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How solid is your DMS Ethical Wall?

Brian Podolsky

< 1 min read

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Security is always a concern in a law firm, and is especially important in the legal department of a corporation. Lawsuits sometimes include the company’s co-workers, competitors, or other sensitive information, where certain matter information needs to be completely hidden from all but a few matter assignees. Securing documents or DMS folders is often simply not enough protection.

Does the system hide the matter from appearing when doing a table look-up on a search form? Does it hide the matter when accessing the matter table via the DMS web module? For some cases, you want to hide the actual matter itself, so users won’t even know it exists.

Vendors have been known to describe their products as having Ethical Walls, when in reality these products only provide security at the document or folder-level. The matter itself can still exposed on a look-up table.  One possible workaround to this is giving these secured matters a very general description of “Secure” without exposing any matter details.  However, this severely limits the ability of users to perform a matter-name search for the secured matters they are assigned to.

Worldox GX2 has a built-in Ethical Wall that is just what it says it is. Worldox’s Ethical Wall feature is solid and will actually hide the matter itself from even appearing. The only downside with the current version is that it requires a lot of hands-on maintenance to set up the proper rules. Maybe in a future release it can be synced to some external security database? A consultant can dream…

When looking at Ethical Wall solutions, you want to make sure that all doors are closed to the matter information. The last thing you want is to purchase an Ethical Wall and then find out it’s an Ethical Window.