Strengthening IT services to combat evolving cybersecurity threats
Sentinel Law Group's IT Challenges
In 2014, a business email compromise (BEC) cyberattack exposed vulnerabilities within Sentinel Law Group’s third-party email service provider. The security incident quickly prompted Sentinel Law Group to re-evaluate its IT set-up. Finding a trusted IT firm to support all of its day-to-day IT services like its email communication system, business applications, and devices became crucial to its survival.
Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks continue to climb today. According to the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Complaint Center (FBI IC3), BEC schemes were the costliest cybercrime reported for the third consecutive year, with an estimated loss of upwards of $1.8 billion.
As soon as the BEC attack happened, Sylvia reached out to Chris Noles, President of Beyond Computer Solutions, Inc. (BCS), for help. BCS is a trusted IT company that has been providing consulting services and managed IT solutions since 2000. The company’s mission is to help small and mid-sized businesses leverage the same IT services, technologies, and tools that larger corporations utilize at a predictable cost to compete with larger organizations successfully. BCS was an ideal fit for Sentinel Law Group because of its long-standing experience working with real estate law firms and title companies in Georgia and across the rest of the south and southeast regions.
A solution for Sentinel’s IT needs with BCS
Within two days of the BEC attack, Sentinel Law Group was up and running again thanks to the support of the BCS team. BCS quickly and successfully migrated Sentinel Law Group off of their in-house servers, helped them switch to Microsoft Office 365 for their general email needs, and moved their non-title production business applications to BCS’s secure cloud-based environment. This provided additional layers of security to prevent further cyberattacks and improve business efficiencies through reliability and seamless integration with other tools and applications like Microsoft Office 365, etc.
With BCS’ help, Sentinel Law Group no longer had to worry about managing in-house servers and the continual maintenance and costs involved. They only needed their computers and an internet connection to perform their day-to-day work. There was a relief knowing that BCS was securing their business applications and computers with additional layers of security to protect against evolving threats. On top of that, BCS also managed their data backups, system updates, network traffic monitoring, and security protocols, providing access to the same technologies and tools that larger corporations use, but at an affordable cost.
"Once you realize your exposure to data breaches and attacks on our industry and you find a wonderful partner to mitigate that risk, it is huge because you can sleep at night."
- Sylvia K. Morrow-Nocon, Attorney & Owner, Sentinel Law Group, LLC
Sylvia brought on BCS to ultimately help with two separate areas of their business:
- First, as mentioned above, to mitigate the risk of future cyber attacks by moving their non-title related IT needs to BCS' solutions.
- Secondly, as you read on below, to help make the transition seamless from Sentinel Law Group's legacy on-premises settlement software to Qualia's cloud-based platform by maintaining the historical data from the legacy software and making it easy to access.
Finding a modern, more efficient way to do closings
Sentinel Law Group’s Title Production Software Challenges
Sentinel Law Group had a long history of utilizing on-premise legacy settlement software for its operations. Though the team managed, there were recurring inefficiencies: the constant need to re-key information, the hassle of referring to a manual for the specific coding language to create and customize documents, and doing 1099s required learning a new process every year.
When her settlement software provider at the time convinced Sylvia to try out having the on-premises software hosted on the provider’s remote servers instead of her in-house servers, the inefficiencies became particularly poignant. Operations were disrupted and the Sentinel Law Group’s team could not get documents out or figures finalized for time-sensitive files. To make matters worse, there was a lack of customer support from their previous software provider to tackle these issues.
This negative experience with the title production software coupled with the security incident was ultimately a catalyst for Sylvia to reevaluate the security and efficiency of her business overall. Once BCS was managing IT support for Sentinel Law Group’s Office 365, devices and network, Sylvia was ready to take the next step toward modernizing her title production operations with a cloud-based digital closing platform.
A modern closing software solution with Qualia
Qualia’s unified digital closing platform provides the infrastructure to streamline the home purchase, sale, and refinance experiences on one secure platform—providing a modern, more efficient way to do closings.
According to Sylvia, Qualia immediately stood out against the competition. Not only was the user interface much more intuitive and the technology of the closing platform far superior from their old settlement software, helping to greatly improve day-to-day operations and efficiency, but the people at Qualia provided follow-up, follow-through, and tremendous customer support. BCS helped to make the transition to Qualia even more seamless by helping to maintain the historical data from the previous settlement software and making that data easily accessible.
In contrast to Sentinel Law Group’s previous settlement software provider, Qualia is a truly cloud-based platform. As such, there is no need to host Qualia on in-house servers or for BCS to host Qualia in its cloud environment. Qualia’s products and data reside and are backed up with Amazon Web Services (AWS)—one of the largest and highly protected cloud hosting providers in the world. AWS clients include military, global banks, and other organizations that maintain highly sensitive information. AWS works with customers spanning every industry of every size from startups to public companies. . Millions of individuals and businesses rely on AWS to securely store their data in a cloud accessible remotely. As a result, Sylvia and her team can access Qualia with just a web browser and an internet connection, giving them the flexibility to work anywhere and on any device, in a secure way. In fact in 2020, amid the pandemic, Sylvia and her team relocated to South Carolina while continuing to conduct business exclusively in Georgia.
The firm has experienced exponential growth since switching to Qualia—processing a monthly average of 400+ closings. Qualia’s easy-to-use cloud-based platform, customizable templates, built-in automations, and effortless 1099 reporting, enabled Sentinel Law Group to increase its processing power by 30% with the same size team during this time.
“We are not spending as much time inputting every bit of information. Plus, Qualia’s documents didn’t require any magic language. We were able to pull the templates and modify them to our needs. It simply worked.”
- Sylvia K. Morrow-Nocon, Attorney & Owner, Sentinel Law Group, LLC
While efficiency was the main reason for Sentinel’s move to Qualia, the security of Qualia’s platform was an added benefit. Qualia’s digital closing platform provides best-in-class data privacy and security for all users. The Qualia platform is ISO 27001 and SOC-2 certified and built to help Qualia users stay fully ALTA Best Practices Pillar 3 compliant.
Today, Sylvia has much greater peace of mind about her organization’s IT services and title production software. Sentinel Law Group no longer has the overwhelming burden of maintaining its title production software and other applications on-premise while keeping up with evolving cyberthreats.