Balancing Worldox WFH Issues with Security & Compliance

Have you been locked out of Worldox or a similar tool that’s running your law firm? All software companies that provide document management services have security embedded to prevent any of the following situations: unauthorized access, leaked data, sabotage of documents. These security features often cause log-in issues when the underlying configuration is improper. With a little IT know-how you should be able to reconfigure Worldox so it runs smoothly. 

The goal of a Document Management System (DMS) like Worldox or NetDocuments is to preserve a lawyer’s most precious resource: their time. Unfortunately, owners of small firms lack the knowledge to avoid legal application problems. Toss in Work-from-Home, and you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Some inherent security features in Worldox (or similar applications) create access and usability issues. Avoid these problems with a little bit of legwork up front when setting up or adjusting your IT environment. 

Questions to Ask Before Starting:

  • What applications do I use to run my law firm? What’s my Document Management System? What’s my Matters/Case Management System? What billing/time management software do I use? Are any of these the same manufacturer?
  • Do the applications run in the cloud or on a physical server at your office?
  • Have you updated security configurations recently?
  • How do I connect to work-related applications? Do I use a VPN? Remote-Desktop? Public internet?


Active Directory Locking You Out of Worldox

Baby at tall doorIt seems obvious that a law firm would only want their team to have access to legal documents. Depending on your size and the type of license you’re using for Worldox you may log in with only a password, or with Windows Active Directory. Since a password-only log-in is inherently less secure and less complex, we’re going to cover Active Directory. If you happen to use passwords to log-in, we recommend you enable Dual-Factor Authentication (DFA) as an added layer of security.

To understand how Active Directory could create problems, it is first necessary to understand how it works and why it would create a potential issue. In simple terms, Active Directory is like having a virtual door person who grants access to your company’s digital resources (this could be anything – Shared Data Drive Access, Email Access, etc) by verifying that the person or device connecting is pre-approved and recognized. When an unauthorized device attempts to connect, it’s locked out of Worldox. 

Many applications that require a high-level of security will integrate with Active Directory to use that same “virtual door person.” Active Directory is given “orders” from the primary IT Administrator that determines which machines should have access to Worldox. Active Directory ensures that only authorized, secure machines have access (so that employees cannot access Worldox or other data through unsecured personal devices). 

Cybersecurity vs Uptime or Cybersecurity & Uptime?

Working remotely is here to stay, which means cybersecurity can no longer be an afterthought; an unsecured remote work environment for a cybercriminal is like spilled soda to ants. And here-in lies the problem: Lawyers require seamless connectivity; cybersecurity can create inefficiencies in connectivity and convenience. Active Directory, when set-up securely, has orders to deny unsecure connections (using the regular public internet) even if those attempts to connect are from employees with company devices. This can result in employees unable to access Worldox.

To prevent this issue, at a bare minimum, the connecting device (your laptop at home) must be recognized by the Active Directory server as “within the domain” (which is at the office). The domain is simply a group of devices; the company gives rules to those devices. Think of it like a fenced yard. Somehow, the device connecting needs to appear to be in the yard. While there are a few ways to resolve the issue, many tactics that we see are short-term fixes – fixes that come with their own issues.

For example, we’ve seen firms set up Remote Desktop, which allows a user to remotely connect to their remote Desktop at the Physical office site. The issue with this is that if the Desktop onsite goes to sleep or turns off, there is no longer a device to “Remote Into.” The result is you end up locked out of Worldox. More importantly, Remote Desktop is an extremely insecure way of connecting to a computer – it’s often exploited by “bad guys”. A solution to fix Worldox connectivity issues needs to be secure and involve Active Directory, while also being efficient so that employees can always connect when they’re working remotely. This is where setting up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) comes into play.

Use a VPN to Stop Getting Locked Out of Worldox

A VPN is a private “tunnel” in the internet that’s set up between a company device and the domain. It allows you to “get inside the fence” without having to pass through the unsecured public internet. A VPN is more efficient than a Remote Desktop because it does not rely on a physical office presence to work. Once it’s set up it requires little maintenance. Because VPN connections encrypt traffic, they are inherently secure.

Setting a VPN is simple with modern tools and infrastructure. All you need is a Firewall capable of the VPN feature and an IT person capable of setting it up. They install it both on the firewall and the end-user device. From there, the IT person configures the settings so that Active Directory and Worldox synchronize. This means that when you update your Active Directory password, that change sends to Worldox.

If you’re using Remote Desktop or Cloud-Based applications/servers, the resolution is slightly more complicated as they are inherently less secure. As a rule of thumb with any IT issue, if you’re not sure what you’re looking at it’s time to bring in an expert.

Do you have issues with any of your law firm’s applications while working from home? Let us know and someone from our team will reach out to help!