Archive for February, 2008

There is a very interesting piece in the NYT today regarding how researchers have figured out how to steal encrypted data. All you need is a can of dust remover to crack local file encryption. Literally, even if that data is encrypted on a local drive, its not safe.

One of the quickly disposed of objections to web-based applications is that they are somehow less secure.  I’ve had lawyers and incredibly, law firm IT bureaucrats insist “but this computer is right here, how can this be less secure than your web servers?”

We have long maintained that the least secure technology model possible is the one currently employed by most law firms, which will come as no shock to anyone who interfaces regularly with law firm IT. That model is to try to lock down laptops using network configurations and user permission rights that have the end result of making the laptop practically impossible to use and crushing the performance of even the speediest computer.

And now it seems, without even being secure. All the pain, no gain.

Web-based apps are far more secure and provide much better performance at the same time. Every use is authenticated and logged. Access can be shut off immediately. It can’t be left on a plane or on the subway. And no one is going to steal our web servers and freeze them with stuff you can buy at Staples.

None of which you can say about that supposedly secure laptop.

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Just Click it.

One of the really cool things about the web and Nextpoint is the ability to create hyperlinks. Nextpoint allows lawyers to take a subset of evidence and make it easily accessible as a link. It’s groundbreaking functionality in the legal marketplace. Its the way users want to look at data today, in stark contrast to the old “file and folder” or local structured database model.

This old model is so hard to use it doesn’t serve as a way to improve access to information, but has become a really cumbersome way to segregate it. This is why we’ll see customers with a deposition exhibits database that is fully redundant with their production database. And multiple databases for the same case. The databases have no simple and easy way of generating and preserving subsets within them. Which means if someone finds a document in the production database, there is no way to see if it has been marked as an exhibit without going to another database. Crazy.

Hyperlinking changes all of that. Discrete sets of evidence (formerly thought of as saved searches) are now generated with the click of one link. One piece of evidence can have multiple issues, tags, deposition exhibit, trial exhibit and traditional coding data associated while being one click away. Lawyers love it because it’s easy, no need to boot up an application, no need to select a window to view, or a field to search in. Want to see all of the Smith deposition exhibits. Just click a link.

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Love or hate Mark Cuban, you have to admit that he’s polarizing. His recently revisited series of posts on the internet being “Dead & Boring” are certainly no exception.

While I don’t particularly like the “boring” label and I really hate the “dead” label, he makes a good point: The internet is no longer a radically evolving and unstable moving target. We’ve now come to the point where with some good choices and knowledgeable engineers, it can finally be dependably harnessed as a platform. Gone are the days when anything not locally installed could be automatically labeled “unstable” and “not secure”.

Don’t get me wrong, security and stability remain two of the most important and difficult issues in creating any application, but when the ground stopped moving (seemingly) unpredictably beneath us, it became much more practical to build something that can guarantee data confidentiality and security, while not being in a constant state of flux to cope with changes in the substructure.

From my viewpoint, the internet being “boring” is the best thing that could have happened to us.

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Ajaxian Nextpoint Profile

Ajaxian, a leading tech blog focused on AJAX and other related web-development techniques, recently posted a technical profile of Nextpoint. In preparing for the post we had the privilege to hang out with Dion Almaer, co-founder of Ajaxian and member of the Google Developer Programs team, where we discussed the interface technologies employed to power our document presentation tool, Theater. It’s a great thrill for us to get acknowledged by our technology peers outside of the legal industry. Check out the Ajaxian post and demo video here.

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Active this morning, Nextpoint users will experience some key changes in security during their next log-in. Here’s what’s happening…

Password Updates
Upon log-in, all users will be required to change their password to comply with our new password guidelines. New passwords must meet the following criteria:

  • at least 8 characters long
  • at least one number (or punctuation mark)
  • cannot contain your first, last, or username
  • cannot contain these words: pass, next, trial, manager, case
  • password and confirmation must match

After selecting a new password, you will be prompted to accept a basic click-through agreement.

Timezone Customization
Sick of not being quite sure just when that most recent file was posted? Next time you log in, change your timezone! You can change this setting by going to “Edit Profile” in the upper right hand of your screen. Nextpoint will then adjust all the times you see for updates to your zone. Moving around from office to office? No problem; just return to “Edit Profile” and adjust for your new location.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with enhanced security.

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