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Protecting knowledge work without impeding access is a persistent challenge, where security teams and users can often seem to be working toward different ends. How law firms are bridging the divide.

Protecting critical content from security threats and breach scenarios needs to be integral to and in accord with how firms need to operate. Law firms must be able to demonstrate that client information is protected at all times, in all locations, and be ready to respond to any type of audit. They must be able to manage the complexities of key employee hires and departures. And they must do all of this while meeting the strict obligations of regulatory compliance.

Modern organizations need to have systems and workflows that allow them to provide a highly secure environment, but give more granular access controls than the “binary” (open or closed) options of optimistic or pessimistic security models allow. One option risks too much and the other creates barriers in the workflow.

The challenge of secure remote access

In the face of a global pandemic, law firms — like so many businesses — were confronted with the imperative of giving everyone the ability to work remotely, at speed. And while all firms strove to ensure that adequate protections were in place with interim security measures, some firms looked beyond immediate necessity and considered their long-term goals. With this foresight, they implemented comprehensive, pervasive security and governance that works with knowledge workers, not against them.

Legal security teams that had laid the groundwork — that were either positioned to move to the cloud or had already done so — had the advantage, here. By moving to the iManage Cloud, they were able to provide their knowledge workers with secure access to the firm’s knowledge assets, anywhere, on any device. And, by integrating with iManage Security Policy Manager, they were able to take the pain out of compliance with all legal, ethical, and regulatory requirements.

Let's take a look at some real-world examples.

Modernizing information management

Cole Schotz major objective was to reduce the overall complexity of what they were managing in their on-premises IT environment and decrease the internal needs for support. But with the capabilities built into the iManage platform, they were also able to upgrade their security protection and automate information governance and retention policies. 

"I don’t have a team that can provide security at the level that I feel needs to be there to protect everything,” said Patricia Mansuy, Interim CIO, Cole Schotz. "I trust that Microsoft and iManage are ensuring that our security is strong and they’re watching 24/7. They’re both large companies, they have reputations to protect, and they can bring more to the table than we ever could as a midsized firm."

iManage protects vital information with Zero Trust cloud architecture, geo‐isolation of data, and customer-managed encryption keys. iManage Security Policy Manager provides an added layer of protection by allowing firms to secure critical content across multiple repositories with ethical walls and need-to-know security access, without affecting productivity or performance. On the contrary, most customers see measurable improvement in both. 

Smooth transition to remote work with significantly upgrade security

Vedder Price PC went live with iManage Work in the Cloud in February 2020. Working from home became a necessity rather than an option the following month. But the transition was ultra-smooth for the approximately 700 attorneys, administrative, and legal team personnel. The compliance and IT teams knew they had formidable protection in place with iManage Security Policy Manager and iManage Threat Manager.

Threat Manager gives us the flexibility to meet our specific compliance requirements,” says Robert Vosters, Manager of Records and Information Compliance, Vedder Price. ​

The firm also uses the billing and timekeeper integration so they can set up self-maintaining policies, such as requiring that a workspace gets closed when a matter is done, reducing the firm’s risk.

Security, accessibility, and making knowledge work TM

Security and accessibility are essential to making knowledge work. They underpin the pain points and successes that our customers share. To overcome resistance to adoption, security must be unobtrusive – but to be successful, it must be unassailable. It must ensure ease of use, mobile and remote access on any device, and rigorous compliance with broad, quickly evolving regulatory changes.

"Moving to iManage Cloud allows us to take full advantage of a vendor that has invested significant time and resources into developing best-in-class security,” said Clint Kehoe, Director of Information Technology, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg. “Our financial services clients have very strict security and auditing requirements, and it was imperative we select a state-of-the-art platform that can secure and manage all of our electronic and physical files. Throughout our evaluation process, iManage repeatedly demonstrated that its architecture and platform capabilities provide the highest level of protection our clients are requesting.”

Research from Legal IT Landscapes Reports notes that 61 percent of law firms are seeing more information security audit requests from their clients. Facilitating the management of risk and governance is a critical component of an organization’s overarching security landscape, both to ensure compliance is always up-to-date and that the firm is audit ready.

Security policy management can be delegated to authorized users by integrating Security Policy Manager with the iManage platform, reducing the burden on IT and risk teams, and removing process bottlenecks.

Managing remote and mobile work in a single integrated platform

Driven largely by user feedback, the newest version of iManage Work improves the user experience, delivers increased organizational agility, and empowers iManage users to productively manage remote and mobile work, all in a single, integrated platform.

"The advantages of moving to iManage Cloud became even more clear as the global pandemic triggered changes in remote working,” said Ben Denison, IT Director, RPC. “iManage global data center locations and advanced scaling abilities ensure that all of our users across the UK and APAC will have a seamless, responsive user experience with no performance issues. It’s important that our people are able to easily access and share documents and data from any location and any device at any time. iManage Cloud will ensure we continue to deliver the highest level of client service.”

iManage brings a comprehensive and layered approach to security — from the industry-leading global cloud platform to sophisticated access controls, threat detection, and differentiated encryption. It allows unhindered collaboration and productivity, ensuring organizations remain the most secure stewards of their knowledge work.

iManage — bridging the divide between secure knowledge management and user experience, and Making Knowledge Work.

About the author

Manuel Sanchez

Manuel Sanchez is Information Security & Compliance Specialist at iManage with extensive professional experience in information security, governance, and compliance.