How Legal Teams Can Gain Greater Information Security, Control, and Governance

Legal departments can use technology to increase efficiency and maintain strong information security, control, and governance within their enterprise.

13 December 2014


As global competition drives business specialization, organizations have evolved into extended enterprises to quickly bring their solutions to market (rather than conduct all operations in-house). As part of this extended enterprise, teams must collaborate more regularly to maintain efficiency — and often this means collaborating on-the-go and from multiple devices.

As we mentioned in our previous post, the responsibilities of the General Counsel (GC) have broadened considerably over the last few years to include important new tasks such as risk management and business decision-making. Because regulatory compliance is part of greater information management and governance control, organizations have started seeking the advice of general counsels to help them make the right business decisions. Unfortunately, this can create new content management burdens for GCs.

In this post, we’ll share a few ways that legal departments can use technology to increase efficiency and maintain strong information security, control, and governance within their extended enterprise.

Key to Risk Readiness

The legal department oversees many very sensitive documents for their company, such as contracts, research or case histories. Considering the massive amount of information these teams are responsible for, it’s of the utmost importance that these individuals have ready access to information in order to protect, control and audit it for litigation or regulatory purposes as needed.

In many companies, documents are often dispersed among many different hard drives, email folders, or filing cabinets, making it nearly impossible to locate and access information when you require it. And not only that, but decentralized information can create a control and audit nightmare. The discovery phase of major litigation alone may require up to 50 percent of a legal team’s given budget, particularly in the case of a disorganized work environment.

In today’s day and age, being efficient means utilizing technology to cut down on manual processes and unproductive tasks. Effective document management systems can make document control easier and speed up processes. There are a couple of quick techniques legal teams can adopt to increase efficiency, such as creating reusable templates or applying a collective approach to business intelligence. However, to ensure repeatability of these techniques, in addition to cost efficiency and risk management, teams must have visibility and improved document access.

Supporting the Information Imperative

GCs and CIOs are looking for secure solutions that have collaborative benefits for easier document exchange, but in a framework that makes information control and governance more suitable to protecting sensitive corporate information. For legal teams tasked with processing and managing corporate information, the use of SaaS-based extended enterprise collaboration solutions can provide the strongest alternative for improved access, efficiency, security and value.

Enterprise-grade web-based repositories allow for real-time monitoring by all parties to a transaction — which helps overcome the challenges of litigation management. Instead of creating or updating reports from teams (who may be located in other parts of the world), in-house legal teams can review changes to information instantly. Additionally, authorized users can see who is accessing which documents based on what permissions have been granted — allowing for greater transparency and visibility over information.

Collaboration for the Extended Enterprise  

Enterprise SaaS providers, particularly those handling critical business information, have a sharp focus on their applications and infrastructure. And many of today’s solutions can be customized to meet the needs of GCs and their legal teams. Some of these needs include a(an):

  • Secure, compliant and auditable document-sharing and collaboration platform
  • Flexibility, but with security, compliance and information governance
  • Implement bring your own device (BYOD)
  • Lower commitment of in-house IT staff and related resources
  • Lower cost and training requirements compared with legal extranets

Industry leaders use rights and permissions management, advanced encryption, and dynamic access controls to provide maximum protection for information — which is needed to maintain security and compliance.

And, routine audits make enterprise SaaS solutions a very effective option for corporate legal teams that are struggling with more to do with fewer resources.

As companies transition to collaborating ecosystems, in-house legal teams will go from targeted risk advisors to trusted business counselors. To be successful, GCs must be able to collaborate with teams in a way that provides access to data, knowledge and experience, with full information security, control, and governance in place. That time is now.

Meagan Parrish

Meagan Parrish

Meagan Parrish is the Senior Manager of Social Media at Intralinks. She is responsible for social media strategy development and the communications for Intralinks' online communities. Meagan has been creating social media strategies for a variety of companies across verticals for the past several years. She holds Bachelor degrees in Marketing and Finance, with a minor in English Literature.