Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP is a fast-growing, full-service law firm in south east England with over 200 employees. Founded in 1570, Thomson Snell & Passmore is the world’s oldest law firm and today serves a range of clients across multiple industries including agriculture, commercial property, education, food, non-profit, and more. The firm is known for its well-established legal roots, highly skilled team of lawyers, and relentless commitment to client service.
To meet the needs of its diverse client base, Thomson Snell & Passmore needed to provide greater mobility to its partners so they could work more productively anytime, anywhere, without compromising highly confidential information. MobileIron, together with its partner Appurity, was selected to help the firm deploy and manage secure business apps and content on both BYOD and corporate-owned iOS devices.
A Modern Law Firm with a Long History of Innovation
The firm’s longevity can be credited to its dedication to excellence and modern and progressive approach to management. This long-standing commitment to innovation is why the firm launched a series of mobile initiatives well before its competitors did.
Thomson Snell & Passmore was one of the first legal firms to move its desktop and software infrastructure to the cloud to help introduce greater mobility. The firm also replaced its BlackBerry deployment with iPhones, allowing employees to use either a corporate-owned device or enable their personal devices for work through the firm’s BYOD program. However, the firm needed a more secure way to protect highly confidential client information on mobile devices and apps, so it looked to MobileIron and cross-platform mobility specialist, Appurity for the solution.
“The decision-making process was very easy,” said Anthony Graham, head of information systems at Thomson Snell & Passmore. “I knew MobileIron was one of the leading enterprise mobility management (EMM) platforms, so we were confident the solution would provide us with the security we require to keep our sensitive client data confidential.”
MobileIron: The Right Choice for Mobile Security
Thomson Snell & Passmore had two main challenges: Lawyers needed anytime, anywhere mobile access to data and apps, but data also had to be secure in motion and at rest on the device.
Prior to the firm’s iPhone deployment most employees accessed email on their devices via ActiveSync, but the firm wanted a more secure solution for mobile email. In addition, mobile employees used their devices to directly log into the Citrix environment to access files on their desktop, but this was not a convenient option if the desktop was inaccessible remotely.
The firm initially looked to MobileIron to provide secure email so employees could send encrypted attachments — the most convenient way for its legal team to share files. In addition to securing email, however, the firm soon began deploying all their business apps through MobileIron Apps@Work. This allows the firm to ensure every employee has the most current and tested software on the device, which includes apps such as telephone conferencing software and BigHand, an application that allows lawyers to dictate notes and share them securely.
Before MobileIron, the firm’s help desk often fielded multiple requests to reset user passwords. Because passwords were not synched on the desktop and device, if a user changed the password in the office and forgot to change it on the device, the device would lock out the user after a certain number of attempts. That resulted in a call to the helpdesk to resolve the password disparity between the device and the network. Today the firm uses Kerberos, so if the password is changed in the office it doesn’t impact the device.
“Reduced calls means we are saving time and effort for our IT staff, and also preserving the time of the fee-earner, because their time is money. If email is down or partners can’t access critical client information, they can’t serve clients or bill for their time. So for us, if we aren’t hearing anything, that’s good. It means the solution is working,” said Graham.
Looking Ahead: Expanding the Mobile Foundation
Thomson Snell & Passmore is already looking ahead to include support for Android devices as well as broaden their cloud deployment with additional services to manage their infrastructure, software, and desktops.
“When other cloud-based apps become available, we hope they will be secured through MobileIron, which has become our preferred platform for rolling out applications,” said Graham.
The firm is very happy with their EMM solution: “MobileIron has helped me secure data for the firm and opened up the ability to offer more on mobile devices, particularly for BYOD, which the firm didn’t have before. In the future we expect to reduce costs, especially if BYOD takes off and minimizes our inventory load. Plus it will help our legal team work more efficiently because they won’t have to carry around separate devices for work and personal tasks. They can accomplish everything they need to do on one device, thanks to MobileIron,” said Graham.