In today’s workplace mitigating threats to data security are a top priority for legal sector. However, a rising trend in the use of consumer cloud sharing products by legal professionals without the permission of IT departments presents a large threat to confidential data. This widespread practise, often coined ‘Shadow IT’, is the biggest security threat to legal data that you’ve probably never heard of.

What is Shadow IT?

Shadow IT describes the phenomena in which IT departments lose control of the software used within their organisation. Consumer products such as Dropbox or Googledocs are increasingly adopted without security clearance by IT officials. It’s a practise so commonplace users are often not aware of the risks of adopting commercial IT products.

What are the risks of Shadow IT to justice?

Data security is a key concern within the digitisation of justice. The sharing of evidence requires full audit trails of all user actions to uphold justice worldwide.

1) Compliance and security risks

Consumer cloud software stores data in public data centres .This presents a serious the security and compliance risk with confidential data stored and shared via insecure public data clouds. By storing data in insecure clouds legal professionals are often unknowingly breaching data security policy and regulation.

2) Increased risk of viruses

By storing evidence stored in different locations there is a risk of compromising network security through the increased risk viruses.

3) Fragmented Storage of Evidence

Storing evidence in different places makes collaboration difficult as evidence is not automatically available to those who need it. It also increases the risk of data loss. This fragmented storage of evidence reduces productivity whilst increasing security risks.

4) High Costs

Wish multiple users using multiple products IT costs are increasing for departments both inside and outside of IT. With multiple contracts for different users this is a mounting unsustainable cost for courts, local authorities and law firms.

So how do IT officials tackle Shadow IT?

There are three key ways of avoiding the risks of shadow IT in the legal sector:

1) Make users part of the IT process

The adoption of shadow IT highlights the importance of innovation to tech-savvy legal professionals who adopt new practices as they emerge. By finding out why users are turning to commercial products IT departments can find the best fit software for their users.

2) Use purpose built legal software

The use of innovative legal-specific software to share confidential client information, data and evidence ensures the wide-spread adoption of secure practises without the need for legal professionals to turn to consumer collaboration tools.

3) Educate users of the threats

People cannot change their work practices without being aware of the dangers of current operations. By educating users on the dangers of public data stores and the compliance risks they present they are more likely to adopt new practices.

How can CaseLines combat Shadow IT?

Shadow IT occurs over all scales and across the legal profession: from small courts to international law firms. But legal professionals can mitigate the dangers of Shadow IT within the management of evidence by using CaseLines.

1) Streamlined evidence processes

CaseLines seamlessly streamlines evidence access, annotation, collaboration and presentation into one software accessible to key users.

2) Secure System

CaseLines gets rid of the need to download evidence onto your computer or tablet resulting in an end-to-end audit trail of all user actions. It ensures secure practices that meet regulatory and compliance standards.

3) Reduced Costs

By using one software CaseLines reduces the cost of using multiple different IT solutions. In addition by accessing evidence online it eliminates the need to print evidence and the security issues of paper.