Every manner of communication from the law office to a client is expected and understood to be strictly confidential. Naturally, a major goal of every lawyer is to establish a lasting relationship with the client through confidential and timely responses to the client’s needs and requests. Therefore, an “on-going” and “ever-ready” means of secure communication serves to enhance the attorney-client relationship. By the law office taking measures to assure that all disclosures, documents, and discussions are uncompromised and secure, the lawyer conveys to the client the fact that the client’s privacy is as important to the lawyer as it is to the client.
In recent months there have been an alarming number of security breaches through social media, email, major cloud configuration systems, and other unsecure means of communication. These breaches have created an atmosphere of concern and distrust in regard to quite a number of products that use digital technology. While keeping this in mind and considering today’s ever-changing digital world, it is no surprise that clients, especially in the legal community, have become security conscious.
Nevertheless, today’s society is becoming more and more paperless. The federal court system and most state court systems now mandate the electronic filing of documents. The medical profession has now moved to consolidate all files into electronic formats at specific locations. Members of the insurance industry have moved their files into electronic server farms. Major corporations have spent billions of dollars on server farms for electronic filing. Proper electronic filing is easily accessible with today’s technology; and is more secure and protected from: improper access, terrorist attacks, floods and other natural disasters. Due to the rapid pace of the business world, most lawyers depend on a form of electronic communication as the means of providing responses and legal analysis to their clients. But are those lawyers forgetting security?
Regardless of whether an analysis of a client issue is provided through face-to-face meetings, phone calls, or otherwise, it is appropriate for the client to expect the attorney’s response to be provided in a secure manner. But, as noted above, some unsecure means of communication, e.g. email, fax, social exchange sites, and open internet devises, can expose client data and compromise security. It is apparent that the law office cannot afford a communication breach; therefore, a strong commitment to security must be in place.
The contemporary lawyer has a greater need to embrace secure communications than ever before, therefore, face-to-face meetings (personally or through videoconferencing) give the attorney an advantage in interpreting a clients concerns and body language. As the modern lawyer becomes more dependent on videoconferencing as the “go to” tool for secure communications, there are certain pitfalls that should be avoided when selecting a videoconferencing system. Just as the phone became commonplace in every home and office, so has the computer. Since nearly every home and office has access to a computer, it is advantageous for the law office to utilize that technology in communicating with clients by video. Therefore, finding a videoconferencing service that can be used by each client’s existing computer, without requiring software downloads or memberships in a social network, is critical.
An additional concern, as noted in the introduction, is to be certain that a videoconferencing system provides the necessary security. Unfortunately, most popular videoconferencing systems in the market place today were built for the general public and security was not a consideration. Therefore, a worthy videoconferencing service should provide the attorney with a multifaceted security service that has multiple layers of defense and encryption devices to prevent outside intrusion.
Another essential element of effective client communication would be remote document sharing. Most attorney-client meetings include document review and during such times, security is critical. Although there are a handful of effective services that exist to make document sharing a secure and safe experience with a client, very few include live videoconferencing. A system that couples document sharing with videoconferencing, while maintaining security for both, is a service that can be confidently used.
One more important feature to look for is client tracking. The most effective services provide methods for the administrator of a document storage system to not only monitor when a client downloads a document but reports when the client views it. This serves two purposes: to make sure the client securely viewed the document and to provide an avenue for bill tracking.
The strongest videoconferencing platform is one that deploys a combination of services in one location thereby eliminating the need to acquire three or four different products. The best and most economical solution would be a service that provides for various needs through a comprehensive bundle of secure videoconferencing, encrypted document sharing and storage, and confidential client file management.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vincent A. Pundt is a Co-Founder of enlighten technologies, inc.™ and serves as the Executive Vice President of Product Development. He is involved on a daily basis with many of the technical aspects of enlighten™ and holds copyrights/trademarks on the various source codes developed for the underlying programs and websites. The LegalConference.com web based videoconferencing, document storage, and client file management system being marketed through the company was conceived and initially designed by Mr. Pundt.