How to Maintain Client Confidentiality With Third-Party Software


01/26/2016

In a recent LegalTech article, Lisa Senger highlighted some of the concerns facing law firms in an age when legal document management is becoming increasingly digital. Collaborating with colleagues and sharing information with opposing counsel can put confidential client information at risk. As the need for increased security rises, developers are under pressure to meet the demands of their clients and ensure the safe and confidential transfer of information over a variety of networks outside of the organization.

Use third-party software to enable client confidentiality with features like redaction and digital rights management

To save the money and effort it takes to develop and stay up-to-date on the latest software for security, many developers are looking to third-party providers, like Accusoft, to supply the latest solutions for document confidentiality and security.

Redaction

The easiest way to preserve the confidentiality of your end users' clients is to eliminate the confidential information. When text is selected and redacted from a document, the redactions are burned into the new saved version, eliminating the confidential data from the file before it is shared with a third party. With auto-redaction, eDiscovery is less burdensome on law firms, allowing them to find repeated instances of confidential information—like a social security number—and redact it throughout a document automatically.

Digital Rights Management

When sharing client information outside of the firm, your clients are worried about that information being stolen or otherwise misused. For instance, after a case is over, opposing counsel may not delete files in a timely manner, putting confidential information at greater risk. With DRM, you can control who sees which files, and for how long. DRM software allows you to assign permissions to view, print, and download files and documents. After a case is over, you can simply revoke permission to access the document to ensure users cannot view confidential client information longer than necessary.

Finding a Third-Party Software Provider

Third-party code libraries are everywhere these days, and there are many companies offering redaction and DRM tools. But just because you found something great on GitHub doesn’t mean it’s without risk to you and your business. If you’re thinking about using third-party code in your applications, here are some important factors to consider:

  1. Security: Recent hacks of retail giants like Target and Home Depot have put cybersecurity in the spotlight recently. You need to be able to make sure the product you integrate into your software comes from a safe and reliable provider. Do your due diligence and make sure the company you choose meets your security needs.
  2. Versatility: Is it the best solution for your business? Don’t purchase software that doesn’t meet your needs. The toolkits you use should be flexible enough to do what you need them to do, even if you change your application. Finding software that is updated regularly with the newest features will let your applications grow without needing major revamps.
  3. Support: Documentation, maintenance, stability, and tech support are all important factors when sourcing your third-party code provider. Does the software support your framework and platform? Make sure the product you choose has the right documentation to allow you to implement the tool quickly and easily. Do the developers provide support? They should. Your provider should be able to answer any questions you have about their product.

The key to making third-party code work for you and your business is setting and maintaining high standards. Make sure the code you choose to integrate into your applications is something you would be happy to see coming out of your own department.

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