Dentons trials NetDocuments & pessimistic security model

Dentons is set to launch a proof of concept of NetDocuments’ cloud-based document management system, as the 7,300-lawyer firm also moves closer to locking down its files to all but those immediately involved in its matters.
Dentons is a long term iManage client but, as part of a five-year plan put in place by global chief information officer Marcel Henri, will review its DMS and knowledge management arrangements in two years’ time.
Henri told Legal IT Insider: “We have been in discussions with NetDocuments for some time and are planning to launch a proof of concept before the end of this year within a reasonably self-contained area in Asia.
“We have agreed with iManage to do a similar proof of concept with the latest iManage. Both will be run in greenfield sites so we are comparing like for like.”
Henri added: “We will be reviewing our document management system and knowledge management tools in a couple of years’ time, so we won’t be making any big decisions immediately but I have to do my research at a good time.”
The trial comes as Dentons also moves closer to a pessimistic security model, under which documents are only accessible by staff who are granted access by the firm.
Fears over security, particularly sophisticated phishing attacks, where a hacker tricks staff into handing over confidential login details and assumes their privileges, have led a number of firms to discuss increasing their internal security measures.
However, for reasons of convenience, cost, and resources, the vast majority of law firms still operate an optimistic security model, whereby documents are often restricted but the default position is that they are accessible across the firm.
Henri told Legal IT Insider: “There is a push within the firm for a completely pessimistic security model; it’s what clients expect. The business gets it but of course some parts of the business are resisting it because it limits your ability to share knowledge and content. Firms have invested heavily in search but what is a search if everything is locked down?”
Dentons is currently trialling a pessimistic security model in Germany and Henri added: “Whatever solution we go with, whether it be iManage or NetDocuments, it will most likely be under a pessimistic security model.
“One scenario we have discussed is to draw a line in the sand and say that, from a given date, we will apply a pessimistic security model and lock things down. In order to be able to share best practice and model documents, you are going to have to put more effort in the qualification of those documents and you are going to have to clean them and profile them, which is an extra workload.”
The decision follows recent high profile security breaches and leaks such as the Panama Papers. Henri said: “In light of the many recent security breaches that have made the headlines, I simply don’t think firms will have a choice.”
This story appears in the September Legal IT Insider