Cloud Services for Law Firms
If you’re not familiar with the term, the cloud refers to software and services that run on the internet, instead of being installed locally on your computers or servers. Software companies have been shifting to cloud computing in recent years because it simplifies everything for them and for their users.
In the past, you would have to guess just how big a server your law firm will need 5 years from now. That planning takes time and ends in a big capital investment that you’re hoping the law firm grows into but you’re not quite sure if it’ll happen.
With cloud services, you only pay for the number of users they have now and they all have the same great experience. If you grow in the future you can simply add more users and pay for those as you need them, not 5 years in advance. This provides a more flexible way for law firms to grow that doesn’t require tying money up in large capital investments.
When you have the physical equipment that non-cloud software requires like a large server, the responsibility is on you to secure it, insure it, and back it up. This opens you and your law firm up to unnecessary risks. What if something happens and your equipment gets damaged? What if someone forgets to update the firmware and an attacker hacks into your server and installs ransomware? These are all things that you don’t have to worry about when you use cloud computing.
Securing, insuring, and backing up your physical equipment requires someone to take time away from their billable work to work on these tasks that don’t help you increase billable hours or improve your practice. In the past, IT has required a lot of non-productive tasks from law firms and many of these disappear when you move to cloud services. Why would you continue doing these tasks when there is a better, more effective way that allows you to get back to working with your clients?
With cloud services for law firms, you don’t have to wonder if you have the latest and greatest version that is up to date and secure. The software company does that for you so you don’t have to do company-wide updates any longer. That provides confidence in your system and it gives you your time back.
Real Cloud vs Fake Cloud
All SaaS (Software As A Service) is cloud computing, but not all cloud computing is SaaS. I know, it sounds a bit confusing but stick with me.
Some software providers recognized an opportunity to make more money and decided to “cloud-wash” their software by calling it a “cloud” service when it really isn’t. Essentially what these fake cloud providers do is the same thing you do in your office. They run their so-called cloud software on a server in their office but they sell it to you as a “cloud service” or SaaS.
The problem with fake cloud services is that they don’t solve the problems we aim to solve by moving clients to the cloud. Clients still experience delayed and painful product upgrades, unstable integrations and customizations, too much downtime, and inadequate security and support. A real cloud solution will not give you any of these headaches. Instead, it’ll make running your law firm easier and more efficient.
How Cloud Services & Cloud Computing Improves Productivity in Law Firms
One of the biggest issues with older non-cloud services is that you can’t access them from anywhere. If you wanted to access your law firm’s non-cloud case management software from home you’d have to set up a VPN to connect you to the office and then run a remote desktop session. That slow, clunky process can be a drain on productivity.
If you’re in court and you need a document you can simply log into the system on your laptop or via the mobile app instead of worrying about downloading everything you might need before you leave the office. Mobile and remote access really sets cloud services apart and makes it so much easier for law firms to practice law.
As you know, lawyers often work at night or on the weekend at home so they need access from anywhere to do their work. Cloud computing makes it easy for any employee to access what they need from anywhere. That helps increase productivity and decrease the amount of time lawyers spend fiddling around with systems that just don’t work the way that cloud systems do.
Hesitation From Law Firms
Some law firms are hesitant to move to cloud services due to concerns over privacy and security and that is completely understandable. Of course, your law firm needs to protect client confidentiality, and sensitive and highly regulated data, such as medical, employment, immigration, or financial records. Many law firms assume that moving to cloud computing will create security problems but the opposite is actually true.
When you look at the history of major data breaches and successful attacks over the past five years, nearly all of them have solely affected law firms maintaining their own data. In many cases, these law firms failed to keep their systems up to date or they didn’t set up adequate security measures like requiring strong passwords and educating users about phishing.
The truth is that your data is much more vulnerable when you’re managing it yourself. There is more room for error and you simply don’t have the security resources that a cloud company has to protect your data. Unpatched vulnerabilities account for 60% of data breaches, according to the Ponemon Institute and this isn’t a threat you have to face when you have a cloud-based system.
The reason why lawyers are wary of cloud computing is that it’s new to them but it is becoming the standard in legal technology. Don’t let the fear of something new prevent you from taking steps to better secure your data and improve productivity in your firm. Cloud computing for law firms is more secure with a lower cost of entry and robust data backup.
Are you ready to move your law firm to the cloud? Click here to book a free “Fast Track Your Law Firm’s Tech to the Future” Starter Session.