Case Studies


Business Profile




One of Canada’s top business law firms needed a metadata scrubbing tool that works without user intervention.


Workshare Protect Server


Emailed files are clean and safe No action required by end user Easy installation and deployment High availability and redundancy


Founded in 1903, McMillan is one of Canada’s top business law firms, serving clients, public and private, in major sectors of the economy. Known as “America’s Canadian law firm,” McMillan is committed to serving the Canadian legal needs of American business and has a deep understanding of the differences between Canadian and American law and business that affect Canadian-based and cross-border transactions.

User Profile

The firm’s reputation and particular strengths are in antitrust/competition, banking and finance, corporate restructuring, commercial real estate, tax, mergers and acquisitions, oil and gas, private equity and business litigation. With more than 550 employees and offices in Calgary, Toronto and Montréal, the firm provides high-quality legal expertise to clients in Canada, the United States and around the world.

The Challenge

“As a law firm, document security is of utmost importance to us,” commented McMillan IT director Chris Duncan. “Metadata removal is also a growing concern among our clients, and we wanted to address that concern proactively.” The problem Duncan’s IT team ran into was finding a metadata-cleaning tool that works without user intervention.

“Employees don’t want the burden of cleaning their files before sending them out, so they find ways to bypass desktop security systems. We wanted to roll out a product that would be used consistently to ensure every file that leaves the firm is cleaned.”

Although McMillan has been a Workshare customer since 2002 and had implemented Workshare Professional with great success, Duncan realized his firm needed a server-based solution, which Workshare did not yet offer. He began searching the market for a security product that would (1) operate in the background, (2) clean all documents sent outside the firm, including via mobile devices and webmail, and (3) not rely on intervention from the firm’s users. After looking at a number of options, he thought he had found the answer.

McMillan had previously implemented a try-and-buy version of the only known server-based product available at the time. The solution was supposed to integrate with the firm’s webmail server and spam filter but this was not the case.

“The product used its own SMTP server, based on its own standards instead of Internet standards, so it wasn’t compliant with our mail server or spam filter,” recalled Ryan Shaw, technical support analyst at McMillan.

The Workshare Solution

McMillan’s Workshare account manager contacted Duncan about Workshare Protect Server, a new server-based security solution for mobile and webmail users.

“We have always had an excellent relationship with Workshare, so we agreed to take a look at the new Workshare Protect Server product,” Shaw commented.

McMillan began testing the solution.

“The Workshare team actually listened to us and was very receptive to our ideas about how to make the product work for us,” commented Shaw. “Before they even delivered our trial version, they had already incorporated a number of our recommended changes and come up with workarounds for the rest. It was obvious they wanted our business and had put a lot of R&D time into the product to ensure it met our needs.”

One of those needs was the ability to select which metadata to remove from documents. Because McMillan’s clients use the Track Changes tool in Word, Duncan wanted to preserve that metadata. The firm also needed to retain some other custom properties, such as the identification numbers used to file documents in the firm’s database.

“Workshare enabled us to configure the filter ourselves, so we could choose which metadata to clean,” commented Duncan. “Previously we had to wait hours for our vendor’s tech support team to do it on their time.”

Protect Server worked right out of the box. “We were expecting another failure,” said Duncan. “But instead we got a solution that does exactly what it’s supposed to do!”

Shaw commented, “Working with Workshare’s tech support staff has been a joy for me. They really go the extra mile to make sure everything is running the way it’s supposed to. One staff member in the UK office even got up at 3 a.m. to help us with a server issue.”

Following a successful trial, Duncan’s team was so confident in their new server-based security solution, they decided to roll it out firm wide.

“Implementing Workshare Protect Server was one of the easiest IT projects I’ve had to install,” commented Shaw.” Workshare even sent an installation specialist out here to help us. She spent two days onsite, and the deployment went off without a hitch.”

The Benefits

Workshare Protect Server automatically cleans all files sent outside the firm, including files sent from employee webmail accounts and mobile devices. Employees don’t even realize the application is running in the background, and McMillan’s IT group spends almost no time supporting it.

“We’ve had no problems or complaints with Workshare Protect Server at all,” commented Duncan. “In my experience, it’s rare to find a product that works so well and meets the specific needs of our firm. The solution also allows us to make better use of our IT resources because it’s completely automated and doesn’t require any intervention from users.”

Duncan and Shaw plan to continue working closely with Workshare on future feature enhancements, such as the ability to create multiple profiles when selecting which metadata to remove. “Workshare has done a great job of keeping us in the loop on their product direction,” commented Shaw. “We know they’re committed to making the product work for us over the long term.”

“In terms of product quality and responsiveness, Workshare is one of the top vendors I’ve dealt with,” noted Duncan. “Implementing Workshare Protect Server has been a great experience for us.”