Sheppard Mullin

Sheppard Mullin Creates Positive Buzz with Traveling Coaches’ OnGuard

“Traveling Coaches’ OnGuard Security Awareness Program allows our people to quickly and thoroughly understand that their behaviors have a tremendous impact on the security of our data and protected information. The program takes complex information and distills it down to clear, compelling and concise messages that resonate with our people. And because security is an ongoing concern, our partnership with Traveling Coaches means our security awareness program will remain relevant and fresh.”
— Donna Paulson, Chief Information Officer, Sheppard Mullin

THE CHALLENGE

A paralegal logs in to his account with the password “1234.” A litigation support professional stores his files on a cloud-based service so he can work from home. A managing partner, traveling for an important meeting, uses an open Wi-Fi network at a coffeehouse to check her email. In each of these examples, a legal professional has unknowingly exposed his or her law firm to a potential security threat.

Law firms compile, consume and conserve large volumes of client information – making them a prime target for network intrusions from unauthorized individuals or data breaches. Employees can contribute to the risk through everyday bad habits – one wrong keystroke, weak password or bad choice can lead to a high-profile security breach or noncompliance with industry regulations like HIPAA, HITECH and recent ABA standards.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP – an AmLaw 100 law firm with 600 attorneys practicing in 16 offices worldwide – recognized the threat posed by user practices and the need to implement a comprehensive security awareness program to ensure the continued safety of its clients’ privileged information.

According to Sheppard Mullin’s Chief Information Officer Donna Paulson, “Security has moved to the forefront for all CIOs, and it’s important that we educate our users about the risks, threats and consequences. Like many other firms, we shared information on how to protect data, but we didn’t have a formal security awareness training program in place.”

In addition to educating Sheppard Mullin’s legal professionals, the program would help the firm address a recent audit from a prominent financial services client that evaluated security measures ranging from firewalls to encryption to overall security awareness.

Realizing the importance of providing compelling education that respected the unique demands of the legal environment, Sheppard Mullin turned to Traveling Coaches and the company’s innovative OnGuard Security Awareness Program. Sheppard Mullin originally partnered with Traveling Coaches three years ago for the rollout of Office 2010 and was impressed by the organization’s advanced knowledge of user adoption. The company is known as an authority in law firm user adoption and change management, with 18 years of experience and more than 1,000 clients to date.

“We had limited in-house resources and a short timeline to launch our security awareness program,” comments Paulson. “Based on our past success with Traveling Coaches, I knew they were the right partner to create and launch our security awareness program.”

EDUCATING AND INFLUENCING BEHAVIOR

Transitioning the work habits of legal professionals – especially lawyers – is a challenging endeavor. They have very little time and even less patience for irrelevant information. The security awareness program would need to be sensitive of their scheduling constraints as well as present overviews in a compact, polished and intriguing style.

The OnGuard Security Awareness Program, powered by the user adoption experts at Traveling Coaches, offers a combination of strategic planning, content, reference materials, communications and branding that educates – and ultimately influences – legal user behavior.

Working with Sheppard Mullin, Traveling Coaches created and deployed a comprehensive educational program to better protect the law firm and its clients. The compelling program, tailored to be informative and engaging, yet concise for busy legal professionals, included:

  • A security awareness presentation: Traveling Coaches created a security awareness best practices presentation and held a special briefing session for the firm’s leaders who would be sharing it.
  • Online content: Online training modules created by Traveling Coaches addressed the top-10 security risks identified by the International Legal Technology Association related to common causes of breaches, password practices, encryption, mobile device use, file transfer and cloud storage. In addition to awareness, the online modules directed viewers to additional materials that reference Sheppard Mullin’s relevant security policies. Email: Traveling Coaches furnished Sheppard Mullin with a series of drafted emails that could be deployed at future intervals. The emails discussed common security risks and suggested tactics to mitigate them.
  • Signage: In order to reinforce awareness messages shared in person and online, Traveling Coaches created posters for display in high-traffic areas throughout the firm’s offices. The posters featured a graphically striking design and supportive security awareness messaging.
  • Branding: All program deliverables and content included the OnGuard Security Awareness brand which will be used by Sheppard Mullin in future messaging.
  • Consulting services: Traveling Coaches consultants worked hand-in-hand with Sheppard Mullin’s security, IT and help desk teams to assess their security awareness levels and prepare them for support activities and questions that would arise from the program.
  • A continuously updated library of security awareness materials: To create and foster an ongoing culture of security, Sheppard Mullin will receive fresh content with which to sustain heightened awareness.

RESULTS

Attorneys and legal professionals at Sheppard Mullin expressed an overwhelmingly positive response to the OnGuard Security Awareness Program. Ninety-five percent of the staff and seventy-five percent of the firm’s attorneys participated in the kick-off security awareness presentation. Following the event, word of mouth from the excited attendees generated a positive perception of the program which built more awareness and generated even wider participation.

“We were surprised by how many people attended and the positive experience they took away from it. We got so many compliments from users right after the training session. Attendees were then telling their co-workers to go because the presentation was so valuable. Based on this response, and then the positive responses we gathered from a survey that followed, this program has definitely been successful,” remarks Britton Choi, Chief Security Officer of Sheppard Mullin.

These results and the fact that Traveling Coaches’ content was compelling, easy to digest and up-to-date, have led Choi to estimate that employee participation will continue to increase to 95-100%. Sheppard Mullin plans to continue the program with annual live sessions and a steady sharing of materials including communications, resources and blog posts.

Clients of Sheppard Mullin are impressed with the comprehensive program, and its content has not only met but also exceeded clients’ security audit requirements – including one from a leading financial institution.

“Traveling Coaches’ OnGuard Security Awareness Program allows our people to quickly and thoroughly understand that their behaviors have a tremendous impact on the security of our data and protected information. The program takes complex information and distills it down to clear, compelling and concise messages that resonate with our people. And because security is an ongoing concern, our partnership with Traveling Coaches means our security awareness program will remain relevant and fresh,” says Paulson.