Secure Document Exchange (SDX) Portal
This is a step-by-step guide to using our Secure Document Exchange (SDX) portal. The SDX portal is an encrypted, private and secure storage area for sensitive and private documents that we hold on behalf of clients. It is the only means by which we can deliver documents to clients or third parties.
What is the Secure Document Exchange (SDX) portal?
At Lawyers Conveyancing we use the most sophisticated matter management system available, called ActionStep. One of the features of ActionStep is its Secure Document Exchange portal. You can see a short description of the the portal if you click on this link: ActionStep Client Portal.
Why the SDX portal is the only means by which we can deliver documents
It is likely that you will have heard about security issues affecting the PEXA electronic conveyancing platform. In fact, these issues arose as a direct result of the use of email to exchange important information. In the case of the security breach, a conveyancer’s email account was hacked and the conveyancer was tricked into allowing a scammer to use her login details to access her PEXA account.
In recent times there has been a massive increase in attempts by cyber-criminals to steal not only money but also identities, and this is most commonly achieved through the interception and misuse of email. Just consider these problems:
- When an email is sent to an individual there is no way of knowing if it has been intercepted by, or forwarded to, some third party.
- The problem is similar with faxes; there is no way of knowing who will collect the fax at the other end, or who they may hand it to.
- Emails are often sent to a generic email address, such as “firstname.lastname@example.org” with no audit trail and no person taking responsibility for the correct handling of the email and its contents.
- It is common for emails to be printed, creating a hard copy that can be misplaced, stolen, sold or otherwise improperly dealt with.
For an example of the inherent insecurity of email, see this article: Law firms lose millions to hackers in ‘highly sophisticated’ email scam.
It is a no-brainer that if email is such a risky method of delivering sensitive or personal information, then the best form of security is one that avoids the use of email.
By restricting the delivery of sensitive or private information and documents to the SDX portal we are able to ensure that the person receiving the information is entitled to it, the person can be held accountable for the handling and use of the information or documents, and an audit trail is maintained to confirm the identity of the person who accessed the SDX portal and when they did so.
As a law firm we have a duty to do all we can to ensure that our clients’ information is kept safe, that our staff are not exposed to tricks and deceptions by cyber-criminals, and that our firm’s reputation for responsible cyber security and privacy management is maintained.
Accessing the SDX portal for the first time
Using the SDX portal for the first time is quite simple, but we provide the following steps so that first-time users will know what to expect.
When the SDX portal is switched on for a person, ActionStep sends an automatic email to them (see the image below) to inform them that they have been registered as a having access to the SDX portal.
You will receive an email informing you that you have been invited to joint our portal.
Click on the button titled “CONTINUE TO PORTAL” and you will be taken to the ActionStep account for Lawyers Real Estate (Lawyers Conveyancing is a trading name of our law firm, Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd).
Write down a password (so that you don’t forget it), then copy it into the account setup panel (see below). You should keep the password handy so that you can use it again as necessary.
When you have accessed the portal you will see the matter for which you have logged in (see below). Note that you can choose to see documents by clicking on the “Documents” tab, but you can also click on the “Messages” tab to see chat messages. The example below shows that there are 5 documents in the portal for this matter.
Click on the “Documents” tab to see the folders set up for this matter and their contents. If you are the Primary Client on the matter file you will see ALL folders and their contents. However, if you are a third party (e.g. estate agent, loan manager etc.) you will see only the folder relevant to your role.
These are the basics of accessing your SDX portal, and using the portal is fairly intuitive from this point. However, for more information about using the portal see the information below under the heading “Granting access rights to banks and other third parties“.
Uploading and downloading documents
To upload a document, go to the “Documents” tab and select the folder into which you want to upload your document. In this case, the client wants to upload a document to the “Bank Documents” folder so that his Loan Manager can download it. The Loan Manager has been given access to the Bank Documents folder only, and so the Loan Manager is able to upload documents to the Bank Documents folder as well as downloading documents from it.
Uploading documents into your SDX portal
Note that the Bank Documents folder has its own “Upload Documents” button (highlighed in yellow in the image below). It is simply a matter of clicking on the button and then selecting the document you want to upload. See the examples below.
When you click on the “Upload Documents” button you will see a box as per the image below. Note that the box confirms “Upload Files to 5. Bank Documents” so there is no mistake as to which folder you will be uploading the documents into.
When you have selected the document from your computer and clicked “Done” you will see the file upload into the folder, as per the image below.
Downloading documents from your SDX portal
When new documents have been uploaded into the portal a yellow number will appear at the “Documents” tab. This indicates the number of new documents in the portal which are yet to be downloaded and viewed. See the yellow number “6” in the image below. This indicates that there are 6 new (unread) documents in the portal. This number will reduce as each document is downloaded, and it will disappear entirely once all of the documents have been downloaded.
Using the portal chat facility
The portal chat facility provides a secure environment for quick communication. If you type a chat message to us we are alerted by a light on your File Manager’s computer, and a reply will be sent as priority. Sometimes an ongoing conversation can be conducted in this way, with a log kept of the conversation.
Using the SDX portal with multiple matters
You may have more than one matter with us. For example, you may have simultaneous sale and purchase matters running and each will have its own matter file.
You can choose which matter you wish to view and access by clicking on the “View another Matter” link, and then selecting the matter you wish to deal with…
From list of matters displayed:
Granting access rights to banks and other third parties
If a client wants a third party to be able to access documents in their SDX portal we will require a written request with the following details of the person requiring access:
- The full name of the person requiring access;
- The mobile telephone number of the person requiring access; and
- The personal email address of the person requiring access.
It is most important that the email address provided for any third party is a personal email address and not a general office email address, as we must ensure that the person being granted access to a client’s SDX portal can be properly identified and will be personally responsible for the documents he or she downloads from the portal. This is also the reason why we require this person’s personal mobile telephone number, as further confirmation of bona fides may be required.
When we enter the third party’s details, and switch on their access to the SDX portal, an automatic email will be sent to them. In this case, the Primary Client has requested that his loan manager, Mr Lenny Lender, should be given access to the “Bank Documents” folder.
Lenny will receive an automatic email from the ActionStep account of Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd (Lawyers Conveyancing is a trading name of the law firm Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd). Lenny then clicks on the “CONTINUE TO PORTAL” button…
Lenny writes down the password he will use with his email address (so that he doesn’t forget it), confirms the password, then clicks the “Create Account” button…
Lenny clicks on the “Documents” tab in the client’s matter file for the purchase of 1 Schmoo Street, but he can see only the folder titled “5. Bank Documents”. This is because, as the client’s Loan Manager, Lenny has been granted access to this folder only. Lenny can see that there is nothing in the folder as yet, but when a document is uploaded into the folder Lenny will be notified…
A copy of the executed contract has been uploaded into the Bank Documents folder, and Lenny has received a notification by email. He clicks on the “LOGIN TO PORTAL” button, and enters his password…
The yellow alert with the number “1” indicates that there is one new document in the Bank Documents folder for Lenny to view and download…
Lenny clicks on the document to download it to his computer. At the same time, Lenny has mortgage documents that he wants to deliver to the client, and he knows that he can simply upload the documents to the SDX portal and the client will be alerted automatically.
Uploading documents – Step 1
To upload his mortgage documents, Lenny clicks on the “Upload Documents” button to the right of the folder name, and a box appears to prompt him to choose the documents he wants to upload…
Lenny clicks the “Choose File” button, navigates to the desktop of his own computer, and selects the document he has saved there named “Bank Loan Documents”…
The green progress bar indicates that the Bank Loan Documents file is uploading, and when the upload is complete Lenny clicks the “Done” button to complete the action.
The “Activity” tab confirms for Lenny that the Bank Loan Documents file has now been successfully uploaded into the client’s SDX portal…
Both the client and the matter File Manager will be alerted to the arrival of a new document in the SDX portal.
Cancellation of access to the SDX portal
Access to the SDX portal can be quickly and easily cancelled. If a matter file is closed, the matter can no longer be viewed in the SDX portal; only those matters that a client still has running will appear.
If a person has their accessed revoked they will no longer have any access to the SDX portal. An automatic email is sent to a person whose access is revoked.
Sometimes a client or third party may find that they cannot access the SDX portal. This may be because the matter to which they were granted access has been closed, or the password they are using has been incorrectly typed or is no longer valid. A password may also be forgotten. These situation can be easily remedied by way of a password reset requested in writing.