Understanding Clients’ IG and RIM Best Practices with Cadis Stuart-Hodges
Cadis Stuart-Hodges, IGP, CRM
We spoke with Cadis Stuart Hodges, IGP, CRM, who joined DocSolid earlier this year as Senior Director of Services. Prior to joining DocSolid, Cadis spent over 15 years inside of law firm’s IG and Records departments and was the Director of Records for Drew, Eckl & Farnham.
Since she joined, Cadis has been overseeing DocSolid’s Consulting and Professional Services divisions, adding value to clients’ IG and RIM best practices for Airmail2 Digital Mailroom and Digital Records Room implementations. We caught up with her to see how her new role is going.
DocSolid: How do you see your role as Senior Director of Services at DocSolid?
Cadis: I am in the constellation DocSolid management helping to make sure that our implementation staff and our consultants have everything they need to serve our customers. Helping the services staff and even our sales people have a good view of the important parts of the information governance journey for law firms is also part of my day to day. My role is to make sure that our customers have the best experience while also ensuring their Airmail2 and records room solution is an industry best practice for all the firm’s important processes: IG, records, and security.
DocSolid: Why is IG, security and records and information management important for a digital mail room?
Cadis: The most important reason is risk management which is a huge part of the legal landscape. The thing that you are always trying to do is to keep your risk as low as possible as a law firm. It’s how you build procedures. It’s why you have client guidelines.
Your biggest areas for risk is your client information. That’s the client’s trust in you, that’s your bread and butter, how you’re working every day. The last thing that you want to do is put a process in place that keeps your client information less secure or exposes you and your client to an external threat that could have been prevented.
The way that IG helps you manage that is by creating and implementing the processes around that information that keep it secure. You need to know at all times where your data lives, what format it’s in and how you are transmitting that information around your firm.
Airmail2 closes a huge gap in that risk because Airmail2 does not put client information out into your whole system. With Airmail2, you’re putting your information directly where it needs to go–the DMS–because your DMS is where you govern all of your data, all of your document information, all of your client information, your mail ingestion, your emails back and forth, your documents that you produce for work, your client produced documents–all of that is governed in the DMS.
With Airmail2, you’ve got an end to end, auditable process. It gives you the pathway to ingest information and put it directly where it needs to be governed—in the DMS—which reduces a firm’s risk immeasurably.
When you’re doing things in a more hodgepodge way, you’re attaching stuff to email or you’re having people open PDFs on their phones, or they’re forwarding PDFs, or they’re sending a copy to themselves and the entire team. There’s no definitive version of that information. You don’t know who’s going to put it into the DMS or if it will make it there at all.
You avoid all of that by having a definitive copy that is immediately put into the DMS from the Airmail2 system.
DocSolid: Give us an example of a specific IG challenge that our clients have been facing.
Cadis: A common resistance we face is that people still want a copy of that PDF in their email—when what they really need is what we provide: a direct link to the DMS that opens the document directly. I think a challenge that we’re currently facing is that people want to have that information on the go and what we help them to understand is that they need their document management systems to be what is available on the go, not PDFs in your email. Best practice is never to have that PDF in your email at all, this is something that we help firms understand.
DocSolid: Have you had some recent successes in helping some clients improve their IG policy around their digital mail room?
There are several recent success stories at a wide range of firms – from a 100+ attorney firm to one of the world’s largest firms–where DocSolid came in and looked at their process and revamped them all together. These firms were all-in immediately and completely prioritized IG and security of their client information. A key factor, especially in the larger firm, was the top down leadership endorsement of the project which essentially did not allow for deviation from our IG-driven processes for digital mail.
Overall, I am seeing more and more firms understand the importance of the governance piece and that is a victory—for the firms. Security of information is driving it – and the dovetailing of security with governance is a trend we will see more of and a positive one if it pushes firms to implement best practice processes over their sensitive client information.
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