Google Docs for Lawyers – What You Need to Know.
Considering Google Drive to save lots of Money for Your Law Firm? Not So Fast. Google Drive may be a Cloud-based document and file storage system provided by Google. Because of the web’s undisputed leader, it’s easy to ascertain why a firm would think about using it for file storage and sharing. With free and paid accounts, Google Drive provides not just ample space, but it also gives people the power to collaborate with others and share files. What about Google Docs for Lawyers?
Is Google Drive Appropriate for Law Firm Use?
Like many cloud options for storing files, sharing files, and collaboration, one of the most important selling points is cost. Through GSuite, law firms can receive 30 gigs of storage for $5 per user per month. Law firms can get unlimited cloud storage or one terabyte per user if they have but five users for $10 per user per month. There’s a $25 per user per month plan, but if your firm has but five users, everyone would only get one terabyte of space. It does, of course, produce other features that we’ll touch on soon.
When it involves Google Docs for Lawyers, the critical question is whether or not Google Drive, at any price index, is acceptable for firm use. While all account levels provide users with shared calendars, access to Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Google drive doesn’t have the safety, matter-centricity, or robust document management functionality that most law firms require.
Data Security in Consumer-grade Cloud Storage
As a firm, you’re handling sensitive client information, a crucial factor when evaluating Google Drive for Lawyers. Family law or bankruptcy law firms may have tax records, Social Security numbers, and other important information. Personal injury and med mal firms could have medical records, authorizations, and Social Security numbers. Ask yourself this: if you were a client, would you like your tip stored on a cloud that, while good, isn’t necessarily meant to keep confidential information?
Consider this: what percentage of people does one know who have and use their Google Drive account? Anyone who features a Gmail account (or who uses GSuite) features a Google Drive account. That’s common knowledge, and it might be the primary place hackers will likely attempt to attend login and acquire your data or hold it hostage. At its basic level, all it takes is deciding a user’s login email and password.
It’s essential to keep in mind that Google Drive for Lawyers isn’t almost secure. It’s about making an economic decision for your firm while adhering to ethics surrounding cloud-based document sharing and storage.
Examining Ethical Obligations
Lawyers are exceptional, then is their data.
In recent legal ethics opinions, the overall consensus is that lawyers should use due care quality. In some states, like California, lawyers are advised to weigh the data’s sensitivity and what could happen to the client if the knowledge were inadvertently accessed. The State of Alabama expects lawyers to remain on top of best practices to safeguard sensitive client information. Florida states that lawyers must make reasonable attempts to protect against potential attempts of a breach of knowledge.
An Organizational Nightmare within the Making
When evaluating cloud document storage solutions, like Google Docs for Lawyers, it’s also essential to believe in organization. As helpful as Google Drive are often to assist lawyers in accessing files when they’re out of the office (and for lawyers who have a virtual office), it can get messy…fast. Without predetermined guidelines on how files should be organized, law firms believe Google Drive can find itself with an enormous problem. Considerations for the organization include how client files are going to be stored (by surname, by case number, or by another indicator), how documents should be named, whether records should be downloaded to hard drives when all files should be uploaded to the industry, and who will ultimately be liable for the organizational side of using the system.
Although programs like Google Drive have an excellent feature that permits people to figure together on projects, it looks like a beautiful idea, except for law firms, it can cause drag. Often, workers will download files to gather on them rather than performing on them from the Cloud. Workers may feel that downloading the file to figure thereon is best for various reasons; the most sense is an unstable Internet connection. The problem? they’ll not immediately upload their changes, or they’ll upload the file with a replacement name. This will confuse the opposite firm employees who may have the file. they’ll not have the original updated version. Otherwise, you could find yourself with multiple versions and be unsure which one is that the one that ought to be used—a significant factor when considering Google Docs for Lawyers.
Examining Document Management Tools (Google Docs for Lawyers)
Beyond basic storage.
Finally, consider the particular tools most law firms got to manage documents. Services like Google Drive (and similar services) offer you virtual storage: an area to form folders and store files—nothing more, nothing less.
Most law firms we work with require quite that. They have the power to tag, categorize and discuss documents. They have to review old versions and track version histories. They have robust search and OCR capabilities. They have the power to see documents out and back in when they’re done performing on them. They also need the ability to store and manage emails alongside forms. Tools just not available in essential cloud storage, and something to significantly determine if your team needs when considering Google Docs for Lawyers.
Semantics aside, it’s important to know that Google Drive isn’t a Document Management System (DMS), and therefore lacks this sophisticated set of tools.
The Uptime Verdict
While your firm may benefit from a fast and straightforward place to upload and store files, Google Docs for Lawyers can cause serious issues when it involves the precise level of document management needed within the legal industry. Google Drive shouldn’t be your law firm’s go-to account cloud-based collaboration and storage between ethics and organization.
If you’re trying to find a document management solution made with law firms in mind, search for the following traits:
Document storage and management that’s arranged by matter.
Easy to use email management options.
Integrates into Microsoft Office so that you’ll save your documents onto the Cloud.
The ability to index and search the names and, therefore, the content of every single document and email.
The ability to match older documents to their newer counterparts.
The ability for firm employees to check-in and check-out documents ensures that everybody is functioning with the original updated documents and eliminate confusion.
Create a system for document profiling and tagging also as choose favorite documents.
Notifications when specific documents are changed or updated.
Law firms have specific needs. When it involves document management and collaboration, choose a product designed to satisfy those needs.
Epilogue: Legal Document Management in the Cloud
Looking for a cloud-based, matter-centric thanks to managing documents for your firm and your cases? Need one system to handle matters, forms, and email? Take a glance at LexWorkplace.
Is Google Docs for Lawyers the Right Choice for a Law Firm?
A firm follows an identical approach to other forms of firms when it involves cost-saving. the value factor is a crucial aspect that influences the bulk of a firm’s choices—using Google Drive because the default file storage and sharing option enable a firm to chop down its costs for hosting files.
Also, because it is often accessed on the web, it provides the posh of portability. Lawyers got to be ready to access legal documents as and once they want. Google Drive ticks all the right boxes of requirements in this respect.
However, alongside these benefits, a firm also prioritizes security among its top priorities. So, can lawyers believe the safety features of Google Drive? Yes, they will bank thereon. Except for a private attorney, it’s essential to make sure they use it in the right way.
As far as using Google Drive within the right way cares, its meaning is often different for lawyers and other users. Because lawyers affect legal cases, they’re required to take care of their clients’ confidentiality and data. Any breach within the security layer of a lawyer can change the complexion of a case altogether.
Often, cybercriminals like hackers are on the design for a chance to steal data on the web. the primary thing they aim maybe a Google account. So, when preparing a document or a newsletter for firm internet marketing, a lawyer must adopt the most straightforward practices of using Google Drive.
Best Practices for Lawyers to Secure their Data on Google Drive
A lawyer must attempt to secure their Google account’s privacy settings the maximum amount as they will.
They should enable the two-factor authentication feature to extend an additional security layer to their documents and resources.
Attorneys must refrain from using passwords that are easy to guess. Hackers leave no stone unturned to urge into the accounts that don’t have a strong password. As a typical rule, one should set and use a password that involves letters, numbers, and special characters.
It is a simple idea not to disable the synchronization option and sync all the files directly during a day.
Third-party applications encounter extensions and are available across various categories. But not all are at par when it involves the safety feature. A lawyer should consider disabling all third-party options. Better yet, they ought not to consider downloading or installing the extensions. “An ounce of prevention is best than a pound of cure,” because the saying goes.
Some firms that use Google Drive extensively consider the choice of sharing files outside the business domain. This might be a simple idea for firms that operate together with other companies but not for the businesses that provide legal services. It can put the confidentiality and security of files and therefore the information of such firms.
Google offline storage may be a great feature that allows users to use it even once they don’t have access to the web. While it’s not necessarily an immediate threat to any file or folder, it increases the probability of storing files inadvertently. Unauthorized users can access it afterward.
How secure is Google Drive for law firms? the solution to the present question depends on how a private attorney uses it to access its features. Google has all the safety systems in situ for all its products. Also, it updates its security measures from time to time. But it’s up to the users, lawyers, during this case, to follow the most straightforward practices of using Google Drive. This is often the sure-fire way of keeping their data safe and secure from the prying eyes of hackers and other cybercriminals.