2 min read

Balancing Protection and Productivity for Modern Legal Workflows

October 25, 2023


We get it – security can feel like a chore for anyone not in IT. Unique passwords and encryption keys can easily take a back seat when lawyers are busy juggling client conferences and court dates.  


But, client confidentiality is a serious business. Just this year alone, five class action suits were filed against several prominent law firms, alleging that they failed to protect their data from potential cyberattacks.  


You’ve heard organizations like the American Bar Association (ABA) sound the alarm about security risks in the legal sector. The 2022 ABA TechReport found that nearly 1 in 5 lawyers reported a breach at their firm. Yet, only 40% of survey respondents admitted to taking the standard security measures.   


So… Why are so many lawyers slow to adopt better security?  


The gap between security awareness and action 


It’s possible that lawyers may feel a false sense of security when using certain cloud solutions. The ABA found that lawyers increasingly use tools like Dropbox and Box to share documents and collaborate. 


But do legal professionals know how these platforms actually secure sensitive data? For example, some solutions do not have client-side encryption in which data is encrypted on the sender’s side before it is transmitted to a server such as a cloud storage service.  


Another factor could be simple human nature. 


Change is hard. It’s natural to stick with familiar tools, applications, and processes. This could explain why Shadow IT is commonplace at many firms.  


When you’re overwhelmed or under tight deadlines, it’s tempting to bypass protocols and use familiar, yet unapproved apps. They can often help you work faster and accomplish more in less time. However, speed and convenience come at a cost. Shadow IT can expose your firm to cyber risks.  


A difficult dilemma: security vs productivity  


IT leaders face a dilemma: support security or productivity? 


On the one hand, they can give teams secure tools. But tools with rigorous security features can also slow down productivity. On the other hand, tools that improve productivity often lack basic security needs.  


In a recent survey, only 7% of users reported no issues with security restrictions imposed by their company. Yet, 93% admitted to actively searching for ways to bypass them. Motivated and resourceful employees will eventually find workarounds. For example, if you block Dropbox, chances are they’ll spin up Box, Google Drive, or another unsanctioned solution. 


More IT training helps but it’s not enough. Shifting behaviors requires solutions that blend security seamlessly into existing workflows.  


A different approach to security 


The most effective tools don’t force tradeoffs between productivity and protection. It’s possible to buy solutions that effectively offer both.  


Solutions such as ShareFile for Legal, use best-in-class security features that IT needs to ensure the firm’s data stays protected. The solution also includes built-in workflows that help lawyers with common document-centric and client-centric workflows.  


Using ShareFile for Legal, firms finally have a secure, easy-to-use business workflow and document management solution that allows team members to securely share, exchange, and collaborate on confidential legal documents. It adds a layer of protection within existing workflows without interfering with employees’ productivity and efficiency. 


Finding these balanced solutions, however, requires tweaking your technology criteria. In addition to security must-haves, stakeholders should add employee productivity needs to the criteria list.  


When robust data protection integrates seamlessly into an intuitive user experience, it flips the script on perceived tradeoffs between convenience and security. Making now the perfect time for the legal community to explore these new types of solutions.