Eliminating File Transfer Challenges
Outten & Golden | Biscom
It’s 9:15 p.m. at Outten & Golden LLP, and a deadline is looming. Large files need to be delivered to clients, defenders, or co-counsel by the end of the night. For the law firm, this would often mean lawyers or paralegals putting in an after-hours call to IT support to get help transferring the files. From off-site, an IT representative would log on to the network or walk them through the steps of downloading software, burning CDs, or sending via FTP – often a 40-minute process. However necessary it was, it often proved a stressful and inefficient experience for lawyers and IT alike.
As Arron Johnson, Director of Information Technology for Outten & Golden, described it, “When it came to file transfer, IT shouldered a huge support responsibility.” Outten & Golden advises and represents individuals in employment, partnership and related matters. With 35 lawyers and 30 paralegals, the firm handles compensation and benefits issues, represents employees with a wide variety of claims, and also handles class-action and collective wage-and-hour and discrimination cases.
Getting Files from Point A to Point B
The law firm, like many others, relied on a variety of methods to transfer files, including courier, email, and FTP.
Delivery by messenger usually necessitated the transfer of files onto portable technology (for example, a CD, DVD, or USB drive.) This, in turn, would often require IT support to provide the proper software and training, causing prolonged delivery times for IT, lawyers, and paralegals. Further time delays could occur with a messenger service, not to mention the additional expenses incurred and potential security breaches.
Email caused similar problems and strains for lawyers and IT. Mail server restrictions on the firm’s clients’ email systems would often reject delivery of a large email with attachments. A lawyer would get a notice of an email failure – sometimes not until the next day – and immediately contact IT. Usually, attachments would have to be broken down into smaller files and sent via multiple emails – an inefficient and time-consuming process. FTP quickly grew from a one-time request to a method adopted by many of the attorneys and paralegals.
“With the first request, we created an FTP server,” said Johnson. “As we experienced growing demand from attorneys for large file transfer, it became increasingly difficult and time consuming to manage recipient accounts, access permissions, and file retention.”
When a lawyer or paralegal needed an FTP transfer, they would contact IT staff. IT would handle the transaction for legal – creating credentials for external parties and uploading the files. External parties would often balk at the extra steps required for downloading files from the FTP server, and Johnson estimates that it averaged about an hour of IT support time to train them and make users comfortable with the application. Security was a concern as well; FTP delivery would be authenticated, but not encrypted.
Searching for a Better Way to Share Files
The law firm engaged Adaptive Solutions, a Legal Technology consulting firm, to help them identify an ideal solution to their file transfer challenges. After an evaluation period, the consulting firm recommended Biscom Secure File Transfer (SFT), and Outten & Golden conducted a test trial of the software.
One feature that immediately attracted Johnson was the fact that Biscom is very easy to use. Using the Web interface, a lawyer or paralegal selects a file to deliver and enters one or more email addresses that the file should be delivered to. Users can include a message to accompany the delivery.
SFT then encrypts and logs the delivery. Recipients receive a notification via email with an embedded link. They then sign on to Biscom’s web application where they can access the delivery and download the files. As soon as the recipient accesses the file, the sender receives a notice that the delivery has been viewed. Biscom also provides reports that show the full audit trail and tracks all file deliveries.
After a smooth trial, the law firm opted to implement Biscom. “The implementation was very easy,” Johnson noted. “We had it up and running in 30 minutes.”
Easy Adoption, Real Results
The attorneys and paralegals took to Biscom immediately, with help from its simple and intuitive Web interface, a one-page instruction sheet from IT, and the ability to send large and/or confidential files without additional support. Before long, roughly 35 attorneys and 30 paralegals had adopted Biscom to replace email, courier, and FTP delivery methods.
As Johnson noted, “It was a win/win for IT and the staff. If a client needs a file right away, an attorney or paralegal can send it without any – or with minimal – IT involvement. And IT gets to sleep at night.”
Clients have taken to Biscom as quickly as the firm’s lawyers and paralegals. “We’re not getting any calls from clients about this. It’s basically night and day,” said Johnson.
Johnson has also noted that the strain on IT in terms of help desk support has been reduced since the introduction of Biscom SFT. With attorneys handling their own file transfers, IT is gaining back hours of time per delivery. Johnson estimates that the productivity boon from the IT side is roughly 8 hours a week for each of the two IT professionals.
“We’re free to address other issues now such as overall network health and project planning. Before, we were just too busy on the help desk side to do this. We are definitely more strategic now in this new environment.”
Biscom has also helped relieve the strain on the law firm’s email server. “In terms of email attachments, the email database hasn’t grown as much as before,” mentioned Johnson. “We have a policy in place now where large attachments are deleted within 90 days and we’ve set an email size limit. Since lawyers and paralegals are using Biscom for file transfers, there isn’t a need to send large files via email.”
Outten & Golden
New York, NY
- Inefficient and unsecure ways to transfer files
- Inordinate strain on IT resources
- Inability to reliably track delivery and receipt of data transfers
- Biscom Secure File Transfer
- 20% reduction in overall IT help desk support
- Smooth and quick user adoption and endorsement from lawyers and paralegals
- Increased time for IT to pursue needed projects and strategic planning
Biscom was a win/win for IT and the staff. If a client needs a file right away, an attorney or paralegal can send it without any—or with minimal—IT involvement. And IT gets to sleep at night.
IT Director, Outten and Golden LLP
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