Exploring External Document Collaboration Tools

External document sharing for legal is becoming more important. Clients are becoming more tech savvy and expect firms to be onboard with the latest in file sharing to expedite the legal process. Without the right systems in place, AIIM reports that 30% of lawyers will go around their IT department and file share through unapproved systems to please their clients. After all, it is their job to give the client the best service possible. The problem with file sharing and legal content isn’t a simple one, but it does need to be addressed. Without a proper ECM file sharing publishing plan you can encounter a host of document issues such as: non-compliance, duplicate documents, and document insecurity. To avoid the issues brought on by unapproved file shares floating around your firm, here are some suggestions of solutions to enable external document sharing with publishing plans from your ECM.

  1. Microsoft SharePoint

SharePoint is a great collaboration tool whether you need it for internal collaboration or external collaboration with clients. The fact that SharePoint is heavily connected with Microsoft Office and Office 365 is also a plus, as these applications are used by virtually everyone. SharePoint 2016 has also made it extremely easy to set up your external client site, saving you time and stress! Read more about SharePoint’s capabilities here.

  1. HighQ Collaborate

HighQ Collaborate is a robust collaboration tool that allows you to share files and collaborate internally or externally with clients securely. HighQ is different from SharePoint in that their pages are centered around discussions or specific projects, and they utilize more of a “social” aspect like commenting on posts. HighQ is also very legal-centric, making it a great choice for a good majority of our customers. Read more about HighQ here.

  1. Box

Box, is a fairly simple file sharing systems, therefore it is not as specialized as HighQ Collaborate or SharePoint, but it is the most requested form of external sharing by clients. It works by simply creating folders accessible to assigned users. The content contained within these folders can be accessed via the internet. Users can set permissions for how other users may view and edit documents. Not only can you share documents, but you can also discuss what is being shared. Box is simple, familiar, and a good external file share option for anyone, including firms. Read more about box here.

All of these systems can be cloud based and eliminate the email attachment model that so many of us have become used to. They are more secure than sending sensitive information over email and make working with clients much easier.

However, these systems do not solve the problem on their own. Once an external sharing system has been selected, it’s important to put into place a robust publishing plan that keeps content in its designated repository, (such as OpenText eDOCS, iManage, or NetDocuments) and publishes it out to these external systems. This is exactly where SeeUnity can help. We have native connectors into most external file sharing systems, and particularly the ones mentioned here, as well as most major document management systems. Our Echo Content Synchronization solutions can help you automatically publish content on an administrative level, or offer lawyers more control over the content they publish, by surfacing a user-initiated synchronization process of content between the repository of record and external file sharing system. For more information about our publishing, archiving, or synchronization solutions visit our website.

Posted on: September 20, 2016