Document Collaboration

Secure Collaboration Solutions Enable Working Safely While Working Remotely

With recent events requiring an increasing number of employees to work remotely, organizations must make important decisions about how best to balance employee safety and operational continuity. Over the years, businesses have significantly enhanced their abilities to support remote workers while securing data, yet there remain considerable limitations and concerns that restrict the efficiency and effectiveness of remote work models.

When it comes to legal professionals, it is critical to ensure that all confidential communications and documents remain secure. Corporate legal departments must maintain management of the risks associated with organizational communications. Similarly, outside counsel must maintain secure means of communication and the protection of attorney-client confidentialities. However, the sharing of sensitive corporate information among remote workers in a manner that ensures continued compliance with legal mandates will strain the capabilities of IT departments.

Pitfalls and risk abound when methods of organizational communication change. A sudden surge in the number of remote employees will create challenges ranging from the privacy, protection, and governance of data to physical hardware security issues, data loss prevention, and business interruption.  Currently, it is estimated that less than four percent of Americans work remotely on a full-time basis. (Source: Axios)

Corporate business communications that typically occur within a confined IT environment will be adversely affected when huge volumes of off-site transmission cause a spike in remote log-ins. In the coming weeks, many organizations will be forced to alter their preferred methods of secure communication, testing their ability to function timely without running afoul of compliance obligations. Law firms will continue to face deadlines on current litigation matters while having to support attorneys that cannot work in their offices for the foreseeable future.

The current crisis will continue to cause major changes to the business landscape, and such events affect the legal profession in many ways. Already strained court systems face possible closures, and law firms struggle to put forth plans to address their future business. Organizational needs for systems that provide remote employees with access to secure data, and enable sharing of that data, will rise rapidly in the short term. Within the past few days alone, many large law firms have issued mandates to their staff to work from home. (Source: Law.Com)

Collaborative, secure data sharing platforms can help serve as a channel for approved communications between those not physically working in their offices. With sensitive corporate data often requiring greater protection than that provided via email, many organizations will find themselves seeking temporary solutions to enhance security and other functional capabilities in support of a remote workforce.

It is essential for organizational security to remain enforceable, regardless of the increased use of corporate networks by remote employees. Protecting document confidentiality and remaining compliant with other business regulations cannot be sacrificed. The use of secure, web-based sharing platforms will enable organizations to limit the business interruption caused by the current health crisis.

A sharing technology platform allows remote employees to collaborate freely in a fashion similar to their ordinary course of business. Technologies that enable comprehensive workflows, allowing users to check information in and out and track pending document changes, will become more commonplace with a rise in remote working. Platforms that allow users to easily prioritize tasks and approve the actions of their co-workers while preserving an audit trail of activity will grow in popularity. Moreover, solutions that offer visual analytics will gain further adoption, as will dashboards that provide remote access to and overview of data.

While challenges are apparent as entities struggle to identify and deploy technologies that provide greater support for mobile workforces, customizable solutions exist to help organizations meet such demands. Knovos is uniquely positioned to assist organizations that are seeking secure, collaborative sharing environments as they work to support the temporary challenges that have arisen due to the current pandemic. Learn more about Knovos and our secure collaborative sharing platform here.

Legal Technology

Tech Talk: Legal Risk Management and Legaltech

At 39 years and still going strong, Legaltech has earned its rightful reputation as the industry’s largest and most important annual event — bringing together esteemed exhibitors and speakers to showcase and discuss the latest innovations and trends in legal technology.

This year, Knovos employees from around the world convened at the New York Hilton Midtown to staff our booth, offer detailed product demos, host pre-booked meetings, and answer attendees’ questions. We also spent a lot of time networking with industry peers, and once again hosted an opening-night reception at the Museum of Modern Art.

Our focus during the three-day event was on highlighting how Knovos’ suite of holistic solutions can help organizations navigate the legal risk management cycle — mitigating the potential financial loss and reputational damage associated with increased litigation, internal investigations, data breaches, and failure to achieve regulatory compliance.

Other subjects of discussion at Legaltech included cybersecurity, data privacy, machine learning/AI, the cloud, eDiscovery, collaboration, compliance, project management, product licensing, and data analytics.

The importance of the knowledge shared throughout Legaltech cannot be overstated, whether during an educational session or while networking. When contacts with specialized roles within their organization have the opportunity to interact with other industry experts, they are able to glean valuable insight from a knowledge management standpoint. Organizational efficiencies identified through such interactions often result in the implementation of technologies designed to address multiple needs across a complex distributed data landscape.

In the coming months, it will be interesting to see if there’s a significant drop-off in these valuable face-to-face opportunities and if event organizers are able to pivot to producing more online educational events with networking components.

Cloud learning

As an avid social media user, I often find that the content being shared online during conferences is a good reflection of the key topics being discussed with the greatest frequency. Based on an analysis of hashtag keywords on Twitter that referenced Legaltech, I generated word clouds to gain some interesting insight into the key issues discussed this year.

There are some keywords that I readily expected to be present, such as “artificial,” “intelligence,” “sharing,” “secure,” “cloud,” “planning,” and “management.” In addition, the term “legal IT” appeared prominently, which makes sense as it speaks to the two main categories of conference attendees — legal professionals and information technologists. Surprisingly absent to me, however, were such words as “privacy” and “innovation.” Many of the conversations I had at Legaltech this year included discussion of innovations and the impact of data privacy laws on data governance obligations.

The terms “artificial” and “intelligence” are certainly linked, with many focused on the use of AI and where it can be used effectively to assist in a legal context. One common topic related to AI is the use of data analytics technologies. Effective use of data analytics can help attorneys identify issues of concern within a data set that might never have been discovered otherwise. Further, such technologies can be used to trigger alerts to compliance officers and legal professionals to help reduce certain organizational risks.

It is also understandable that “sharing” appeared as a frequent term, as many of the discussions at Legaltech related to the use of collaborative technologies. Similarly, the term “secure” reflects concerns about the need to keep cybersecurity protocols in place. Secure sharing environments that allow parties to limit access to specific information based on individual user rights are being relied upon with increasing frequency.

References to “cloud” are reflective of the fact that many Legaltech attendees rely on cloud-based storage environments. Also increasingly common are hybrid models that allow certain data to remain behind an organizational firewall while other data resides in the cloud. The need for data governance policies and technologies that reach across an enterprise, garnering insight into information regardless of where it is stored, will continue to impact organizational decisions about what solutions to employ.

From both a micro and macro perspective, it also makes sense that the terms “planning” and “management” both appeared in the word clouds. Despite significant advancements in AI technologies, many conference participants expressed frustration with their current project management capabilities and the resulting inefficiencies they routinely experience. Technologies that help manage workflows and track communication, as well as assign job tasks to team members, are gaining increased industry use. Also increasingly in demand are project management technologies that provide real-time status reports and budget projections.

Legaltech takeaways

While technological innovations are critical to optimizing organizational efficiency, it is also important to understand which technologies are readily available from third parties, as innovating from scratch is not always the most cost-effective option.

Implementing the right technology to address a true organizational need can provide substantial return on investment, while also reducing organizational risk. Establishing plans to control organizational workflows and processes is essential for the proper implementation of new technologies, as is defining the user rights for those tasked with employing the solution. One concept that rings true each year is that three core elements remain vital to any Legaltech-related discussion — people, process, and technology.

For more insight into this year’s Legaltech and the issues discussed by attendees, I encourage you to check out this brief video featuring an interview with my colleague Sid Jiwnani, director of Knovos’ European operations. Also, stay tuned to our product webinar series, during which we will continue to demonstrate the unique capabilities of our full suite of legal solutions.