The dangers of Dropbox
In early 2015, a group of veteran IP law attorneys including Gregory Gulliver founded Apogee Law Group. The firm helps clients, including Fortune 100s with intellectual law issues including patents, trademarks, copyright, contracts and licensing.
Apogee wanted their attorneys to have instant, secure and hassle-free access to documents, wherever they traveled. They have decided to move to the cloud to cut internal IT costs, decrease hardware expenses, and increase productivity. Gregory was set to go with Dropbox, but discussions with the Apogee partners raised the issue that some current and potential clients have concerns about Dropbox. In-house legal counsels practically sneered at the service, perceiving it as insecure and consumer-grade.
Gregory has experienced the headache and expense that comes with secure solutions and didn’t plan on trying it again. He wanted a service that comes with the benefits of Dropbox, but doesn’t drive clients away.
At their previous firms, Apogee founders have seen how internal file servers, still a mainstay of law firms, slow attorneys down. With the server in one location, and 3 offices spread across 2 states, accessing documents could be tricky.
Bandwidth limitations would plague lawyers at peak business hours. VPN connections, necessary for security, would make access from phones or tablets problematic. As lawyers traveled among the branches and met with clients, they would have to put up with these limitations regularly.
What’s more, maintaining this infrastructure was costly. Gregory’s previous firm employed two full-time IT administrators to make sure the server was operable and secure at all times and support the software that was required on every attorneys’ computer. As the firm required specific software to be installed, suitable hardware and security had to be supplied and supported.
As a former computer engineer, Gregory knew that moving storage to the cloud would solve the issues in a heartbeat. The new firm was already using cloud services for practice management and billing.
“Reasonable protection” is not guaranteed protection
Apogee has done their due diligence – they knew that professional conduct, according to Bar Association guidelines, only required “reasonable protections” when storing confidential client files in the cloud. But simply being “reasonable” can still result in lost clients if a data breach occurred. Apogee wanted top notch security.
Researching cloud options, Gregory looked into Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. OneDrive was over-complicated, but Dropbox seemed to be the real deal. It met the rules of professional conduct, was easy to use and cost a fraction of an internal file server.
Gregory was ready to roll Dropbox out when he stumbled upon an unexpected problem in a partner meeting. A partner’s large client said that “he would not use Dropbox”. Upon investigation, Gregory found out that some in-house attorneys have negative perceptions concerning Dropbox.
When another law firm proposed using Dropbox, the in-house counsels ripped into the guy“, says Gregory. “They said that nowadays, you can’t be careful enough when handling patent or trademark documents. They perceived Dropbox as consumer-grade and unfit for the task.”
Apogee partners quickly saw the business opportunity. If other firms were using Dropbox, or similarly perceived, popular storage services, that would raise alarms, especially with big clients. Sure, Dropbox might be up to BAR association standards. “Educating clients about the security of your system is definitely not something you want to be doing when pitching for business”, claims Gregory. “The client might simply disqualify you from the bidding process before you have a chance to explain.”
Security that doesn't get in the way
“Tresorit has been responsive and quick to sync. It was pretty easy to set up, and we never had to face another connection bottleneck since. Day-to-day work and collaboration among branches sped up”. Tresorit for Business provides a full TB of storage per user, so with multiple users, documents for hundreds of matters are easily housed in their account.
When traveling between branches or to clients, Tresorit mobile apps provide easy, secure access to documents. Attorneys don’t need to set up complicated mobile VPN anymore. Whipping out a tablet or phone to work on when they’re with clients is finally possible. With client-side encryption, attorneys don’t need to worry about anyone sniffing their connection if a document is needed at a hotel or airport.
Gregory doesn’t have to stress about losing devices with sensitive data, either. Users can wipe lost mobile devices anytime.
Apogee has also set up an internal server to back up its tresors. However, the server is only there as another layer of redundancy. It cannot hinder attorneys anymore. Further, if a disaster ever were to occur and disrupt their office, attorneys could be up and running quickly on any computer with access to all their files.
Apogee is in the process of evaluating Tresorit Digital Rights Management. With DRM protection, copying, editing, printing and screen grabs of Office documents can be limited, even if they’ve been downloaded to a device.
Security is good business
Reassured of the service’s ease of use and apparent security, Gregory decided to go with Tresorit full time. “If I’m going to spend money on a business solution, I’d rather spend it on a company that will not be sneered at when you mention that’s what you’re using. I’m convinced this zero-knowledge system fits the bill.” Switching to Tresorit also saves IT staffer's expenses.
As the service offers apps for all major platforms, the firm can allow attorneys to bring their own devices, cutting several thousands of dollars on hardware costs. But more importantly, Gregory looks to Tresorit for competitive advantage in the next chapter of the firm – growth.
“We are always trying to get new clients and using Tresorit enables us to have a solid story when asked about how we handle data”, says Gregory.
“When you submit a bid to provide legal services for a Fortune 100 company, you are expected to explain what data security measures you have in place. We believe we’ll get a leg up on other companies that use cloud services like Dropbox for Business that lack zero knowledge security.”
Who are Apogee Law Group?
8 attorneys specialized in helping Fortune 50 corporations, small businesses, and individuals with all their Intellectual Property legal needs.
Very sensitive client documents
IP and trademark documents prime target of attackers
Large clients demand security
Not satisfied with BAR association standards for security
Internal file server gets in the way
Upkeep costs high, mobile productivity low
Productivity increased along with security
Easy & secure access anywhere, no bandwidth limitations
Saved two IT employee's costs
No need for server maintenance and security monitoring
Advantage over competitors using Dropbox
Tresorit provides the security clients demand