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Summary

  • From underestimating the significance of record keeping to grappling with the complexities of unstructured data and navigating outdated eDiscovery processes, legal firms often make a few critical mistakes that undermine the effectiveness of Slack. 
  • To meet data retrieval needs, preserve data privacy and boost security, firms should opt for a cloud data loss prevention (DLP) tool instead of an eDiscovery solution. 
  • Use a comprehensive DLP tool like Polymer DLP to discover and protect sensitive information, ensuring compliance, risk management, and security.

In today’s fast-paced legal landscape, Slack has emerged as the go-to collaboration app for law firms worldwide. However, legal personnel often make a few all too common mistakes with this app that expose their companies to compliance gaps and hinder their ability to effectively manage sensitive information.

Below, we’ll explore these mistakes in detail, offering bespoke advice to help law firms use Slack to its fullest potential while maintaining all important data security and compliance. 

1: Underestimating the complexity of record keeping 

The value of recordkeeping cannot be overstated, especially in the age of team collaboration technologies like Slack. While legal teams are well aware of the need to keep a record of relevant emails, managing and preserving Slack data comes with a completely new set of issues. 

Slack’s dynamic nature, akin to that of social media sites, undermines standard record keeping methods, producing new and complex issues. Unlike static emails or PDFs, Slack information is continually being updated in real-time. Users can communicate, transfer files, edit posts, and delete work, making capturing a complete and accurate record challenging. 

The multidimensional structure of Slack complicates the recordkeeping process even more. It extends beyond mere text messages to include GIFs, emojis and other media. On top of this, Slack’s integration capabilities allow employees to transfer files from several sources directly from the platform, broadening the amount of data that needs to be managed.

2: Letting SaaS data sprawl run wild 

Unlike structured data, which is stored in relational databases, Slack conversations take the form of unstructured data. Structured data, such as the consistent fields and values of bank accounts or personnel directories, is like a well-organized library where information is easily accessed using SQL and relational database management systems (RDBMS).

Unstructured data, on the other hand, is very different. It is unconstrained by the limits of RDBMS. Consider PDFs, text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, videos, and audio files—all of these are examples of unstructured data. 

Worryingly, Slack’s unstructured nature easily mixes with its real-time activity, creating a playground for concealed information. It’s like navigating a labyrinth, where valuable information can easily get lost in the thousands of discussions, files, and multimedia being shared by different users. 

Without a dedicated tool to discover and organize this unstructured information, legal firms risk overlooking or even losing important information. 

3: Failing to update the eDiscovery process

Given the nature of Slack, integrating the app into the eDiscovery process is undeniably challenging. For example, a client could potentially edit or remove data before a lawyer successfully records it. 

Moreover, legal teams often struggle to discover specific documents due to the clunkiness of standard archives and backups, undermining their ability to discover relevant persons, channels, and keywords connected to a case at hand quickly and accurately.

Finally, it is critical to export evidence in a defensible format. Unfortunately, Slack’s inherent capabilities fall short of these requirements, making eDiscovery a time-consuming and difficult procedure. 

How to overcome the challenges of Slack in your firm

Slack data could take center stage as critical evidence should a case progress to the courtroom. With that in mind, law firms must present authenticated data that adheres to court requirements, meaning it is crucial to collect and preserve Slack data in a format that satisfies judicial standards. 

The most effective approach is to leverage a solution capable of automatically collecting and preserving this data with utmost accuracy and integrity. Now, a lot of legal teams think eDiscovery is the way to do this. But, today, advancements in AI and the cloud mean eDiscovery is less its own discipline and more part of a holistic process. 

In fact, best-in-class DLP solutions have ingested the eDiscovery exercise, creating better visibility and less work for legal teams–all while boosting data security and compliance. 

How Polymer can help 

Say goodbye to the laborious and time-consuming process of eDiscovery, compliance and record keeping thanks to the advent of cloud data loss prevention (DLP). These innovative tools have revolutionized the way law firms tackle the challenges of discovering sensitive data within cloud applications like Slack.

Our own tool, Polymer DLP, uses natural language processing (NLP) and automation to autonomously discover all types of sensitive data in your cloud apps, in both structured and unstructured formats. 

Using user behavior analytics and zero-trust principles, it carefully monitors how users interact with your sensitive information in apps like Slack, Teams and Google Workspace. Based on predefined security and compliance policies, it then permits, blocks or redacts sensitive information in real-time, while creating granular reports that can be used for both auditing requirements and record keeping.  

Revolutionize Slack in your law firm today. Request a free demo to see our next-generation DLP tool in action. 

Polymer is a human-centric data loss prevention (DLP) platform that holistically reduces the risk of data exposure in your SaaS apps and AI tools. In addition to automatically detecting and remediating violations, Polymer coaches your employees to become better data stewards. Try Polymer for free.

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