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22 09, 2022

How Digital Mail Operations Expose Firms to Risk

2022-09-22T10:16:12-07:00September 22nd, 2022|Featured, Paper2Digital Blog|

How Digital Mail Operations Expose Firms to Risk

The article originally appeared in Legaltech News: Here

Security is a funny thing.  For it to work, you have to do it all of the time.  Wearing a seatbelt half the time isn’t a good strategy.  Wearing the seatbelt every time is.

Sending scanned images of inbound, daily mail via email attachments is a ‘scan-to-email’ method that was never intended to be a secure, permanent operation. This was only a temporary solution conjured in response to the pandemic crisis. So why are law firms still doing it this way? The only answer is that nothing bad has happened- yet.

But something bad will happen because it’s not secure.  We don’t have our seatbelts on. Sending scanned images of paper mail as email attachments creates these risks:

  • Lack of governance. When documents are sent as email attachments, the exchange occurs outside of the document management system (DMS), the technology intended to secure and govern them, multiplying risk exposure across the firm.
  • Cybersecurity risk. Along with the rise of remote work, cybersecurity threats have increased by 3x. Email attachments expose the firm to these risks.
  • Conflicts, PII and more. When an email message goes to the wrong recipient or an attachment contains personally identifiable information (PII), firms are exposed to conflicts or significant regulatory fines resulting from lack of compliance with GDPR, CCPA and other regulations.

Security and governance of their information is the number one issue keeping clients awake at night. Firms must take the right steps to secure client information from the moment it arrives. Firms that do not secure client information from the moment of arrival are at risk of an event no one wants. In short, we need to wear our seatbelts all the time.

Lack of Governance

At the most basic level, when a law firm mailroom delivers a confidential file via email attachment, the firm has no control over the document and cannot govern or secure it. Scanned mail delivered as a PDF email attachment often goes to more than one person, so the exposure is multiplied, then subject to the behavior of all receiving parties. Recipients can open attachments on their desktop, circumventing conflicts, or confidentiality, share the file with other attorneys, staff, or external entities outside the confines of the firm’s information governance policies.

And during this process, sending a document by email attachment means the file exists on the Exchange Server, not the DMS. It may then be stored in multiple locations on multiple devices including local computers, network folders, other recipients’ mobile or desktop inboxes, other mail servers and more.

 Cybersecurity Risk

Email is the #1 attack vector for cyber criminals. Users are attacked at the inbox, and the organization is attacked at the email server. Building a permanent daily mail scanning operation on top of this exposure zone is unwise, and unnecessary.

Another risk factor is wrong recipient error. Organizations with over 1,000 employees send approximately 800 misdirected emails every year. That is a rate of more than two emails per day, making it the most common type of error to cause a breach.

The System of Record is the DMS

Wrong recipient occurs most often as a result of an erroneous auto-fill in the send field – but wrong recipient is not the only risk caused by an unintended auto-fill in the send field.

The other negative consequence is unintended conflicts risk.  Email is not a technology that can check for conflicts nor build ethical walls to ensure that only the intended parties of a communication have access to that communication.

The technology for this is the document management system (DMS).

Client information arriving by postal mail needs to be scanned directly to the firm’s document management system (DMS) and be available to users only by a link to the DMS. Simply put, the DMS is the technology of choice for 98% of all law firms to protect and govern sensitive client information and why it is regarded the firm’s “system of record.”

For instance, a wrong recipient “may” occur when receiving an email with a link to the DMS, but the recipient wouldn’t be able to open the link if they were not assigned access.  That’s security.

Not only does DMS secure and govern client information but it is also the technology that helps firms comply with regulations such as The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) at scale. These regulations mandate, among other requirements, that firms be able to classify, track and, if requested, delete personal data held anywhere by the firm. This is effectively impossible with scan-to-email.

This is what it means to build a best practice solution and not an expedient solution.

 Ethical Obligations

Direct-to-DMS delivery of digital mail is not just a good idea, but potentially an ethical duty of a law firm. Several of the ABA Model Rules are particularly related to safeguarding client data, including competence (Model Rule 1.1), communication (Model Rule 1.4), confidentiality of information (Model Rule 1.6), and supervision (Model Rules 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3).

What do these duties require? When using technology, they require that we employ reasonable measures to safeguard the confidentiality of client information, that we communicate with clients about our use of technology and get informed consent from clients where appropriate, and that we supervise subordinate attorneys, law firm personnel, and service providers to ensure compliance with these duties. In comparison to the capabilities of how a DMS protects client information, email is not a reasonable measure.

Conclusion

Security of client information isn’t a part time job.  We’ve got to wear the seatbelt at all times and, unfortunately, the way many digital mailrooms now operate expose the firm to a multitude of risks.  We don’t need to wait for the unfortunate event to happen – firms can act on this today and install the right technology that integrates digital mail with the DMS.

17 08, 2022

DocSolid Releases Industry White Paper, “Digital Mailroom Best Practices for Governance and Security,” at ILTACON

2022-08-16T07:31:20-07:00August 17th, 2022|Press Releases|

DocSolid Releases Industry White Paper, “Digital Mailroom Best Practices for Governance and Security,” at ILTACON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHOENIX, AZ – (August 17, 2022) – DocSolid, the legal technology experts for enterprise scanning, workflow and paper reduction solutions, today announces the release of the industry white paper, “Digital Mailroom Best Practices for Governance and Security” at ILTACON.  The white paper describes the security and governance risks law firms engage in when scanning sensitive client information contained in inbound daily mail and sending as email attachments, as well as provides a detailed best practice roadmap to eliminate these risks.

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2 08, 2022

DocSolid Expands Executive Leadership Team, Welcomes Industry Veteran, Joseph C. Scott, J.D., Senior Director of Client Engagement

2022-08-01T12:19:33-07:00August 2nd, 2022|Press Releases|

DocSolid Expands Executive Leadership Team, Welcomes Industry Veteran, Joseph C. Scott, J.D., Senior Director of Client Engagement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHOENIX, AZ – (August 02, 2022) – DocSolid, the legal technology experts for enterprise scanning, workflow and paper reduction solutions, today welcomes industry veteran Joseph C. Scott, J.D., as the Senior Director of Client Engagement.  Joseph is a recognized leader in legal technology and brings a wealth of experience and industry insight that will be of immense value to DocSolid clients as they prepare for the opportunities and challenges in a post-pandemic world.  In his leadership role at DocSolid, Joseph will ensure DocSolid clients maximize the value they receive from the company’s new Airmail2 Digital Mailroom and Records Room software.

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15 06, 2022

Understanding Clients’ IG and RIM Best Practices with Cadis Stuart-Hodges

2022-06-15T13:03:30-07:00June 15th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

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.

8 06, 2022

The Great Hubbub: Top 3 Reasons Users Love Airmail2 Hub

2022-06-08T13:20:26-07:00June 8th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

The Great Hubbub:  Top 3 Reasons Users Love Airmail2 Hub

Every day, new paper arrives in law firms in the form of documents delivered by UPS, USPS, or FedEx. Before the pandemic, it was custom to sort and deliver this new paper to the desks of folks responsible for its disposition. That all changed when the pandemic sent us home.  Suddenly, the daily mail was in the office, and we were at home.

Mail There and I’m Here

Firms innovated various workflows to bridge the gap. Email was a popular solution, although fraught with risks and efficiencies. Another solution was to continue delivering paper mail items to vacant desks.  Folks would then commute to the office on occasion to review the mail and send it to the appropriate “storage location” for safe keeping or disposal (the shred bin, the working file at home, or perhaps the file room).  Each “location” represented a separate workflow. Of course, another popular solution was to simply scan the inbound mail and send as an attachment to its recipients.

DocSolid took this as an opportunity to innovate.  We developed a Digital Mailroom solution which delivers daily mail directly to the DMS with email simply used to notify recipients of new mail. These notifications were sort of like hearing the rattle of the mail slot at the front door.

But the problem of the mail and the recipient being in different places still needed to be solved along with the concurrent problem of routing the paper version of the mail items to their appropriate “storage locations.”

The Hub Bub

The team at DocSolid went to work on how to “bridge the gap” between the location of the mail – which still arrives at the office – and the recipient who is working at home who needs to get the mail to the appropriate storage location, whether that is the file room or the document management system.

Bridging the gap meant giving the recipient a way to control the workflow of the paper mail even after it was digitized. The answer: the Hub.

The email “notification” sent by the DocSolid Daily Mail system includes access to a “Hub” which allows the mail recipient to communicate with the mailroom team back in the office where the physical mail resides.

The recipient can send messages to the office team that offer instructions on how to handle the paper mail items. Choices like “discard” or “hold for filing” guide the mailroom team on handling the paper mail. It’s simple and intuitive and helps resolve these 3 common user questions quickly and seamlessly:

#1 – When do I know I have mail to look at?  The Airmail2 system uses email but only when it’s efficient to do so.  It is very efficient to send an email (a notification) to a mail recipient letting them know they have mail (yes, “you’ve got mail”).  The recipient doesn’t need to check for new mail – they’re notified when it arrives.

#2 – How does the recipient “route” the physical paper?  The mailroom back in the office is busy scanning paper mail. The recipient is at home and is notified of new mail – and can examine it in the DMS.  But how does the recipient let the mail room know where to dispose of the mail?  It could be a request to “place on desk” or “forward to records” or “shred” (yes – shred … for the intrepid). The ability to provide this disposition instruction is built into the Airmail2 Hub.

#3 – How does my colleague know about new mail?  The Airmail2 solution supports “pairings” – matching other folks with the mail recipient so that all appropriate folks are notified of new incoming mail. This is managed by the Airmail2 system which can update pairings as they change (for reassignments, vacations, etc.).

26 05, 2022

Optimizing Your Mail and Records Room for the New Reality: Hybrid is Here to Stay

2022-06-08T09:48:19-07:00May 26th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

Optimizing Your Mail and Records Room for the New Reality: Hybrid is Here to Stay

The data from Cushman & Wakefield’s latest report, “Office of the Future Revisited: Three New Realities Shaping Hybrid Workplace Strategies,” suggests that almost half (40%) of the workforce will choose to remain in remote positions for the foreseeable future. If this is true, then law firms need a digital mailroom and digital records room operation that is secure, efficient, and reflects the needs for this new way of life.

Cushman & Wakefield’s report analyzes three new realities:

  • Office Space is Still in Demand
  • Hybrid is Here to Stay
  • Role of the Office has Changed

The data behind of each of these realities has drastic implications for law firms and organizations creating their office workplace strategies moving forward.

As firms begin to create their return to office strategies, it is important to factor in how the data of these realities will impact law firm security, efficiency, and attorney productivity.

Reality One: Office Space is Still in Demand

Demand for office space is finally returning for much of the world—and it is being driven by job creation. The world is seeing employment return to the levels it was before the onset of the pandemic. This accelerated growth is pushing more companies to feel the need to return to office or offer their employees the option to return to pre-pandemic office life.

Reality Two: Hybrid is Here to Stay

As organizations and firms create their return to office strategy, one thing is becoming clear: It is time to embrace hybrid. Instead of forcing attorneys and staff back into the office, firm and office leaders must cultivate a common understanding that will optimize employee experience for the limited time that staff is working in-house.

Reality 3: The Role of the Office has Changed

As the office becomes a less permanent staple in the lives of employees, the role of the physical office continues to evolve. Most organizations believe the office is now a place that can cultivate and build culture which can be used to inspire creativity and innovation. With that being said, this shift in mind set, coupled with the realization that hybrid is here to stay, is deemphasizing individuals and their dedicated desks. Instead, offices are focusing more on collaborative spaces and desk sharing.

The Normal NowTM

While these three realities are distinct, they are not all exclusive of one another. All three affirm that the workforce will dictate the next steps for law firms and organizations. While the workforce retains the leverage, hybrid is here to stay according to the data in Cushman and Wakefield’s report.

At the time of the report’s release, there are over 11 million job openings coupled with a 3.6% unemployment rate. The demand to fill roles has provided workers with the leverage to demand workplace flexibility like a hybrid schedule or work from home.

As of the last quarter of 2021 nearly half (40%) of the workforce indicated that they would prefer to never work full-time in office. One fifth of the workforce indicated that they would be open to a hybrid option. With 40% of the workforce stating that they would prefer to never work in office full-time. It is imperative for firms and organizations to create a hybrid workplace strategy that works well for employees and operationally.

A Best Practice Digital Mailroom and Records Room for a Hybrid Workforce

As attorneys and staff change the way they work, the delivery of client mail and requests for physical matter files must change as well. Scan-to-email work arounds that were put in place when the workforce first went remote were only tolerable as stop-gap emergency measures because they present real security risks.

Daily mail is mission critical because it contains client information that is confidential and time sensitive. Attorneys and staff working from home need a reliable, secure method for digital delivery. A daily mail process that relies on the conventional scan-to-email approach is not secure because it was never designed for this purpose.

A best practice digital mailroom operation delivers mail directly into the document management system (DMS) where sensitive client information is kept secure and governed according to firm policy. A best practice digital records room is similar, building a digitization project for scanning large volumes of paper records and storing them in the DMS.

Security is just one of many reasons why law firms need to design a digital mailroom. It is also essential to keep attorneys and staff productive, no matter where they choose to work.

Airmail2 Digital Mailroom and Digital Records Room are direct-to-DMS solutions with certified integrations for iManage and NetDocuments. Transform your firm’s paper-based mailroom and records room functions into streamlined, digital operations with a flexible design that supports work-from-home, hybrid, and return-to-office strategies.

Read the full report by Cushman & Wakefield Here

16 05, 2022

DocSolid Airmail2® Digital Mailroom Implemented by Bricker & Eckler, Gains Firm Significant Efficiencies

2022-05-17T06:39:24-07:00May 16th, 2022|Press Releases|

DocSolid Airmail2® Digital Mailroom Implemented by Bricker & Eckler, Gains Firm Significant Efficiencies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHOENIX, AZ – (May 16, 2022) – DocSolid, the legal technology experts for enterprise scanning, workflow and paper reduction solutions, announces Bricker & Eckler, a 137-attorney firm with multiple offices throughout Ohio, has selected Airmail2 for the secure delivery of digital mail to the iManage Work document and email management application, part of the iManage knowledge work platform.  With Airmail2, Bricker centralized their mailroom for the firm, gaining efficiencies and best practice for digital mail, firm-wide.

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11 04, 2022

DocSolid Expands Leadership Team with IG and Records Expert, Cadis Stuart-Hodges, IGP CRM, as Senior Director of Services

2022-04-11T15:41:24-07:00April 11th, 2022|Press Releases|

DocSolid Expands Leadership Team with IG and Records Expert, Cadis Stuart-Hodges, IGP CRM, as Senior Director of Services 

Former Director of Records for Drew Eckl & Farnham to manage Airmail2 implementations 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHOENIX, AZ – (April 11, 2021) – DocSolid, the legal technology experts for enterprise scanning, workflow and paper reduction solutions, today welcomes Cadis Stuart-Hodges, IGP CRM, as Senior Director of Services, a new role for the company that will add substantial value to clients’ information governance and records management best practices as part of their Airmail2 Digital Mailroom and Digital Records Room implementations. Cadis is a certified records management and information governance professional and previous Director of Records for Drew Eckl & Farnham.  She will oversee DocSolid’s Consulting and Professional Services and manage implementations of Airmail2 for the company. 

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6 04, 2022

Top Information Governance Principles for your Mailroom

2022-04-06T06:09:23-07:00April 6th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

Top Information Governance Principles for your Mailroom

Do Information Governance principles now apply to your firm’s mailroom?

Mail has been a perfunctory function aligned with other physical office services, but the pandemic shifted mail to a critical, and digital operation.

Mail workflows include sensitive client information, launch new work, and therefore often billable activity. This means matter-centric record creation is starting right from mail delivery, not later, from a pile on a desk, even if it be a digital pile on a virtual desk. Protection and integrity of client information has always been a part of our client agreements. Scanning to a digital format does not negate our obligations to sort this information correctly at the beginning of the process.

Since scanning and document description is involved, it is more technical as well. This brings in issues of data compliance and availability but also transparency and accountability from new processes created for the mail distribution. In short, no matter who this process belongs to organizationally, it needs to be a part of your well thought out Information Governance policy, and refined on an ongoing basis, just like any other records management.

Let’s simplify to just three areas of focus for your current digital or ‘soon to be digital’ mailroom operation. Below the 8 “generally accepted record keeping principles” registered as the “The Principles” by ARMA, have been highlighted for you in the areas of focus.

Stakeholder Consultation.  This all-important key sponsorship ties the Digital Mailroom (DMR) to the firm’s ever-growing maturity on conversion to digital matter files.

Setting attorney expectations of ‘maximum electronic delivery and storage’ for overall firm efficiency helps create the all-important buy-in. The greatest success of a mailroom modernization project is standardization across all locations and practice areas which cannot be achieved without strong firm leadership.

A documented, smooth-running mailroom can only be achieved with a design driven by:

  • Accountability from senior management, and
  • Transparency of purpose toward overall law firm record keeping goals.

Protection of Sensitive Data.  This concept is paramount in today’s legal environment (See the current LIFGS white paper on Client Information Governance Requests[i]). Monitoring and auditing tools such as logs of mailroom processes must be used to ‘trust and verify’ as well as safely satisfy internal, as well as external, compliance and potential audit criteria.

Much law firm mail will end up classified as a record, so every bit of accurate metadata added along the way adds integrity to these document classifications and the overall process. Adding further to the integrity, records policy can be amended to start in the mailroom, rather than documenting records only at the time of transfer to longer term storage repositories.

Comprehensive Chain of Custody.  Firms must maintain a comprehensive chain of custody– ‘cradle to grave’ – from mail receipt and opening, sorting/naming/scanning, through a short physical retention and shredding.

In cases of, admittedly, necessary secondary physical delivery, we must minimize and document that process. Adding documentation at this step like “We mark here in the log we were asked to drop it to a desk after scanning the envelope,” is crucial to maintaining the chain of custody in these situations.

Providing fast and appropriate availability of mail items along the way to careful and documented disposition, makes the law firm more competitive, as well as providing a defensible protection strategy for key client and law firm files.

[i] https://www.ironmountain.com/resources/whitepapers/h/how-the-landscape-has-changed

29 03, 2022

DocSolid Airmail2® Digital Mailroom with New Hub Workflow Selected by Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP for Secure Delivery of Digital Mail to iManage

2022-03-30T16:09:17-07:00March 29th, 2022|Press Releases|

DocSolid Airmail2® Digital Mailroom with New Hub Workflow Selected by Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP for Secure Delivery of Digital Mail to iManage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHOENIX, AZ – (March 29, 2021) – DocSolid, the legal technology experts for enterprise scanning, workflow and paper reduction solutions, announces 115-attorney, Los Angeles-based, Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP  has selected Airmail2 for the secure delivery of digital mail to the iManage Work document and email management application. This version of Airmail2 now features Airmail2 Hub, an advanced communications and workflow subsystem driving attorneys’ digital mail productivity.

(more…)

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