How Digitisation Can Help Solve Law Firm’s GDPR Challenges
    Title*How Digitisation Can Help Solve Law Firm’s GDPR Challenges
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    DetailPosted 10th December 2021

    While the UK is no longer part of the EU, UK-based firms still face the challenge of complying with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). The regulation applies to any firm that operates within the UK firm and mirrors the EU GDPR, which means that many UK firms still face significant accountability in demonstrating data security and compliance. Of equal importance, the failure to properly secure confidential client data can put a firm’s reputation and client base at risk, not to mention the potentially huge fines that can be imposed by the ICO should a breach occur.

    The good news is that digitisation and workflow automation technologies can considerably reduce risk and help your firm maintain compliance. By capturing and managing data digitally (as opposed to using emails and phone calls) and using workflow automation to enforce compliant behaviours, technology can help firms solve some of the most common compliance challenges.

    What UK Firms Need to Know About GDPR

    On 1st January 2021, the UK formally adopted the GDPR into domestic law, and it’s now called the UK GDPR. The UK GDPR sits alongside an amended version of the Data Protection Act 2018, meaning that UK firms still must comply with key principles, rights and obligations when it comes to data protection. 

    Furthermore, if you’re a UK firm with an office in or other established presence in the EU, or if you have clients who reside in the EU, you must comply with both the UK and EU data protection regulations. 

    While the data protection regulations set out a number of provisions, essentially, law firms must:

    • Create a clear governance process with regards to the type of data that’s stored and what data is managed, processed and retained
    • Only retain personal data when it is needed.  This means that after a matter is closed, the data must be cleansed
    • Maintain documentation and audit trails for compliance
    • Properly secure personal data using best practices
    • Ensure privacy is embedded into any new processes that are deployed

    Using Technology to Maintain Compliance

    To stay compliant with today’s data regulations, law firms must adopt technology to digitise data capture and automate core operational processes to meet obligations on matters such as data subject consent, data encryption, data anonymisation, breach notification and more. Here’s a few ways that digitising data can help improve your firm’s move towards GDPR compliance. 

    Protecting Personal Data through Encryption

    One of the key principles in the UK GDPR requires firms to put in place the appropriate technical and operational measures to ensure personal data is processed securely. Encryption is one of the core ways of safeguarding against unauthorised or unlawful processing of data and demonstrating compliance with the GDPR.

    With technology like Sysero, you can easily capture client data via a digital form, and automatically encrypt that data to prevent any identifying information falling into the hands of cyber criminals in case of a breach. Additionally, you can choose exactly which information to encrypt to ensure that the information you firm needs to conduct business remains usable, yet secure.

    Pseudonymising Data for Maximum Security 

    The GDPR introduced a new concept in data protection law - pseudonymisation - a process for rendering data neither anonymous nor directly identifying. Pseudonymisation separates uniquely identifiable data (such as a Social Security Number) from personal data, by replacing it with artificial numbers, or pseudonyms.  The process can greatly reduce the risks associated with data processing, while also maintaining the data’s utility. 

    Using Sysero, your firm can create procedures for periodic pseudonymisation of data from transactional data to ensure that stored personal data is secure and protected. This ensures that the information relevant to your firm is always available when needed, but managed in a way that makes it unusable to any criminals that may get ahold of it. 

    Only Retaining the Personal Data That’s Required 

    While the GDPR doesn’t specify retention periods for personal data, it does state that personal data may only be retained in a format that permits identification of individuals only as long as it’s required. For law firms, this can pose the challenge of knowing when and how to remove personal data from transactional matters. Most likely, your firm will want to retain certain information from transactional matters, whilst maintaining compliance. 

    By digitising your client data and using workflow automation, you can easily create custom data retention policies to govern how and when personal data is erased. For example, using Sysero, you can create data sanitization rules that automatically delete specific personal contact information from a client matter after a certain period of time. The same concept can also be applied to documents and transactions to comply with regulations. 

    Properly Training your Staff and Lawyers on Data Security Measures

    As data controllers, law firms have a responsibility to ensure the personal data they manage is stored securely and in compliance with current legislation. However, it’s important to remember that while data security best practices like encryption can protect your data, it can also make it unusable by the firm if used incorrectly.

    That’s why it’s so important to properly train your staff and lawyers on the basics of encryption so they understand when and how to use it when automating documents and workflows within the firm. Every firm should create a policy governing the use of encryption, including guidelines to help staff understand what information should and should not be encrypted. 

    As data protection regulations bring the proper management of personal information into sharp focus for the modern law firm, it’s time to adopt technology that helps your firm manage governance processes, secure data, and ensure firm-wide compliance.

    If you’re interested in learning more about how Sysero can help your firm solve the challenges of GDPR compliance,
    get in touch with our team

    SummaryBy capturing and managing data digitally (as opposed to using emails and phone calls) and using workflow automation to enforce compliant behaviours, technology can help firms solve some of the most common GDPR compliance challenges.
    Resource TypeBlog
    CategorySecurity & Compliance
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