Handling highly sensitive information and documents can be challenging, especially for regulated companies who must comply with specific regulations and manage reputational risk. Having worked at a number of law firms—large and small—data security is critical. That said, today’s users expect the same intuitive applications they’ve become familiar with in their personal lives at work, so ease of use is equally important.
Assessing Data Risk
As a mid-size law firm with 200 employees—of which 100 are lawyers—Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP recognized the risk email, online, and mobile working posed to data security. With this, we started to develop a security strategy that would provide 360-degree protection across all channels.
We began looking for an all-encompassing solution that would enable our lawyers to manage and share documents, in a company-approved secure cloud environment. It was also vital that our lawyers could compare multiple document versions to easily see changes and comments, and then be able to share new versions with clients securely. For IT, it was paramount that we maintained control of all documents once they had left the corporate network with a detailed audit trial. As a UK law firm, it was also essential that we could hold all sensitive data in Europe.
Workshare: Combining Ease of Use with Data Control
Having previously worked with a company called Workshare, who provides secure legal software for comparing documents and collaborating with others, they seemed a natural place to begin our search.
We began testing their award-winning offering, Professional, a suite of applications for secure document comparison and collaboration. We were really impressed with how intuitive the comparison capabilities were, and that hidden sensitive data was cleaned from documents attached to emails in one, simple, desktop product. This meant that our lawyers could continue working the way they wanted to with Workshare operating in the background. For IT, this gave us the peace of mind and control we needed to ensure that no data could be leaked or shared by accident.
Fully satisfied with Professional, we quickly began rolling out Workshare Protect Server, which allows IT to set granular data policies to strip metadata from attachments sent via hosted exchange, webmail, and mobile devices. As part of the implementation phase, Workshare assigned experts from their IT support, customer success, and development team who worked around the clock to ensure the project was delivered on time. The Workshare team’s expertise and knowledge of the legal sector is unmatched and this made the deployment process easy.
Data Protection at its Best
Since implementing Professional and Protect Server, Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP has benefited from greater control over how company and client data is managed and shared. Fee earners are now empowered to work the way they want, in the most efficient and transparent way with clients. With secure file sharing extended to mobile devices, our fee earners can now share documents securely from the office and on the move, providing a consistent level of security across the firm.
With this project, we have met both our lawyers’ needs for an easy-to-use application, and IT’s need for 360-degree protection. Our lawyers are now able to accurately compare lengthy documents and at the click of a button, securely share these with clients via Workshare. This brings a number of efficiency gains but also provides Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP’s clients with the confidence that all sensitive information and documents handled by the firm remains secure and fully auditable at all times.
By Anthony Graham, Head of Information Systems at Thomson Snell & Passmore
As Head of Information Systems at TSP, Anthony is responsible for managing the firm’s IT requirements. Anthony has experience of working in both the public and private sector for companies such as Clyde & Co, Lloyds, Willis & British Rail. ITIL and PRINCE2 qualified Anthony has managed and implemented IT systems and service delivery within law firms for the last 15 years.