So why should you consider cloud working? We’ve written extensively on this but we’re going to keep it simple and give you five good reasons over the next few blogs on why you should be working in the cloud. The first reason is the foundation of all cloud working functionality. You can get to your files anytime, anywhere – that’s 24/7 from anywhere with internet access. No more ‘I’ve left it in the office’ or ‘I can’t get that to you until tomorrow, sorry’. You can access all the files you need to, all the time. What’s more, you can even give secure access to your clients so they can get to their own files – how much time and admin would that save? That’s it, told you we’d keep it simple.
We have been busy this month with online webinars that have been well-attended. Due to their popularity (and we attribute this to their brevity!), we have recorded them for any late-comers who wish to know more about developments in online portal functionality. Both webinars are less than 5 minutes and tell you more (with a live demo) about: How you electronically sign a document (and why you would want to offer this) 2-factor authentication (and why you should care) Both offer huge efficiencies to your organisation – find out more by listening. We also welcome any questions you may have by emailing email@example.com or calling on 0121 794 0685.
Infographic GDPR What is the GDPR? Firstly, the GDPR affects every business that holds personal information on anyone, be they employees, customers or suppliers. It is a rare business that does not hold a list of personal data of some kind, on or offline. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal directive from the European Union for the protection of such personal data. It seeks to address the inconsistent data protection laws currently existing throughout the EU’s member states. Despite Brexit, the UK is still bound by this new law, not only because the UK has chosen to (because it makes sense) but trading with countries who operate under GDPR will be compromised if we don’t uphold the same standards. What’s the big deal? Failure to comply with GDPR could mean you risk being fined up to 4% of your company’s global annual turnover. Not only could your business suffer financially but you could also damage your reputation and credibility – who wants to do business with an organisation that doesn’t prioritise its clients’ security? So begins the 12 month countdown… What should you be doing? You must:
- Keep a record of data operations and activities and consider if you have the required data processing agreements in place
- Carry out privacy impact assessments (PIAs) on products and systems
- If applicable to your organisation, designate a data protection officer
- Review processes for the collection of personal data – do you ask permission? Many CRM systems encourage a dual confirmation (hence why you are asked to click a link via an email after registering with an organisation)
- Be aware of your duty to notify the relevant supervisory authority of a data breach
- Implement ‘privacy by design’ and ‘privacy by default’ in the design of new products and assess whether existing products meet GDPR standards
- A really powerful solution that we recommend is to use a secure client portal and NEVER use email to distribute information of any kind. A secure portal like docSAFE means data doesn’t leave the portal but can be accessed by authorised people only
- Educate your staff – and explain the implications
- Set up internal systems for reporting a data breach
- Make sure you extend your GDPR preparation to include any third parties who may have access to your data
- Ensure you extend the policies to cover everything your store both offline and online
No of course not. Online security extends to your website, emails, social media and so much more. At Online Practice, when we are developing software and systems such as docSAFE (our established client portal), security is our number one priority, surpassing functionality and appearance every time. Why create something that is amazing if it’s not secure? Our layers of security include the inclusion of QR codes, 2 factor authentication, encryption and, of course, the https certification that is currently being pushed hard by Google (see our other blogs for more about this). We believe that a secure site, layered with several other security measures is the most powerful deterrent against hackers. And we can’t stress enough that hackers don’t just target the big boys – they have strong motivation to hack into any site. We offer unique QR codes alongside online signatures to strengthen security at every level. QR codes are not new but in the fight against online fraud and hackers, they are a being used increasingly as a way of increasing the ‘uniqueness’ of an online signature. We encode the security data within our QR codes, not the signature or date so it is tamper-proof. Ask us for more information, we are happy to share our knowledge!
We all know of instances where emails are sent to the wrong person. In most cases, this can be simply excused by human error and we move on. However, occasionally, and of course to journalists’ delight, it creates headline news as vast numbers of personal details are exposed or documents are leaked to huge detriment. But have you ever considered why email is not secure? Well, when an email leaves your inbox to wing its way – in an instant – to its intended recipient, it travels through an unknown number of servers. The point being, you don’t know who has access to those servers. It is possible, to a degree, to encrypt email contents before they leave you, with the encryption remaining in place until the email hits the recipient. This is a good solution but there are still some issues around the security levels of your recipient. This is why we advocate the use of one or more security levels – we provide QR code security, dual factor authentication and a number of encryption solutions. Above all, we recommend avoiding email for sensitive information and, instead, using a secure client portal – a sort of ‘pigeon hole in the sky’ where you can safely deposit documents that can only be collected by the intended recipient. Talk to us, together we can make sure you are as communicating as securely as possible.
Think about the number of things in your business day that need a signature. It is certainly a whole heap of admin that you can avoid by introducing electronic signatures across all of your operations. There are so many benefits, here are just a few…
- Fewer unnecessary meetings – save those for when you can make the time really meaningful
- Less paper to store, photocopy and post – throw out those bulky filing cabinets
- Tracking and following up missing signatures becomes a thing of the past – online signing gives you far greater control
- Relegate your fax machine to the store cupboard (or, even better, the bin)
- Oh the speed! Get signatures turned around immediately
- Online signing can happen anywhere, from any device – remove excuses for delays
- Online signatures are legally binding – a key point
- Gain a business advantage by looking ultra professional and making doing business easier
Why 2 factor authentication is something you need to know about It sounds a bit of a mouthful but in IT security terms, it is beautifully simple. For years now we have come to expect online access to anything containing our personal details to include an email address and password. That is standard but, if you think about it, woefully inadequate in terms of security. We are quite vulnerable if we tend to use the same email and, despite knowing better, the same or similar passwords for everything we log into (how else are we expected to remember?). Well, enter “2 factor authentication” to solve all. We have been working hard to get ahead of the game in terms of security – on every level. So, for access to docSAFE, our professional client portal, you log in using your email address BUT then, a unique PIN is sent to your mobile phone. No need for passwords and highly unlikely that a hacker would have your mobile phone. 2 factor authentication – a complicated name for a simple, beautiful thing.
Until now cloud computing services have not been an option for banks and other financial institutions. In fact they don’t really use email and other digital communications to a great extent. Across the many business sectors, banking clearly lags behind the others in terms of adoption of cloud service. There are several factors that hamper the adoption of cloud computing in banking, aside from security concerns. Vendors are deterred by the demanding requirements by the banking sector that cover management, security and regulations. However, Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud application is fast evolving to close the gap on meeting such requirements. Cloud applications are well on the way to becoming part of banking technology. Vertical SaaS that is, cloud application specific to the financial sector is a highly viable model to address the concerns of financial sectors. Banking-specific cloud applications prove to have control, transparency and security coterminous with on-premise applications. The adoption of SaaS is even speculated to have increased by 21.7% in 2016 according to Gartner. As cloud technology continues to grow in innovation and adoption across fields, more and more sectors are expected to benefit from it. Related Article: Small Business can also Benefit from Cloud and Client Portal Do you find this article informative? Learn more how docSAFE, the leading cloud storage provider, help you be more productive?
The cloud is the future of doing business. Service-based professionals such as accountants, creatives, architects and lawyers can all leverage the plentiful benefits of working in the cloud. Because there are a lot of options available in the market, we hope this comprehensive buyer’s guide to choosing the best cloud collaboration tools for your business helps.
User-friendly and intuitive featuresGo for something with easy-to-use features that people can use intuitively. Don’t over-complicate the introduction of cloud working by choosing anything that needs a lot of brain-work. The whole point of choosing to work in the cloud is to make life easier!
Document sharingCloud collaboration tools allow users to work on a shared document in real-time. Ideally, choose someone to manage this who has version and access control. Version control allows you to manage changes made on a document e.g see previous changes or restore to a particular version. Access control enables you to manage the accessibility of the file e.g control who can view or edit a file.
SecurityYou should consider security of paramount concern when choosing cloud collaboration tools. Look for one that is compliant with the industry regulations and employs the latest security standards like multi-factor authentication (MFA). With MFA, users need to log in to their account to access a document. But not only that, they are also required to enter a PIN code that is sent to their mobile phones for verification. Check out how it works.
Mobile functionalityMobility is one thing that cuts cloud services above the rest. It enables you to access files anywhere, anytime as long as you have internet access. For the ultimate in increased productivity and convenience, choose a cloud provider who has mobility at the top of their agenda.
Electronic signingElectronic signing is a more rare feature that should be in your list of cloud collaboration tools – especially for professionals in the financial and legal sectors. This feature enables users to authorise a document online by attaching an electronic signature – a real time-saver! Save face-to-face meeting time for the occasions when you can focus on the client and not their paperwork.
Technical supportResellers are intermediary providers that purchase cloud computing services from actual developers. They are not always 100% capable of ensuring the quality and security of a collaboration tool that they are selling. Therefore we strongly recommend that you work directly with the owners or developers of the cloud collaboration tools you are looking to use. Compared to other cloud collaboration tool providers, docSAFE offers products that sit on their own servers, created by their own real developers and have reliable technical support from real people! Ask how docSAFE can help you. Contact Mike and his team on 0121 794 0685 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to arrange a meeting.
Increasingly, and interestingly, organisations across the globe are adopting cloud services to replace old and traditional business processes. The year 2017 is expected to witness a great cloud migration and by 2020 it is expected that most working processes (92%) will take place in the cloud. Lawyers have every reason to join this migration. Compared to using software traditionally – accessed via applications that reside on your computer – cloud services prove to be superior in every respect. By using software in the cloud, you’ll enjoy greater mobility (everywhere/real-time access), greater scalability and cost-effectiveness. What’s more, your software is always bang up to date – so no more upgrades or falling behind on versions of software you are using. This is because the software sits in the cloud and you access it from wherever you are, on any device, at a significantly lower cost than buying it outright. And… no more shelves full of dusty boxes containing outdated CDs! That’s why more and more lawyers are switching to the cloud. In 2015, the American Bar estimated that 1 out of 3 lawyers were using the cloud in their practice. This percentage is set to more than double in 2017. In an interview by Above the Law, Steven Ayr boasted of having a paperless law firm, saying: “For a firm like ours that’s growing quickly, [working in the cloud] is scalable and takes out a lot of our management costs since we don’t have to worry about having an in-house IT department.”