Thursday, 11 February 2010

Peer-to-Peer articles: access to documents from iPhone

There was a great response to the survey we ran in October with 236 legal professionals providing us with information on what mobile devices they and their firms use and the functions/applications they use the mobile device for, with particular focus on documents and email.

What with my analysis of these responses, writing the report on the results of the survey, in parallel writing an article on the ‘The Often Overlooked Mobile Security Gap’ for ILTA’s December edition of Peer-to-Peer (it is the lead article – see page 8 or download a copy), followed by a white paper ‘Document Metadata: The Mobile Security Gap’ that comments more in depth on the results of the survey pulling in results of other surveys around mobile usage that were undertaken in the latter part of 2009, not to mention a week's vacation with the family, the Christmas holidays, a week in Chicago followed by a week in New York for LegalTech, it's been a while since I last posted a blog entry!

There are numerous numbers of items worthy of comment from the intervening months. The reprint by TechnoLawyer this week of one of the other articles in December’s Peer-to-Peer magazine provides me with a good start point. The article is by Christopher Lewis of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP and looks at the iPhone as a business tool and how it enhances the productivity of the attorneys at Sonnenschein when they are mobile.

One of the items that caught my eye when I re-read the article in TechnoLawyer was the success story quoted where a Sonnenschein attorney was onsite with a client who didn’t have the documents needed. The attorney accessed the Sonnenschein content and collaboration portal using his iPhone, downloaded the documents and forwarded them to the client.

56% of the respondents to the 3BView survey said that they had access to centrally stored documents from their mobile device, ie they have the same capability as the Sonnenschein attorneys.

I hope (and suspect) that this figure will increase within 2010. Why? Take a couple of other statistics from the 3BView survey alone:
  • 39% of respondents store business documents on their mobile device. With my past experience in document management and also in DLP systems this makes alarm bells ring. I am sure the same bells are ringing for risk/security managers within law firms or for those with responsibility for corporate legal departments;
  • The majority of those who have access to centrally stored documents reported that they attach a document to an email they send from their mobile device at least once a month. A quarter of all respondents attach do so at least weekly.

The last thing on the attorneys mind in a situation such as the one that the Sonnenschein attorney found themself in will be the fact that they are bypassing any desktop based tools including any that scrub document metadata.

As I’ve been stating in articles/papers to date, and will keep on saying throughout this year and beyond, increasing productivity of the legal professional even when they are mobile makes sound business sense. However, the management, control and security measures in place for in office equipment must be extended to mobile devices. This includes document security aspects such as scrubbing metadata.

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