Collaboration Outside the Office

AuthorDennis Kennedy - Tom Mighell
Collaboration Outside
the Office
When collaboration moves outside the office (fire)wall, the
potential benefits as well as the risks substantially increase. As
a result, we must change both the way we think about collabo-
ration and the tools we use to work with others in the outside
world. While processes like those we discussed in Chapter 3
are at play, the motivation for using collaboration tools to fur-
ther those processes changes and the complexity increases,
depending on the people with whom we work and the chan-
nels we use for this collaboration. In simplest terms, external
collaboration takes us out onto the Internet, which can be a
dangerous place.
Regarding the technology used, the essence of the change
from collaboration inside to outside the office can be captured
in the movement from the concept of the intranet—an internal
website used by and accessible to members of a firm or orga-
nization—to the concept of the extranet—a private, secure
website available over the Internet to anyone with permission
to use it. Security and access rights are a greater concern with
extranets because of their availability over the Internet. Deci-
sions must be made concerning the access to and use of firm
information by outside parties.
As we’ll discuss later in the book, large law firms—as well
as more and more small firms and solos using practice manage-
ment tools that offer client portals—routinely set up extranets
for many of their clients. These extranets allow the firm to
share with its clients the documents and other information

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