The importance of user permissions for legal entity management

One of the biggest challenges organizations can face when migrating their legal entity management to cloud-based technology is that of access. Yes, the cloud means that anyone can get to the corporate record from anywhere at any time - but really, how smart is it to open up the whole thing to everyone everywhere?

When deployed in partnership with the IT and security teams, legal entity management technology can actually improve the security of confidential and sensitive corporate information despite that easier access. By bringing together those who’ll use the system with those who’ll administer it, organizations can decide on different levels of access depending on the role a user will play in legal entity management.

Managing user permissions is considered one of the 10 steps to cybersecurity by the UK government’s National Cyber Security Centre, which shows how important it really is for organizational security. Let’s look at why that’s the case - but first, what do we mean by “user permissions”?

What is role-based access control (RBAC)?

Role-based access control, or RBAC, is a fancy jargon-heavy way of saying you can restrict access to a network based on a person’s role within an organization or project. It’s become one of the main methods for advanced access control, says Digital Guardian, as it means employees are only allowed to access the information necessary to effectively perform their job duties. 

IT and security teams tend to be in charge of RBAC, deciding who needs access to which levels and parts of a system. These decisions will be made in partnership with other teams; for example, in the case of legal entity management platforms the decision is likely to include the General Counsel or corporate secretary, the legal operations team, the compliance, governance and risk professionals, and so on. It means lower-level employees can be restricted from accessing sensitive board information, and third party partners can be barred from accessing any confidential company information that is not pertinent to their roles.

RBAC enables you to control what end users can do at both broad and granular levels. Administrators make the call and have access to everything, while specialists, generalists and other stakeholders will have permissions set by administrators. It requires careful monitoring to ensure access permissions keep up with any movements within the organization; for example, if a new director joins the board they will need to be able to access board papers, or access will need to be revoked if the company secretary decides to leave the group. 

What are the benefits of using RBAC for legal entity management platforms?

The market’s leading legal entity management platforms allow permissions to be set across multiple fields, from object and profile levels to job roles and individual document access rights. 

As Dave Piscitello writes for ICANN: “When you define an authorization policy, you define individual or sets of users, applications or processes that can perform actions on a resource such as a database. You can be very granular with an authorization policy. You can control actions - whether individuals or groups of individuals can read, create or modify (write), delete – on individual database entries, or even individual elements (fields) of a database entry.”

In deploying user permissions for entity management, organizations can reap many rewards, including:

  • Reducing administrative time: Centralizing the access controls for legal entity management systems means you have less need for paperwork when passwords or roles change.
  • Maximizing efficiency: Access controls can be aligned with the business’s organizational structure, meaning users can do their jobs more efficiently and without the need for constant supervision.
  • Improving compliance: Certain information just should never be seen by anyone other than the very few. By deploying RBAC for legal entity management, you help to ensure any stakeholders that need to know can know - and no one else.
  • Enabling better collaboration: Bringing third parties and other partners into the internal systems through RBAC means smoother collaboration between, say, the registered agent and the legal operations team without the need to wait days for paperwork to be sent back and forth.
  • Enabling more robust security practices: Of course, all of this results in more robust security practices for your legal entity management - only those who need to know, will know.
Athennian’s cloud-based compliance platform enables IT teams to control access

When it comes to your legal entity management, security is key. That’s why Athennian built its cloud-based compliance platform not only on the needs of the modern paralegal and legal operations professionals, but also on the need of the CISO and CTO to lock down sensitive information. 

Athennian enables organizations to provide stakeholders with easy access to entity information, while controlling permissions and restrictions centrally. The head of IT can decide on read-only access, multi-location access, user permissions and more, while also viewing an audit trail of who’s accessed what, when, and from where. It’s a hugely powerful tool for security.

Intuitive, easy to use and easy to navigate, the Athennian legal entity management platform has been, and will continue to be, developed in collaboration with its users - people just like you, with similar challenges to solve. Book a demo to see how we can help you be more efficient and take back control over legal entity management.

About Athennian is the top reviewed legal entity management cloud platform for law firms and in-house corporate teams. Athennian is used by innovative organizations that value modern software with elegant automation and workflows. Integrating entity data management, document assembly, eSign, org charts, and e-file, Athennian is selected by leading law firms and corporate legal and tax teams to scale legal entity governance. Athennian offers rapid migration services for customers from any legacy database including ALF, CorpLink, EnAct, GlobalAct, EnGlobe, FastCompany, Corporate Focus, Blueprint (Diligent Entities), GEMS, hCue, Effacts and more.

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"Very easy to use, modern interface, excellent support. Athennian has an amazing conversion team. They helped us migrate all of our data and the training was very good."

Megan W, Director

“When we were reviewing other entity management systems on the market, in some cases, we were not comparing apples to apples. But with Athennian, there was really no comparison. The paralegals were so excited to come on board.”

Linda Escobar, Senior Paralegal

"There are so many things I like about this program, but the one thing that really stands out is the user friendly interface. The program is fast and allows me to enter corporate information very quickly and efficiently. I would also like to note that Athennian provides the most the fantastic customer service."

Kelly R, Corporate Law Clerk