This could well be a question you’re asking yourself, which is what brought you to this blog post.
To help you ascertain whether this is the right decision, we investigate the key cloud benefits and discuss their pertinence within the legal sector.
So why choose cloud computing for your law practice?
Hacking and malware account for 25% of all data breaches and device loss can account for up to 41% of data breaches. And with sensitive data at the core of your business, robust security measures are a must.
Traditional IT is risk-averse in nature. Most cloud providers supply end-to-end encryption, (encrypting data during transit and at rest) alongside two-factor authentication. Did you know that 90% of passwords can be cracked within a matter of seconds?
This added layer of security ensures that data is not as accessible to malicious cyber attacks. And with the responsibility of protecting confidential client data, this is an assurance that more and more law firms are seeking.
With cloud computing, security is provided both on-site and off-site. Loss and disaster recovery measures are in place with remote recovery capabilities, and devices can be wiped remotely should lawyers lose devices whilst out on the road.
Time is money in any industry, but particularly in the legal sector. Plus, time-sensitive cases call for reliable management systems that provide a consistent connection. You need to be available, and so do your documents and files.
With the cloud, downtime is considerably reduced. Its ubiquitous nature and high availability provides law practices with advanced reliability over other platforms.
And with that, good cloud providers offer the coveted five nines reliability, (an uptime of 99.99999%) so you can be sure that the highest level of possible uptime is guaranteed.
Experts and dedicated maintenance teams are there ready to act in the case of any issues, and safety nets are always in place should your provider’s network go down. With high recovery speed and uptime almost constant, businesses can operate at maximum efficiency.
The cloud enables users to collaborate on documents in real time. Live synchronisation means that users are always working on the most up-to-date version of a document, and with features such as change tracking, comments and issues, collaboration is easier than ever. This also makes sharing and collaborating with third parties simple and secure. If your practice needs to collaborate with clients, third parties, or other members of the team, all they need is an internet connection and a web browser to access live files.
Agile and future-proof
Cloud computing is becoming the industry standard in the legal sector, with clients expecting and necessitating the use of cloud-based applications for the most secure and efficient experience.
But it also supports a changing culture - a more agile and mobile workforce.
With parents and the growing number of millennials in the workforce, both of whom favour flexible working hours over financial benefits, the cloud caters to a new culture which promotes better talent acquisition, employee retention and family-friendly working conditions.
Employees can log in remotely and work without the worry of files being out-of-date or inaccessible. In addition, it supports the bring your own device (BYOD) policy - an initiative which is now favoured by employees and employers due to its flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
By hosting your data in a cloud environment rather than your own infrastructure, operations are scalable. And pay-as-you-go subscription models allows you to only pay for what you need and use. The cloud expands to your requirements. Adding more users is simple, so it’s an extremely cost-effective solution. Often scalability is automatic, which is especially useful for growing firms.
There are some common misconceptions about the cloud, which could leave you reluctant about making the move.
But, surprisingly, many are simply myths that were born in the early days of the cloud.
Today, the evolution of the cloud has seen it become an industry standard, enabling increased security, collaboration, agility and storage.
A natural progression generally sees three key steps:
1. Move your files to cloud
Moving your files to the cloud shows a fast return on investment, because files sharing touches every department and process, making a big impact right away.
A business might then choose to move their applications to a private or public cloud. In other words ‘cloudify’ their apps.
2. Move your apps to the cloud
After moving your files, the next natural step is to move your applications to the cloud. Cloud-native applications, also known as software-as-a-service (SaaS), replace the ones you'd otherwies have to install on local servers or individual staff member's computers. Examples include Clio case management software, Sage and Microsoft Office 365. And, rather than purchasing and installing multiple copies, you pay monthly, per user.
As well as cloud-native apps, there are also virtual apps. These are traditional applications that you or someone else puts into the cloud (application virtualisaton), making them available as a service, just like a 'cloud-native' app.
3. Move your desktops to the cloud
Transitioning to cloud desktops delivers all of the benefits listed under cloud file sharing and cloud applications but with even greater returns. You simplify your entire IT estate, so you can focus your resources on your clients, people and firm. What's more, your IT service provider will run your whole tech stack for you, updaing and securing everything including back-ups, updates and support for your users.
The cloud makes everything simpler, easier, faster, and more flexible. That's why so many law firms are making the move to the cloud. Each step pays for itself in benefits, whether culturally, monetarily, or security-related.
Which type of requirement you need is based on your requirements.
If you'd like to find out more about how cloud computing can transform the way you operate your practice, read our ebook, Your law firm's journey to the cloud.
Written by Chris Coupe
Chris is a director at RunTech. Having spent six years in business development and management, he plays an invaluable role in seeking out new opportunities and driving the company forward.