Going Paperless - Top tips to becoming GDPR Compliant in your Law firm
Since the implementation of GDPR in May this year, businesses from all industries need to ensure they are compliant and handle personal data securely to avoid a costly fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)- Law firms are no exception.
Gone are the days of floor to ceiling stacked boxes with reams of paper and information on each case and client, Law firms like many other businesses, now go paperless for most of their correspondence. But how do you make sure your firm is GDPR compliant?
Paul Tarantino, CEO of GDPR consent software provider ConsentEye, states; “Law firms are now obligated to handle personal data with absolute care. Forgoing legacy practices of signing a printed consent form and moving towards digital consent and storage is the way forward to eradicate the threat of non-compliance whilst also helping minimise paper waste!”
GDPR and Law firms
There isn't a business in the UK who is not au-fait with what GDPR is about, but that doesn't mean they are compliant. Regulations state that data should be ‘kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data is processed.’ Not as easy as it sounds for those within the Law profession, with approximately 80% of Law firms seeing an increase in revenue in 2017, meaning more clients and more data. Asking clients to opt-in to consent to data storage or ensuring regular emails are sent in order to check they are still consenting are now standard, but when it comes to Law firms and the amount of sensitive information, personal data and important signed documents they hold, how do they keep these safe? The answer, go paperless.
So is it possible to go paperless and how do you become GDPR compliant in your Law firm?
Top tips to ensure GDPR compliance and reduced paper waste
Tip 1- Source a consent management system.
Finding the right consent tool for your firm is vital. The key to a good consent management is one that offers seamless integration with your existing business systems whilst ensuring the software is easy for your staff to navigate and use on a regular basis.
Using a consent management system such as ours, Law firms can digitally centralise their consent across the business and keep track of activity with a full audit trail. It’s time to adopt a GDPR compliant way of working as well as removing the need for paper consent forms.
Tip 2 - Cyber essentials.
Now a requirement for firms signed up to the popular Law Society Lexcel Standard, Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed scheme designed to help organisations protect themselves against common online threats. Many experts say that by adopting Cyber Essentials, businesses can reduce the threat of cyber attacks by up to 80% alongside ensuring their IT systems meet required standards.
Today’s digital world aids us in keeping data secure and consent proof easily accessible without the need for paper trails, however a rise in cyber-crime means businesses need to be well equipped against possible threats.
Tip 3 - Encrypted devices.
A shift from paper documentation to digital formats has been in play over the last decade with the first USB device being introduced to the market back in 1994. There’s no denying that the use of these removable devices helps reduce paper waste, but what if an individual lost the USB with personal data on it?
The loss of a USB device can happen to anyone, it even happened to high level executives at Heathrow Airport who lost details of safeguarding the Queen. If these files had been encrypted, there could have been a much better outcome! Ensuring all members of staff, especially those who work remotely, have encrypted USB drives is something worth investing in and would definitely cost less than the potential 4% global turnover fine which would incur, if companies are found to be non-compliant.
Going paperless and employing accurate pre-emptive safeguarding measures reassures clients’ faith that lawyers aren’t mishandling their data and are taking every precaution possible to look after their sensitive information.
If your Law firm is concerned about GDPR compliance and would like advice on how to effectively keep data secure, do not hesitate to get in contact with us.