all email security solutions are created equal.

Although software that includes multiple verification methods, policy-based encryption, and SSA 16 Type II certifications are the standard, you must ensure the included features offer protection for both emails in motion and emails at rest. Email providers should encrypt emails to keep them secure if an interception occurs during transfer. On the storage side, solutions should offer storage in company-owned infrastructure that limits access to encryption keys.

4. The User Experience

While quality email solutions must first and foremost secure data, they must also prioritize the user experience.

On the sender side, the encryption process should be simple—one-click encryption, email tracking, and receipt notices are essential. Making this process easy increases adoption rates across your enterprise. For email recipients, attachment retrieval should be simple and without the need for additional downloads. Complexity and cumbersome processes reduce adoption and frustrate users while a straightforward user experience accelerates building a corporate culture of security.

5. Mobile Integration and Adaptability

The email solution should be flexible and ideally integrate with the programs users are already familiar with. Most security programs have mobile applications that have secure portal access via your Internet browser. With more business conducted on mobile devices these days, mobile email security is essential.

6. Administrative Customization

Once you’ve researched the must-have security features, your final choice may come down to how customizable you want your email security system to be. Competitive encryption solutions offer advanced options to tailor the email platform to each business or individual user. Digital signatures, automated messaging, or adding your brand logo are all bonus features that can give your security solution an edge. Identify and deploy an email solution, which allows for easy customization, one-click ability to secure communication and claw back and true traceability and intelligence.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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5 Reasons Why Legal Firms Must Prioritize Digital Documentation

5 Reasons Why Legal Firms Must Prioritize Digital Documentation

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.5 Reasons Why Legal Firms Must Prioritize Digital Documentation

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.

Dean Van Dyke iBridge LLC

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.

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