Dr. Jascha Schneider-Marfels
Lawyers and notaries prefer to keep their data in-house – or do they? Not the owners of the renowned Balex law firm, who want to enjoy the benefits of digitalisation with the help of Swisscom’s comprehensive Smart ICT solution.
Balex AG’s office in Basel city centre is just a stone’s throw from the Barfüsserplatz. The company also has offices in Binningen and Rheinfelden. In total, around 25 employees, including 15 lawyers and notaries, work to protect their clients’ rights, adopting a holistic approach to every case.
Jascha Schneider-Marfels, a partner at Balex, explains this approach with an example: “An SME owner is always a private individual with their own individual needs. We look at all areas of life and offer global strategies.”
The five Balex partners also wanted to adopt a global approach to their ICT strategy. They were prompted by the company’s cumbersome telephone system, with its three switchboards, and out-of-date servers. Data was backed up on tapes, the firm needed a huge amount of technical support, with the associated expense, and operational costs were simply too high.
“We wanted a high-performance combined IT and telephony package that would lighten our workload”, remembers Jascha Schneider-Marfels. “The new solution was also designed to help us digitalise our processes. Our industry is currently undergoing enormous upheaval, with courts, authorities and administrative bodies all switching to digital technology. We wanted to get ourselves into a good position as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
«Thanks to an ICT solution that meets banking industry standards, we meet all security requirements.»
Balex received in-depth advice from Swisscom partner Fischer ICT. Security was a crucial issue: would a cloudbased solution with no in-house servers be able to meet the required high standards? Jascha Schneider-Marfels explains: “We discussed the matter in great detail as a board. In the end, we decided to switch to the cloud because Swisscom was offering banking industry security standards, as well as the option of qualified electronic signatures. Would we have been able to attain such high standards with our own servers? It’s doubtful because, in principle, any computer can be hacked.”
Fischer ICT pointed out the main features of the high-security solution: data access via VPN, strong password protection, a top-level firewall and data storage in Switzerland. At an objective level, the firm’s partners were convinced. For Jascha Schneider-Marfels, the choice of a cloud-based solution had an additional dimension: “Swisscom also seemed the best option from an emotional point of view. We trust Swisscom’s high standards of quality.”
Fischer ICT began by installing the new telephony solution at each of the company’s offices, since when staff have been able to use their smartphones to make landline calls. Next came the key task of integrating electronic signatures into the cloud-based solution and regulating access to the Terravis database. Last but not least, the system needed to be made user-friendly and suitable for everyday use.
Electronic communications to courts and authorities needed to be hassle-free and possible from anywhere – including reliable encryption, time-stamping and legally valid signatures. Providing access to the firm’s extensive e-mail archive was another major challenge. Once the system had been successfully installed, Fischer ICT handed responsibility for operations and maintenance to Swisscom.
Jascha Schneider-Marfels is enjoying the benefits offered by the new solution and would not want to do without them: “Our ICT has become simpler and is specifically designed for businesses. We can access all our applications and data from anywhere. For example, I can quickly send an electronic communication on the move – I couldn’t do that before. We no longer need to worry about maintenance and backups, so our burden is noticeably lighter. Last, but not least, we are exceeding the minimum security standards required by the Swiss Lawyers’ Association!”