Want to Tamper-Proof Your Legal Documents

Tamper-proofing Legal Documents

Here is a quick guide to make your documents tamper-proof

Supply chain contracts, hiring documents, internal disputes – if even a page of these documents gets in the hands of an able competitor, it would not be difficult to triangulate the remaining data. While the enterprise can have robust security systems making legal documents tamper-proof, the law firm often has the onus of ensuring the documents are secure even as they are being created, edited, or reviewed by a team.

What are the Pressing Challenges of Legal Document Management?

1. Law firms are now supposed to contribute to the client’s knowledge management efforts. This brings an added need to collaborate with third-parties.

Several law firms are now acting as the consultants and advisors to the client’s operations. Many a time, when the client is putting out proprietary research to form opinion leadership in its vertical, the law firm is called in to contribute its legal perspective.

In such cases, now more common than ever, the law firm has to work with several third-party data providers, researchers, and content producing platforms. With more touchpoints seeking access to critical documents, it becomes a significant challenge for the law firm to ensure each document is safe.

2. 70% of firms agree that they are spending ‘too much time’ on administrative work. Data published by the Rainmaker Institute showed that 70% of the responding firms agree that they were spending excessive time in administrative work. Document management is one of the critical tasks largely considered administrative. Firms have to ensure the right document is accessible to the right person in the correct format. Even if just one of these three elements does not come together, the firm will have exposed the client’s proprietary information or caused a delay to the operation. While the firm assists the client, it has to ensure its profitability as well – trying to maximize profits per partner, associate, and even square foot. Despite its value in the process, administrative work just adds to the overheads for the law firm.

3. Law firms are working with sensitive client data and with increased social engineering breaches across the landscape, have to have more nuanced and robust security measures.

The past few years have shown that cyberattacks can be highly targeted and sophisticated. Law firms are already aware of and investing in firewalls and network security to avoid such instances.

However, one fundamental form of risk growing over the last few years is social engineering. The attacker tries to leverage human decision making fallacies and breaches the firm’s security. Fraudulent links, getting access to employee passwords, and several other techniques populate the social engineering attacker’s toolkit. Firms have to now manage documents to save them from such creative attacking tactics as well.

4. Human negligence can lead to compliance risks and business loss.

The bottom line is that despite all the security measures and management practices, the more manual a process is, the greater are its chances of getting halted because of human error. A slight mistake from a paralegal or a mishap made by the new associate can lead to horrendous results with erroneous documents, access to the wrong person, or updating the wrong record. After having invested in a series of security measures, the modern law firm eventually has to mitigate human negligence as well. Firms that do not consider this may pose compliance risks to their clients and eventually lose the business.

Blockchain in legal induatry

Blockchain as a Unified Measure of Security Among Law Firms

While the most prevalent use-case of blockchain is still in cryptocurrencies and tokens, the technology uses an encrypted ledger creation system. And several leading law firms have started exploring the potential use-cases of the blockchain networks and technology to create distributed and consistently encrypted ledgers that can store documents, track their usage & updates, and provide secure access only to those who need it.

How Can Blockchain Help in Tamper-Proofing Legal Documents?

Blockchain can be the robust solution that solves the tampering problem among legal firms. Here is how it can work:

1. Barcodes and QR Codes can give each document a unique identity and limited accessibility.

Google Cloud can be used as a platform for solving accessibility. The problem with Google Cloud is that sensitive documents have to be made available to anyone with the link, to ensure it is easily accessible when the clients need it. The other alternative is to email access to a particular individual. While it secures the access, it also stops the individual from sharing it with key decision-makers. Google Doc also helps in keeping track of the last made changes in the document. But smaller values can still be edited without notice, especially in large documents undergoing multiple changes at a time.

QR Codes solve several of these problems in one go. With a QR Code, each document has a unique identity that can be accessed only by the person who has been provided with the code. The legal team can share the QR Code specifically with the client team members who need it.

2. Blockchain would render the original document and hence be immune from deliberate or erroneous tampering.

The common problem with documents editable and shared across the cloud is that anyone in the team can edit them. Someone can erroneously or deliberately tamper the document, and as it gets into the client feedback loop, the entire operation comes to a halt.

Blockchain ensures that even if there is a possibility of a breach at the law firm’s end, the tampered document does not get into the system. It renders the original document when an individual has to access it. This way, the document with the errors is out of the system at all times.

3. Blockchain ID increases the traceability and hence the reliability of each document.

Each document created and provided on a blockchain network will come with its unique Blockchain ID. If the law firm and the client enterprise can use this ID for all communications, it can be used for tracing the document, its edit history, and hence the reliability of the document.

If the client team’s document accessed or reviewed has a different ID than what the law firm had earlier observed, it highlights a targeted social engineering attack.

4. Blockchain-driven platforms are federated and yet scalable.

Quite often, security breaches can arise simply because the law firm is working on different platforms – Bloomberg Law, document management platforms, cloud sharing, client’s platform, etc. By having one blockchain-driven platform, the firm can manage its document management processes in a more unified manner, and singlehandedly bring down the security concerns.

Besides that, a unified platform can be scaled easily without compromising the functionalities and security. Imagine trying to scale a system that uses a cloud platform, a document sharing platform, a legal research website, and the client’s ERP system. Instead, imagine scaling just one platform where your team can handle several clients.

Tamper-proof Document Management Project

In Conclusion

As the modern-day law firms become more collaborative for knowledge management, spend resources on administrative work, tackle social engineering, and deal with honest mistakes, the need for a blockchain-driven solution that operates at a scale will only increase. ProofEasy is that very solution, helping law firms ensure their documents have a unique identity using a QR Code and a blockchain ID.

It also ensures that only the original document is rendered every time it is accessed for blocking any tampering effects. And that is just the beginning of the security measures. To know more about how ProofEasy can make your document management process tamper-proof, click here.