E-mail mgt service offers law firm peace of mind

Have you just sent a confidential e-mail to the wrong person? Do you want it back, but can’t be sure if the receiver copied or printed it?

Conventional e-mail has become indispensible for many organizations.

Yet, the technology has numerous security shortcomings. Once you hit the send button you lose control over your message.

E-mails and document attachments can be forwarded to or received by any valid e-mail address.

Copies of your online correspondence may reside on the network servers of people on your cc list without your knowledge.

For organizations such as hospitals, law firms, and government agencies that deal with privileged, confidential or secret documents, the fallout from e-mails falling into the wrong hands could be very damaging.

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It’s a constant security concern for Gregg Minkow, a lawyer with Minkow & Bergman Ltd., a law firm in Wheaton, IL. specializing in corporate transactions and patent cases.

“We deal with matters such as mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property,” Minkow noted. “You can imagine how our clients would want to keep a lid on things until they’re absolutely ready to release information.”

E-mail was one area Minkow & Bergman some concerns about, but these were allayed recently after the firm signed up with Chicago-based Evizone Ltd., a provider of e-mail management services.

“Now, we have greater control on who receives a message, how long the receiver can retain the e-mail, and whether or not they can copy, print, or forward the document,” said Minkow.

Essentially, the service helps users control business risk, reduce e-discovery costs, and protect business critical information, according to Evizone CEO, Andy Coutts.

Securing unprotected online workgroups

Coutts said Evizone developed the technology after realizing that most e-mail conversations among online workgroups were inadequately secured.

“We saw a large gap between document encryption toolson one end and the directory-based virtual data room or deal room solutions on the other,” said Coutts.

For example, he said, none of the available security software and hardware products dealt with the broader unsecured e-mail conversations that inevitably occur among workgroups.

Evizone developed Internet client software for both PCs and Macs that prevents the use of print screen, screen capture and recording tools.

“Our application also prevents unauthorized use of Web conferencing – a significant failing of browser-based private e-mail and data room/deal room solutions,” Coutts said.

For a service fee starting at $24.95 per month per user, businesses can set up an Evizone account that manages and secures their e-mail.

Discounted rates for larger groups are available for companies and organizations that want to set up a user group that covers branch offices, remote workers, or clients and partners.

Once set up, the system is easy to use, Coutts said.

Before transmitting an e-mail, the sender sets parameters covering areas such as: who can receive the message; can it be copied or printed; and how long can the message remain on the receiver’s Inbox.

Before going to recipients, the message is routed to Evizone servers. Recipients do not get the actual e-mail only an image of it.

“The neatest thing is the message disappears after the set viewing period and it doesn’t go on anyone’s hard drive or server — not the sender or receiver. It remains in Evizone’s secured server,” Coutts added.

The upside of this, Coutts said, is that subscribers can withdraw the message anytime without out fear of it “surfacing somewhere by surprise.”

At the same time, it becomes easy for subscribers to locate and recall the message for e-discovery or other purposes.

No unpleasant surprises

Minkow of Minkow & Bergman, said he can now rest assured that e-mails they send out won’t come back to haunt them.

“With conventional e-mail, if you transmit an e-mail to the wrong person you can only request that person to delete the message. But you can never be sure if that person does that, or if he or she read the e-mail, or forwarded it to others or use it against you.”

He said he now has is aware whether his message was read and can recall a message anytime.

Evizone says its software offers the following benefits:

  • Messages and documents are not communicated through conventional e-mail service, so there are no copies or traces of documents or messages within any e-mail server, its backups or on user’s computers

  • Messages and documents can be withdrawn at any time, even while a recipient is viewing the content. The automated recording of access history lets the sender know who has read a withdrawn message, how many times, and when

  • Evizone automatically manages the life cycle handling of documents and messages. Since documents and messages are only stored in the Evizone service, Evizone will automatically and permanently delete messages and documents when their user defined retention period expires. Once permanently deleted, a message or document no longer exists anywhere

  • The controlled Evizone environment ensures there are no viruses, spam or other common e-mail irritants

Minkow & Bergman legal risks are significantly lowered with Evizone, because minimizes the potential for data leaks.

The e-mail service, the law firm says, also helps it to abide by industry ethics and regulations around privileged information.

“We can prove in court that we took steps to protect a client’s e-mail and can provide a record of what was done to the message,” Minkow said.

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