Law firms are notoriously slow to adapt to new technology. In a way, that is logical. Sensitive information combined with heavy industry and government regulations make it crucial that any move be planned thoroughly and any technology be completely vetted. You may find yourself asking, “Should I get our law practice into the cloud?”
Indeed, with the ever-increasing evolution of technology, law firms that remain stagnant are falling farther and farther behind. The benefits of moving your law practice into the cloud are compelling.
What Is the Cloud?
While the term “cloud” has been bandied about for several decades at this point, it is often misunderstood. What is the cloud? Really, this is just a term that means data stored in an off-site server. However, there are numerous additional permutations – private clouds and public clouds and hybrid clouds, for instance.
What Are the Benefits of Moving Your Law Practice into the Cloud?
Cloud technology offers a broad range of benefits to law firms. One of the most significant is the anytime, anywhere access granted. All that is required is an Internet-connected device, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC.
However, there are numerous other advantages, including:
- Reduced need for in-house computing resources, which reduces overhead, maintenance, and HVAC requirements;
- Improved access to crucial information, including on-demand access while on the go;
- Improved digital security over what many solo practices and law firms can provide in-house;
- The elimination of software maintenance and management needs;
- The reduction of in-house IT needs;
- Predictable monthly expenses that simplify financial planning for law offices;
- Access to SaaS solutions that offer scalability and affordability.
What Is SaaS?
Another term that goes hand in hand with the cloud is SaaS, or “Software as a Service”. Essentially, this is a software solution that is delivered, not as a product, but as a service. It is generally hosted on an off-site server (often Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure), and available to customers for a subscription rate, rather than an outright purchase price.
Microsoft Office 365 is a good example of a wide-spread SaaS product.
How to Choose a Cloud Vendor for Your Law Practice
While there are numerous benefits to getting your law practice into the cloud, there are also some concerns. Not all cloud providers are created equal, nor are all cloud platforms as secure as they should be. This is reflected in some of the concerns of attorneys when it comes to adopting cloud technology, including:
- Concerns about confidentiality of information
- Concerns about control over their data
- Concerns about control over software/system updates
- Concerns about vendor longevity
For attorneys, choosing the right cloud vendor is critical to address those concerns. While there are numerous cloud providers on the market that offer file sharing and similar services, it is important to understand that these are not focused specifically on the legal industry, where confidentiality and compliance with legal industry rules and regulations is imperative.
If you are asking yourself, “Should I get our law practice into the cloud?”, the best answer is to consult with a provider focused specifically on the legal industry that can educate you on products purpose-built for law firms.