Embracing Tech to Solve Breaches and Threats
In 2019, we welcomed Shieldpay into our growing customer base on a three-year hosted desktop contract. As a provider of services in the legal sector, just as we are, we continue to work closely with Shieldpay to find ways in which their service could be a benefit to our own customers.
In the spirit of learning from one another and keeping abreast of industry-specific knowledge, Shieldpay has written a guest blog for us discussing how you can embrace technology to solve breaches and threats.
Since our launch in 2016, we’ve rapidly grown in reputation as a world leader in escrow transactions. Applicable to anyone wanting to make high-value transfers, our work with the legal sector has won us a host of awards including 2020 Modern Law Awards – Combating Fraud, 2019 LegalEx Conveyancing Award and 2019 Modern Law Awards – Innovation of the Year.
With new regulations released by the SRA in November 2019 around the use of Third-Party Managed Accounts (TPMAs), our service is in demand now more than ever.
TPMAs aren’t a new initiative, rather it’s a new technology that has brought them into the present and made them accessible to law firms of all sizes.
Relieving our clients of many of the non-billable tasks that can affect their bottom line, our platform integrates easily and delivers compliance checks, real-time notifications and 100% transparency on money while the transaction takes place.
Increased Protection for Client Money
It used to be that client money, not immediately used for payment, was kept in the firms’ bank account. This mingling of funds offered little to no protection for clients should the firm go bust or fall victim to fraud. It also provided an administrative headache for the firm with residual balances requiring extra admin time to marry up with the owner or assign to charitable giving.
With tightening regulations prohibiting law firms from acting as a bank – i.e. holding any client money which does not relate to the delivery of a service – there’s even more onus on firms to employ best practice. Failure to do so could very easily be regarded as a breach.
Shieldpay’s TPMA solution allows segregation of funds, and importantly, generates a clear audit trail to demonstrate compliance.
For the client, they gain full visibility on funds throughout the engagement of service and receive a notification when there’s any movement within the transaction.
Tech and the Cyber Crime Threat
The legal sector is receiving a lot of negative press at the moment reporting how overwhelmed they are with combatting the ever-increasing and sophisticated threat of cyber crime.
Instances range from hiring staff with stolen identities who use their access to perpetrate fraud, to transferring client funds after falling victim to email scams.
In part, the SRA’s new rule 3.3 removes a proportion of this opportunity by providing specific guidance on how law firms can use TPMAs as an alternative option to store client money.
Shieldpay offers clients an additional level of security by using a screening process to help ensure the identity of both sides of the transaction is true.
By completing ID and verification on our users, including – amongst other techniques – digital verification, ID scans and video liveness checks, we reduce the risk for new clients and employees to labour under a false identity.
Building the Future
Viewed by insurers and regulators as a good approach to risk management, Shieldpay’s service tackles two of the very real challenges to operating a modern law firm. Proving that adoption of new tech need not be expensive or complex, we offer service packages to suit every size and discipline in the legal sector.