Acuity Law is a Toronto based boutique law firm focused on corporate and securities law. More than just an experienced law team, Acuity serves as a trusted and strategic business advisor to their clients. “We take the time to learn about the business of our clients so that the advice we give is consistent with their overall business goals and strategies, their particular circumstances and needs as well as trends in the market and industries in which they operate,” said David Ellison. “It is important for us to have access to and share, at times, very large amounts of data. We work in a collaborative environment with clients and other professionals so finding a solution to providing access to data was critical. Security is an important consideration. We are working with companies that for regulatory or competitive reasons can not afford to have their information mis-directed.”
A significant factor that sets Acuity apart is their value equation. Not burdened with large overhead and administrative costs, Acuity is able to deliver premium services and results to junior and mid-market clients on a more cost-effective basis than the large law firms
“I originally heard about FileFlex from a customer and so I gave it a try. It turned out to solve many of the challenges we were encountering with DropBox and email,”
– David Ellison, Principal of Acuity Law.
For Acuity Law, sharing data is a normal part of their corporate and security practice and they live with the daily challenges that can bring. These challenges include the following.
- Sharing potentially large volumes of data with their clients or other professionals.
- Ensuring availability of the data, that is when and where the data is accessed from, and the need to keep the data secure so only the intended recipients have access.
- Access to and sharing, at times, very large amounts of data.
- A collaborative environment with clients and other professionals.
- Security is critical for regulatory or competitive reasons.
- There are options such as “virtual” data rooms some of which are specifically targeting law firms. They can offer robust security but often come with a cost that is difficult to justify on smaller transactions especially when there are adequate alternatives.
- Virtual data rooms, public cloud and the common file share services were explored, but security is an issue in cloud solutions and virtual data rooms can be expensive for some clients.
- Email is often used – but that often meant breaking the file up over multiple emails and, again, the potential for accidental loss.
Acuity Law like many firms used multiple approaches and technologies in an attempt to solve the double challenge of meeting transparency expectations and doing their best to ensure this was done securely. Transparency is an important aspect of the work at Acuity so timely access to information is important. Those who have tried to send or share multiple large documents that are many GB of data can appreciate the challenge.
“Now rather than having folders organized and resident on a desktop and doing ad hoc uploads to DropBox or breaking up documents for email I simply give access to the specific folder or file where it already resides. And I can securely retrieve my files directly from my office desktop from anywhere.“
Key Project Components
- Transparency is an important aspect of Securities and Corporate law so timely access to information was a key consideration.
- The size of files that need to be accessed and shared sizes can vary widely from KBs to many GBs. It had to be equally easy to manage regardless of size.
- Information is shared with a variety of stakeholders and access needs to be controlled based on the role or type of recipient.
- Because the sharing is both internal and external it has to not only be secure but easy to access.
- Minimal, user friendly software usability/requirements/licenses/subscriptions are required.
- Cost is a consideration – the solution needs to be cost competitive to alternatives.
- Compliance with professional association confidentiality standards as well as new international standards like GDPR is essential.
- Instead of having folders organized and resident on a desktop and doing ad hoc uploads to DropBox or breaking up documents for email we now simply give access to the specific folder or file where it already resides, using FileFlex and clients have easy access.
- Acuity staff can securely retrieve files directly from their office desktop from anywhere, even on their mobile device.
- The size and volume of documents that need to be accessed and shared is no longer an issue. Acuity can choose the folder or even a specific document to be shared and assign specific access rules – it’s that simple.
- Nothing is uploaded to a public cloud that needs to be managed, nothing is transmitted via email. This ensures that compliance with professional confidentiality standards and international data protections standards are maintained.
- Acuity Law has greatly reduced the risk of loss and when dealing with information that could affect the value of a company or result in fines if publicly disclosed – providing upmost care.
- Regardless of where the data is, on a desktop, in PCLaw or other practice management servers, anywhere, it is accessible and shareable with FileFlex.
The FileFlex Solution
- FileFlex offers what law firms like Acuity Law need and what many of the alternatives cannot provide.
- FileFlex enables remote access to files and folders from source locations – no sync, duplication or upload required.
- FileFlex assigns storage to users on a device, drive, folder or even file level which allows granular access permission.
- With FileFlex, sharing can be restricted to view or stream only and downloading can be
prohibited on a file by file or contact basis.
- As FileFlex is device agnostic it enables law firms the flexibility to access and share without needing to consider if the device is compatible, downloads and apps. This supports efficiency and customer satisfaction.