What can Law firms practically do with Cloud forms to manage the Corona effect?
Archie Courage, MD of FormEvo.co.uk, gives a ‘Thought Leadership’ statement on “What can Law firms practically do with Cloud forms to manage the Corona effect, keeping staff productive as well as both clients and staff safe?”
Social distancing: we get it. Time to tackle ‘Document Distancing’ with minimal ‘touch-points’
- Document Distancing, is how do you collaborate with clients and staff without being in the same place, at the same time, with the same physical documents?
- Minimal ‘touch-points’ has two angles; critically look at
- direct meaning; how can you reduce the number of times a document is physically touched.
- holistic meaning; how to reduce the amount of times, you re-enter the same data into your document process
3 things you can do to help answer the question:
1) Use systems in particular FORMS applications that work via a browser window – that’s easy you do that already BUT don’t stop there. There is more to it than downloading a PDF/DOC file and typing it up. Downloading a Word form or document, is really not great! why? It is NOT secure, and you cannot Share it with colleagues or clients and know it is safe. In times of home working, security will be reduced despite you are doing your best, operating from home and borrowing some of its technology is just not as safe; that’s just a fact, so why then add more insecurity by using and sharing with clients ‘Word based forms?’. It is like not wearing a face mask on The Tube?
The Times Legal feature 14th May 2020 said: “The lockdown, which has meant that most lawyers are working from their homes, prompted the regulator to issue a warning for extra vigilance amid increased reports of cyberattacks.”
True Cloud based forms should be within a webpage, i.e. Digital, not just a downloadable electronic formatted form. Digital forms allow you to securely ‘share’ drafts or complete forms with colleagues? Appreciate the difference between Digital forms and Electronic downloads. Take a Law Society TA6 for example share it digitally with your client and they can fill it in, whilst creating document distancing, let alone saves the hassle of handling and posting it back. Take that one step further and achieve minimal ‘Touch-points’ with the client eSigning that form. No actual paper contact, a fast turnaround and a full audit trail assisting you’re your compliance. No PPE needed here.
Equally how would you access a fee earners draft forms if they were sick? Or even be aware of a pending MR01, AP1 needing urgent attention? Cloud based forms allow you to set up permissions for Supervisors, to simply access and re-assign the forms monitoring, reducing the stress from this difficult situation.
2) Minimal touch points means (and this involves standing back and looking at your systems and processes), ‘Stop re-entering the same names and addresses over and over’. Case management delivers this, Search providers achieve this, Cloud forms is all about this. You can have one or all three of these. When looking at which to choose; short list the ones that ‘Integrate’. This is where you cut down the ‘touch-points’ to a minimum. Ask yourself, have I asked my provider if they can integrate with other systems that I use? If yes, good. Are you currently benefitting from that integration, if not, why not? If no, change provider. Think about your data capture points and how many times is that data subsequently, reentered? More than 2 times and you are exposing yourselves to unnecessary risk. That would be like not wearing gloves and touching every public facing door handle and not washing your hands.
3) We now have some answers to questions. Take a reality check and consider ‘shielding’ the most vulnerable. YOU and your firm are vulnerable. You need ‘Cyber Shielding’. Cloud is great but only if it is secure, your cloud horizon, needs to be independently proven as secure. Ask all your providers for evidence of their ‘Independent Security risk assessment’ this ideally comes in the form of them being Cyber Essentials Plus accredited, or similar. (Cyber Essentials means the GCHQ minimal standards have been met or surpassed). To learn more about Cyber Essentials Plus, click here.
Look for this Logo
and if it’s not there, ask where is it?
Finally, ask to see the latest vulnerability check results, (different to Cyber Essentials Plus). How so? Cyber essentials plus, looks at the inside of the suppliers’ systems and verifies the touch points inside their whole technology network are safe. The list is long and challenging to match up against for the supplier.
The Vulnerability scanning is checking from the outside, so that the cloud-based application does not have any exposed risk areas in its digital footprint. See Figure 1.
The Times Legal features page, last Thursday 14th May 2020, has this exact point being made in an article that’s relevant and you should read, click here. See how Cyber Security affects all sizes of firm including magic circle ones. Read about the Laserform Cloud data breach here.
Summary, what should I be doing?
- Use Digital cloud forms that can be shared and eSigned. See FormEvo.co.uk. Simply stop using downloadable buggy Word DOCX files or PDFs.
- Consider how to reduce your repetitive data entry – contact your current Forms provider, does it integrate with your case management? Not got case management! It is well worth taking a look at, Quill Pinpoint, Insight Legal, LawWare, InTouch, ActionStep and Clio
- Push your suppliers current or future, to have Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation and if they do not have it, is it on the roadmap? Either way make them show you their Vulnerability scan reports. Get visual proof they are safe.
“Stay Safe” and that expression means considerably more than it used to!
Kindly shared by FormEvo