The importance of keeping legal information secure
Legal practitioners have access to so much information, a great deal of which is confidential and sensitive. Although the specific types of information vary from protected health information (PHI) in healthcare settings, to discussions leading up to contract negotiations, the need to protect it from being viewed by unauthorized people is the same.
Before legal matter management software, attorneys and paralegals had to use paper files and filing cabinets to stay organized. This could sometimes make it difficult to maintain confidentiality, especially if someone forgot to put away a file or lock a cabinet. With the invention of software for legal matter management, it has become much easier to maintain security and comply with the regulations that govern sensitive communications and documents.
However, not all software programs are created equal when it comes to protecting confidentiality. Without the right rules and privileges for access to different areas of the system, legal matter management software is no better than an unlocked filing cabinet. The team members at Legal Files Software take security and compliance seriously, so we offer a number of tools and functions to promote and protect it.
Maintaining confidentiality and compliance with regulations
When it comes to compliance and security, our team strives to help clients comply with rules and regulations by creating a series of permissions for who has access to what in Legal Files Software.
Each organization deals with different information, and each member needs to be able to view and change various things within the legal matter management software. As a result, our system is designed to be customizable. Our goal is to help legal departments at every type of organization, including hospitals, universities, law firms, government agencies and corporations, comply with rules about who can view what.
Thinking about different levels of access
When your legal department is setting up a new legal matter management system, you need to consider many different factors. One of the most important things to think about from a compliance perspective is the different levels of access and permissions needed for everyone in the department and organization.
The first level to consider is the most general. At a high level, your organization needs to determine who has access to what in the system and who can control the configuration of Legal Files windows. This requires you to decide who should be able to alter the software’s design, data fields and functions.
This is important because each client builds a unique configuration in Legal Files Software to organize their matters, deadlines, contacts, emails, documents and so much more. It’s all about managing what matters to you.
When a new client purchases Legal Files Software, our implementation specialists work with them to determine what each employee will do within the system. It’s important to make these decisions because Legal Files Software is designed for the non-technical user. Anyone, with the right permissions, can make changes in the system, which is refreshing and empowering, but the organization should have rules to control who can make these changes.
The next level to consider when implementing legal matter management involves daily use of the program, specifically who can input data. For example, a legal assistant will need permission to create new matters in the system, and an attorney will need to have the ability to save emails and notes.
Within Legal Files Software, you can establish security groups to define who can do what in the system. This is known as the function level. Basically, it refers to who can create matters, change them and view them. Although clients have complete involvement in these decisions, they don’t have to make them on their own. The implementation specialists provide guidance and support to help clients decide what is right for their organization.
The final level is file or matter level security. It relates to one basic question: Who can see the file? Each organization needs to find a balance between granting the appropriate access levels and protecting security. Each person in the organization will have different permissions. Some employees will be allowed to see all files, but others will be limited to see only certain file types. It’s not all or nothing when it comes to who has access to the system.
Because the software holds all information for a legal department, employees from other areas may sometimes need to see certain pieces of it. By granting limited access, employees from other departments don’t have to contact the legal department to ask for specific information, which can create a bottleneck. They can go directly to the system and see what they need.
For example, employees from a company’s marketing department may need to review contracts for expiration dates, but they don’t need to have permission to change them or see earlier drafts. For this reason, you can use Legal Files Software to restrict the access of these employees to only let them see the final contract or certain drafts.
The same is true with outside counsel. Legal Files Software makes the practice of law more interactive by offering these individuals a restricted-use license, which still maintains the security and integrity of the system.
Help with managing audits
Legal Files Software also helps with compliance as it applies to report generation and audits. Departments can ensure compliance by tracking who has access to what in the system and finding out if anyone is doing something he shouldn’t. The system’s records also provide an audit trail, which enables you to see who created what and who changed it.
All organizations have different compliance needs, so a one-size-fits-all solution will not work for effective legal matter management. By customizing access levels for each member of the legal department and providing restricted user status for those outside of it, Legal Files Software protects the security of information and helps legal departments stay in compliance.