Does Your Law Firm Do This to Keep Client Data Confidential?
Takeaway: Protect privileged client data by choosing an eDiscovery application that has (1) Cloud security, (2) multi-factor authentication, (3) tiered user permissions, (4) a reliable redaction tool, and (5) in-app production sharing.
Confidentiality is a hallmark of eDiscovery that law firms can’t afford to ignore.
Clients won’t feel comfortable sharing embarrassing/legally-damaging information unless they know your firm can keep these secrets private. And this unfiltered sharing is essential for good eDiscovery because it helps you advise your clients about their rights and represent them effectively. So, unless a client gives you explicit permission to disclose privileged information, your firm needs to have systems in place to protect sensitive data.
Confidentiality is so crucial that the American Bar Association has clear directives about it.
The ABA highlights how important informed consent is when representing clients. And it emphasizes that there are only a handful of circumstances when informed consent doesn’t matter. (For instance, you could share privileged information if it will help prevent certain death or substantial bodily harm. Or to prevent your client from committing a crime or fraud. Or to defend your firm against criminal charges or civil claims directed at a client.)
This means law firms must protect against both planned disclosures and unintentional leaks.
Law firms are accountable for inadvertent leaks, too – not just willing disclosures. (The perfect example is the recent Alex Jones trial, where his attorneys accidentally shared incriminating texts and email messages from Jones’ phone.) Further, firms must protect against revealing clues that a third party could use to uncover privileged information. So, piecing all this together, it’s clear that law firms need watertight measures to prevent data leaks at multiple levels.
Here’s where the right eDiscovery technology can help, with a range of inbuilt security features.
Nowadays, eDiscovery services run their applications in the Cloud, so you won’t have to install and maintain any hardware or software. Instead, you’ll simply log in via your web browser and access/upload files as you would with other cloud apps like Dropbox and Google Drive. This makes eDiscovery much more convenient because you can work from anywhere – all you’ll need is a laptop and an internet connection. Also, you’ll have the following inbuilt security features to protect client information.
1. Cloud servers use strict security measures to protect your data.
Cloud services encrypt data as it gets uploaded, hosted, and reviewed – so it’s protected from hackers. And they run rigorous background checks on their employees – so only authorized personnel can access their hardware. They also backup your files on multiple servers so you won’t lose your data to fires, floods, etc. And they have generators to keep your files accessible, even during power cuts.
2. Users need to pass multi-factor authentication (MFA) to log in.
If you choose an eDiscovery service with MFA, users will need more than one piece of identification when logging in. For instance, they’ll need to enter a password plus an authentication code received via SMS or a trusted authenticator app. (This is the level of protection you’ll find behind high-security services like ATMs.)
3. Case owners can control who has access to what information.
You likely won’t want everyone on your team to have the same level of access to case data. So, case owners can assign each team member a different level of access. For instance, eDiscovery software GoldFynch has four user access levels: ‘Reviewers’ can search and review data. ‘Users’ have Reviewer privileges plus the ability to upload/delete files. ‘Admins’ have all these privileges plus the power to assign access levels. And ‘Owners’ can do everything, including adding and deleting entire cases.
4. A reliable redaction tool will help you permanently scrub privileged data.
Redacting privileged information might seem pretty straightforward. But it isn’t. For instance, you could use a drawing tool to place a black box over sensitive text – but a skilled reviewer would be able to lift that box off the page and reveal whatever’s underneath. (As an example, Paul Manafort’s team tried to ‘black out’ sensitive text from online documents, but journalists easily reversed the process, making that poorly-redacted text readable again.) That’s why you’ll need a reliable redaction tool to help ‘burn in’ redaction boxes and permanently remove sensitive text. Learn more about eDiscovery redactions.
5. In-app production sharing will prevent accidental data leaks.
Sharing completed productions via email or USB is risky because you might mistakenly send them to the wrong people. Instead, the best eDiscovery applications let you share links to your productions from within the software. So, you’re inviting specific people in rather than sending sensitive data out. And you can invalidate these invitation links at any point, revoking access rights. Plus, you’re sharing completed productions, so you’ll prevent people from snooping through unredacted source files. Learn more about sharing productions.
GoldFynch does more than just keep your data confidential, though.
- It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
- It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
- It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
- It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
- Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.
Want to find out more about GoldFynch?
For related posts about eDiscovery, check out the following links.
- A Complete Glossary of Essential eDiscovery Terms
- A Quick Primer on GoldFynch’s eDiscovery Software
- A Free PST Analyzer to Check If Your eDiscovery PSTs Are Intact
- Use This In-Browser PST Viewer to Explore Your eDiscovery Emails For Free
- The Secret to Choosing the Best Low-Cost eDiscovery Software for Your Small Law Firm
- How To Make Your eDiscovery Productions Less Hackable
- Is Social Media the Future of eDiscovery?