Many countries have legal professional privilege (aka “attorney-client privilege”) as a foundational aspect of their court systems. This legal principle protects conversations (including, but not limited to in person, on the phone, via email, etc.) between a client and their attorney from being made public without the client’s permission.
Privilege allows clients to be completely honest with their lawyers, who can then do a better job with their legal work. However, while it protects against legal discovery in court, it also represents a sacred obligation law firms have to protect their clients’ information, and thus a pressing need for data security. The costs of failure can be immense – not only can there be a variety of punitive regulatory responses depending on the legal jurisdiction, but clients can sue for damages and a firm’s reputation can be irrevocably damaged.
1. The Cost of Physical Protection and Delivery Confirmation
Law firms have long relied on tracked physical shipping and couriers as a way to privately transfer important documents to recipients. These couriers typically ensure that documents were delivered properly via signature confirmation.
While this is frequently the preferred method for delivering documents, it can be expensive and dependent on whether a given legal firm can find the recipient’s physical location. Because timeliness is critical in a huge variety of legal matters, firms may feel that they have no recourse but to pay for expedited physical transit. The good news is that technology exists that offers more efficient options.
2. Communicating Quickly While Preserving Privilege in the Digital Age
Email was never designed to be secure. When it comes to client information, law firms shouldn’t put anything in an email they wouldn’t put on a postcard.
Not only is it lacking security, but there are few protections against improperly addressed messages that could accidentally leak sensitive information. Including a note at the end of your communications saying that they should only be read by the intended recipient only goes so far in protecting your firm.
What your organization needs is a method that better defends against intentional or accidental breaches of your clients’ trust, while maintaining speed and convenience.
3. A Fax for Your Firm’s Future: FoIP
It’s easy to discount fax in the internet age, but don’t let the mental image of cranky old machines keep you away from one of the simplest, yet most effective document communication tools at a law firm’s disposal. Even if you currently use fax machines for correspondence, know that there’s a more modern alternative that offers the same benefits (and more) at a fraction of the cost.
Modern Fax over IP (FoIP) does away with unreliable machines and expensive analog phone lines in favor of a software solution that sends faxes using your internet connection. It’s faster, easier to track for auditing purposes, and affordable, while still preserving fax’s inherent security against interception.
FoIP solutions can direct incoming documents directly to recipients’ devices, including computers, mobile devices, secured Multi-Function Printers (MFPs), and more. Delivery tracking is more accurate with FoIP, and sensitive papers don’t sit exposed on communal machines. This can be a key consideration if your firm handles business for financial or healthcare organizations bound by laws like HIPAA or SOX, where access to sensitive information needs to be controlled and documented.
4. Secure File Sharing for Law Firms
Several consumer-grade file sharing solutions exist on the market, many including trial versions that won’t cost your firm a thing. Unfortunately, these products were not designed to include the high level of security that legal documents require. Additionally, they usually provide limited or no audit trails, making it difficult to ensure files were delivered to and viewed by the correct entity. Using such solutions can put your firm at serious risk.
Secure alternatives that offer similar functionality along with encryption, audit trails, and other protections exist, and should be used to prevent exposure. A 2-factor authentication feature will not only increase protection, but also help reduce the risk of miss-addressed messages by sending the necessary key to open them via a different route. For an extra layer of security, secure file sharing solutions will often host files in a mailbox that can be instantly deleted with the click of a button. Deleting the mailbox enables the sender to purge files if a link to the mailbox if accidentally shared with an unintended party. The system should also be designed to track every instance of interaction with the documents, enabling the sender to know with confidence whether files were viewed and by whom.
Not all options are equal, however. Many are overly complicated, leading to a poor experience for outside users and requiring extra staff time to walk them through the intricacies.
Simple, Cost-Effective, Secure Document Exchange for the Legal Industry
Increasing protections on your communications doesn’t need to include dramatically increased costs and staff hours.
XM SendSecure is a cutting-edge secure file transfer solution that is designed to perfectly balance security, tracability, and ease of use into a single, powerful package. Not only is it affordable and efficient for your staff, but it’s easy for outside entities to use without creating an account or receiving training.
In addition to the features described in the section above, XM SendSecure also offers ephemeral storage and a file verification system. The ephemeral storage helps to ensure that hackers can’t stumble upon files after they’ve outlived their usefulness and the file verification system helps prove in court whether documents have been modified from the versions you sent.
XM Fax is the leading FoIP solution, delivering speed, security, and efficiency with flexible deployment options (on-premises, cloud, and hybrid cloud) to suit your firm’s needs.
Reach out to us to learn how you can streamline workflows while increasing protections for you and your clients.