Welcome to the ‘Horizon’
February 2021 Issue
Hello everyone and let me start by wishing you all a Happy New Year! I’m sure by now that every single one of us hopes for and is imagining a brighter 2021 and for some form of recognisable return to normality, be that a ‘new one’ or otherwise.
What a year 2020 truly was, the likes of which most of us will have never seen before – and hopefully never have to see or live through again. If there was an upside of this past 12 months, it has to be that we have seen at least two years of technology development and adoption compressed into a matter of months. As I outlined previously, my biggest concern throughout this rapid race to work from home has been (and still is) in and around system security. This month, as promised, we have continued to build upon our security messaging and given you further useful insight into the types of things you should be considering in this regard. I hope you enjoy the read and look forward to joining you again in our next edition.
– Richard Roebuck, Managing Director
Welcome to the team
We would love for you to join us in giving our new starters a warm welcome to the team, we are sure that their addition will bring new and exciting outcomes for Accesspoint and our clients.
Steph Lennox – Operations Manager
During the 30 years that I have worked for law firms, I have held a full spectrum of roles, including Legal Secretary, Systems Administrator, IT Trainer, Case Management developer and Communications Manager which encompassed Marketing & Events as well. That full range of knowledge and experience has led me to the exciting position of Operations Manager with Accesspoint, where I have the opportunity to help develop their internal processes and that of their numerous law firm clients as well. Helping and nurturing people has always been at the heart of my ethos and I’m delighted to be a part of a company with the same values.
Jamie Hamilton – Junior Full Stack Developer
I love keeping up to speed with new technologies and have a keen interest in various automation and optimisation tools such as REST APIs, Git and webpack. I’m hoping that my skills can help the vastly talented team at Accesspoint team to achieve even more.
Spot the difference competition!
Read all about IT!
Avoiding security breaches
When it comes to security breaches
, hindsight isn’t a luxury that SME firms can afford, and at this very moment your IT security is being pushed hard by hackers to find weaknesses. In this current climate,the smallest slip-up could lead to disastrous and costly results for everyone involved, and for many SME firms, there is no second chance to look back at what went wrong. Now is the time to take action to prevent such attacks before they happen. That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure an efficient plan is in place to cover all directions of a cyber threat before it occurs.
Where should you start?
Despite what you may think, a cyber-attack is not an elaborate heist with masterminds behind the scenes. In fact, in many cases, it is usually conducted through email correspondence, with the hacker entering the IT system through the ‘front door’ that is often opened by a busy and unsuspecting member of the team.
A scenario that we have seen happen too many times, is a ‘man in the middle’ phishing attack where a fee earner or solicitor opens and clicks onto a link within an email that on the surface appears to be from a trustworthy source, but, in reality, is from a hacker. The hacker can gain the recipient’s trust through the use of a more familiar and well-informed tone of voice, possibly by customising the email to each target’s name, job role or imitating a trusted colleague. However, by the time the recipient has realised something is wrong, it is usually too late, as the hacker is able to entice the recipient to click on the embedded link that is aimed at retrieving confidential details such as names, passwords and logins that could concern themselves, the firm or even the client.
The bait doesn’t stop there though. Email and website spoofing, malicious links and attachments, urgent subjects and calls to action, along with deals that are too good to be true, are just some of the other tactics that can be used within a successful phishing attack. Being able to spot any of these methods can be tricky as the hackers are continuously improving their process with each attempt. It’s therefore extremely important to team up with a reputable legal IT specialist to provide phishing awareness training for your whole team, in order to stay up to date and alert to the forever developing phishing tactics to make your firm less penetrable from unwanted outsiders. In addition to being able to spot the signs of an attack, you must also encourage your team to act immediately and inform someone when they think there has been a breach of data. On average it can take up to 279 days to identify a breach of data
, and by that time, irreversible damage can already be done. Creating a safe space for people to come forward will work in your favour- remember the faster you know about it, the faster you can respond to it.
Alternatively, explore how your firm can add additional layers of defence by eliminating the possibility of a phishing attack altogether from the root of the cause – email correspondence. When it comes to what goes in and out of the firm, there is no 100% guarantee of pure security as it’s impossible to truly monitor what is happening in an employee’s inbox 24/7. The best you can hope for is to significantly minimise the chances of getting caught out. In this new age of legal IT, the increasing saturation of various applications coming to market with the lack of interconnectivity could mean hackers have a better chance to exploit a firm’s current defence.
We predict a huge shift towards a completely integrated, secure, cloud-based legal platform, that can act as a utopia for efficiency, reporting and a network effect for the community. These platforms will provide huge opportunities for change and a more secure working environment and by adopting the use of portals, we are set to replace the need for emails as they can completely neutralise the possibility of an attack through the secure hub designed for not only client and solicitor communication, but also a multitude of other reporting and transactional features.
We saw a massive increase in security threats when lockdown initially began, and we predict that this will continue for many firms over the next year. Perhaps now is the time to think about a change in security procedures as well as your team’s mindset and habits – exploring various methods to keep your firm safe is what is needed now.
Introducing the new P4W Group Entity Form
We at Accesspoint continue to work behind the scenes to look for new ways to enhance a firm’s productivity and time management by leveraging the power and functionality of your Practice Management Solutions.
Why do we do things differently?
We believe firms should have innovative technology on their side for every task at hand, to turn jobs that can take up hours of precious time into streamlined and efficient, time saving tasks. Leveraging the power and functionality of Tikit’s P4W ‘Task Panel’ functionality, Accesspoint’s bespoke development team are proud to announce the arrival of our brand new Group Entity interface designed to streamline the creation of a Group Entity within one simple to use Windows form.
This new addition to our growing portfolio of automation products has been designed with your firm and its users in mind – with this one simple Windows form all the hard work is done for you!
What are the benefits?
Enhanced User Experience: The current time-consuming process of creating Group Entities can quickly lead to frustration. Our solution offers a clear benefit – it is a user-friendly form that facilitates the central creation of all individual group member entities as well as the Group Entity itself within P4W, making use of P4W’s well proven entity create stored procedure.
Significantly Reduced Time: Our form has been designed to strip down the Group Entity creation process to its simplest form, by greatly reducing the number of screens, steps and mouse clicks necessary to create these more complex client structures. Your team should have peace of mind knowing that the Windows form will significantly reduce the time it usually takes to complete this task, thereby allowing fee earners to turn their hand to the task at hand – fee earning, with far less administrative overhead.
Streamline Data: Once the Windows form has been populated it’s a simple case of clicking the Create button for the magic to happen. The form then creates each individual client entity, whilst simultaneously checking for duplicates, and then creates the actual Group Entity itself adding each individual client entity as a Group Member – all of this from one form. Additionally, users have the option of creating a matter and adding each individual entity to entity contacts and matter contacts (should the ‘create matter’ option have been taken).
Glover Priest Case Study
GloverPriest have been using P4W for over two years and the Accesspoint Legal Services development team initially helped them write their Sale and Purchase case workflows in and around their existing practice management system.
Firstly, the case workflows were reviewed and then overhauled with additions made where appropriate, then Glover Priest and the ALS development team worked with a third-party consultant to ensure full integration with Perfect Portal. This included the creation of managing partner tables and XAML screens which populate the figures directly from Perfect Portal. The auto population of completion statements and bills also proved itself to be beneficial.
More recently, the Accesspoint Legal Services team have worked with GloverPriest to add the new and innovative Online Will Planner for the firm to utilise across their online activities.
The Online Will Planner directly addresses the problem GloverPriest and their clients faced on a regular basis, with many clients beginning their legal journey not knowing where to start when creating a Will, and the last thing they wanted was for their clients to deal with an overwhelming and complex process with too many steps.
The Will Planner offers a simple way to gather information from the client, through a remote web-based process, that can be completed in as little as three steps. The new Will Planner was tailormade to suit the firm, from the layout of the form providing a sleek suitable look that matches the rest of the firm’s branding, to the data fields and questions within the form being customised to suit the firm’s requirements. By adding the Online Will Planner to their website, they have been able to dramatically reduce the cost of having to go to a third-party Wills software provider and cut the usual time taken to start the Wills process, not only for the client but also the firm itself, thus, leaving more time for fee earners to get on with other urgent matters without compromising the quality of the service given to clients.
GloverPriest have a long-standing history of providing excellent legal protection for their clients, with their oldest office in Tamworth being traced back to 1749. Since then, the firm has seen great growth, as they now have eight offices operating in Birmingham, Staffordshire and Northampton. The firm pride itself on continuously supporting the legal needs of local communities and constantly living up to their company values of being experienced, expert and personable.
“Working with Accesspoint over the past 2 years has ensured a seamless approach to the major developments of P4W that we have carried out, and further developments benefiting the firm, our teams and our clients. One of our biggest projects we have completed with Accesspoint was our Online Will Planner which has made the whole process of completing a simple Will online a massive success with our clients and cuts down the time lawyers are dealing with administration work. As the firm continues to grow, we will continue to work closely with Accesspoint to ensure we are at the forefront when it comes to technology.”
IB – Sales & Marketing Manager, GloverPriest
Microsoft Teams corporate backgrounds
In this new-found business world, we all now have a daily obligation to attend and make video calls, but how often have you thought carefully about the background screen which sits behind you – often I would guess!
It is very unlikely that you would invite a promising prospect or respected client into your office without ensuring that the environment you will be in is up to standard with everyone’s liking, a video call should be no different. Whether you are on a call to a new or existing client, or if you are on your daily meeting with the team, one thing remains certain – maintaining a professional background is essential to portray your high-quality service.
Accesspoint have taken the lead to create clean, modern and high-quality corporate backgrounds for your firm to display under any situation.
Creating a professional corporate background couldn’t be easier!
Choose your preferred office background from our list of design
Upload a high-resolution copy of your corporate logo and make your purchase
Our Graphic Artists will 3D Vector your corporate logo onto your chosen background and issue it to you via email, within 3-5days.
Website Payment Portal
Accesspoint’s Payment Portal is deployed as a secure, easy-to-use standalone portal that can be integrated with your website to facilitate client payments for greater efficiency and convenience.
There are many reasons as to why your firm should explore integrating a payment portal with its website. Offering your clients a speedy, convenient and secure option to pay their fees will ensure your firm gains a competitive edge as well as a greater level of assurance for the future.
The main features
“Our new payment portal has had a huge impact when dealing with client payments. It’s now much easier for them to pay and it demonstrates our commitment to making their lives easier by using a convenient modern method, plus we benefit from more streamlined and traceable transactions. Accesspoint were very professional and a delight to work with”
– GC (Finance and Practice Manager) at Dawson Cornwell
“The payment portal for us really has been a no-brainer. It was up and running in January before the lockdown measures took hold, and has been an invaluable mechanism for ensuring that team members working from home have been able to provide a facility for clients to make payments and settle bills that are easy to reconcile for accounts purposes.”
– JL (Partner) at Luqmani Thompson & Partners