Ascertus blog

Check out the latest trends and innovations in the legal technology world

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Ascertus

The document lifecycle management specialists.

Trends That Are Shaping the Future Requirements of Law Firms

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Ascertus

Technological advancements have made a profound impact in all aspect of our lives. And as a result, many businesses are pushing forward with their digital agendas.

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Why it Pays to Be Pessimistic About Data Security

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Ascertus

Ben Mitchell, VP Global Commercial Operations at DocsCorp, advocates for a ‘glass half empty’ approach to data security and protection.

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Phishing & Ransomware - Here’s What Law Firms Should be Thinking About

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Ascertus

The Ascertus Security Thought Leadership Series
Phishing and Ransomware are Linked – Here’s What Law Firms Should be Thinking About

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Time for a Chat with Your Support Partner About Quality of Service?

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Ascertus

Quality of service is often a subjective concept with people defining its components and metrics differently. From a technology vendor’s perspective, superior quality of service is a combination of a reliable solution and a high level of support. Here are five signs that a conversation with your technology vendor is in order:

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To SharePoint or to Best-of-Breed – That Is The Question!

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Ascertus

The frustration of legal departments when trying to secure budget from the business for legal-specific solutions is an open secret.  Typically, in corporate organisations, the IT department holds the overall budget for technology and so has the final say in what tools the legal department can deploy.  Invariably, due to a lack of understanding of the requirements of the lawyers, IT departments prefer to deploy solutions that they believe will be beneficial to the whole organisation – from an adoption, cost, implementation, maintenance and user benefit perspectives.

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Responsiveness, Responsibility and Reliability

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Ascertus

What makes a good Support Helpdesk?  The latest survey conducted independently by iManage highlights that Ascertus is very highly rated for the quality of its Support services by customers.  We have also significantly improved our rating from last year.  Such instances are always a good time for introspection – what are we doing well and how can we improve our offering even further?


It boils down to the holy trinity of the three ‘R’s – responsiveness, responsibility and reliability:

Responsiveness

In the last few months, Ascertus has won a significant amount of new business and therefore the number of seats we are supporting has increased significantly.  Like any Support organisation, we have agreed Service Level Agreements (SLA) with individual organisations of course, but our objective is to always be responsive to customer requirements – regardless of the SLA.  It’s imperative to acknowledge and record receipt of the issue in a meaningful way, be it with a phone call or a personal email to the customer by a HelpDesk team member, reassuring them that we will deal with the problem in a way that is least disruptive to their organisation.  At Ascertus, to make sure that we achieve this, besides the core support team, we have additional support technicians on call, so we always have the bandwidth.  Clients are never impacted by changes in our workload.

Responsibility

Typically, customers reach out to their support partner because the measures they have already undertaken haven’t worked.

Larger clients usually reach out regarding higher severity cases, which whilst less common will have a much greater impact on the business, when they do. So, we are mindful of the effect the situation is likely having on both the business and individuals, and have escalation processes in place to ensure that cases are speedily progressed.

On the other hand, smaller organisations who don’t have dedicated IT resource in-house are generally more reliant on their support partner for lower priority issues, which purely based on SLAs do not require the same level of responsiveness, but occur more often which has a bearing on the businesses’ day to day operation. We appreciate that low priority cases (based on SLA criteria) may appear higher priority to those affected, and we are aware of our responsibility to such situations.

Therefore, sensitivity to customer requirements in both situations (higher volume, lower priority / lower volume, higher priority) is a must.

Even where there’s an issue that impacts a product we support – although the fault may not be of the supported product – we try to help identify the problem and point them in the right direction for further assistance. Our customers appreciate this responsible attitude.

Reliability

When requesting support, consistency is key. Support technicians with a wealth of in-depth knowledge and experience individually is important but their ability to work closely together and pool knowledge will greatly enhance the support service. This ensures that regardless of who in the team a customer speaks to, they always get the same, consistent quality of care. At Ascertus, Support undergoes regular training so that the team is up to date on the various solutions the company provides, but also more broadly on the technological landscape, given how quickly technology is evolving.

In addition, we have well-embedded internal processes for record keeping of conversations, notes and communications, so that in the absence of an individual, service is never compromised.

We are delighted that the quality of our Support services is being recognised by customers. We are constantly fine-tuning our processes and looking for ways to enhance the service so that we can address issues in the most speedy and effective manner.

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The ‘Perfect Storm' – Cyber Security for Law Firms

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Recently, I was commissioned by an organisation of significant size and in a high-risk industry to demonstrate to the Board the vulnerability of its employees to criminal hackers using non-technical means. Using Open Source Intelligence to gather information on a selection of the most senior individuals in the organisation, I was able to reveal how easily and legitimately, I was able to engage with them, physically access their office building; and if had I intended to do so, use the insight to hack into the business. It was an ‘eye-opener’ for the Board!


This is what malicious social engineers do – they leverage the ‘Perfect Storm’ – created by the organisation’s culture, the employees’ frame of mind and lack of security awareness and the ready availability of detailed personal information, to use social engineering and the “human factor” to gain business sensitive information for their own financial gains.

“Many hackers see employees of
organisations as “the weakest link”

As the technology becomes more complex, many hackers see employees of organisations as “the weakest link”, but to what extent this is the case relies on many factors other than the mere fact of human beings working for an organisation. Several factors in organisations make firms more or less vulnerable to hackers, and it is possible to defend, mitigate and ‘patch’ your own human vulnerabilities.

I’m talking about this issue at the upcoming Cyber Threat Landscape for Law Firms on 23 February 2017:

  • How an organisation can be “profiled” by a malicious criminal, who then uses the information to design a hack that is suited to the culture of the target company
  • Explain why “culture” is an important element in the shape and nature of an attack, communicating the threat to employees and ultimately in the defence against attack
  • Highlight my own “experiences” as an ethical Social Engineer and share some tricks, tactics and methods that I use to attack organisations via their people.
  • Offer tips and guidance on how to “wake up the workforce” to the threat of Social Engineering, and how to maintain engagement of staff to prevent cyber threats

My presentation will be fast paced, humorous and revealing! Hope to see you there!

About Jenny Radcliffe
Jenny Radcliffe is an ethical expert in Social Engineering, negotiation, persuasion and influence, non-verbal communication and deception. She uses her skills to help clients – from global corporations and law enforcement to poker players, politicians and the security industry – to protect themselves from cyber criminals.

 

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Adoption of E-billing Tools – U.S vs. Europe

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Although e-billing is playing a role in the commercial relationship between a growing number of UK/European in-house legal departments and their law firms, there are still many organisations that aren’t yet reaping the benefits of e-billing. It’s often said that numerous non-US organisations don’t “get” the value of e-billing. I believe, it’s not that they don’t “get it”, rather the e-billing solutions, until recently, didn’t necessarily deliver against the needs of European organisations.

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Corporate Policy Must Change in Favour of Digital Signatures

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Ascertus

I’m often asked by lawyers, especially working for an in-house legal team, to send them a physical copy of the newly agreed contract for a deal with a ‘wet ink’ signature. I’m informed that it’s corporate policy and it baffles me! I can send the document with a digital signature via email within minutes, but to send the same via post, I need to scan the 30-40 pages, print, sign and then post. On receiving the document, the lawyer likely follows the same process to send a signed copy back.

Aside from it being a highly inefficient and cumbersome process, in today’s technology-driven world, there’s a business rationale behind digital signatures:

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Do You Have a Master Plan for Your ’Paper2Digital’ Initiative?

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In a law firm, keeping paper records is a major expense, and a relentless cause of inefficiency and risk. Based on a survey of nearly 200 US law firms across size and geography, half of all lawyers still prefer to work with paper, so most firms continue to accept the precedent of files, folders, boxes, file rooms and offsite records storage.


This finding is likely to ring true for the UK as well.

And for those who want scanning, often a decathlon needs to be undertaken at the copier’s vendor-installed keyboard – i.e. unique logins, passcodes, manual type-entry of one document at a time and so on – to realise the task.

A fully digital matter file liberates the practice of law from the chains of paper records.

To fix all the above issues, a fully digital matter file is fundamental. A fully digital matter file liberates the practice of law from the chains of paper records. The ensuing cost savings, efficiencies and risk reductions are vital to ensure profit and help firms compete in today’s legal environment.

This white paper , entitled, The Paper2Digital™ Law Firm Master Plan, offers a detailed approach, highlighting the key planning elements, how to prioritise objects, as well as policy, workflow and supporting technology assessments for a Paper2Digital initiative in a law firm.

About Steve Irons
Steve Irons is the President of DocSolid, a market-leading provider of Paper2Digital solutions for the legal market. He has founded three document imaging ventures, holds 9 patents, and is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Northern Arizona University.

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