Cloud technology is a network of hosted resources that are accessible through the internet. Cloud…
What is the cloud technology?
It is essentially a network of hosted resources that you can access through the internet. Cloud-based software runs directly from company servers, which you can access through a web browser or dedicated app. Dropbox, Facebook, Evernote, Gmail, or Amazon, are some of the everyday examples of cloud-based technology.
At the base of any successful law firm is a comprehensive practice management system that offers the ability to manage all cases, time tracking, billing, and more in one central location—bringing together every aspect of the legal firm, so that everyone from the firm can coordinate resources and collaborate for better efficiency, productivity and business growth.
However, the biggest and an important development in legal practice management technology in recent years, has been the shift from on-premise, server-based software, to hosted cloud services. As firms shift to cloud-based software, they’re able to take advantage of seamless remote access, greater time savings, better security, 99.9% uptime guarantees, and significant long-term cost savings.
The problem with on-premise, server-based solutions
Many firms still run practice management software from internal servers. While firms may prefer the idea of having information stored in-office, there are a number of inherent problems:
- Cost and space requirements – Servers require significant investment to install and maintain. They also require dedicated space, which poses threat in the interest of data security and confidentiality, and needs to be actively secured and monitored.
- Setup and maintenance – Running and maintenance of servers requires that you need to have someone who knows how to set them up and keep them running, or otherwise, requires and an external consultant is alternatively required to do this for you.
- Server issues – Dealing with server issues typically requires dedicated IT staff, who may have varying levels of availability and responsiveness. Without the proper support, firms can lose access to all their resources for days, resulting in the loss of billable time. In the event of a damaged server, your firm data could be lost forever.
- Performance and security- Legal software is built on outmoded technology, making it burdensome and slow for users. Software updates are also costly and may leave gaps for performance issues and security threats.
- Limited access – Firms may have remote access through a virtual private network (VPN), but these are full of barriers, costly, and difficult to use.
Hence, most lawyers already use the cloud as part of other internet-related services. Dropbox, Gmail, Evernote, Facebook, and your Amazon.com Wish Lists all run on cloud technology. These services are ubiquitous for good reason – They make it extremely easy to access and share information, and they offer seamless user experiences—without having to install or update any software on local systems.
Legal-specific software in the cloud
The importance of legal-specific software for law firms, however, can’t be understated. Legal industry rules and regulations are specific to safeguard client information and managing funds held in trust. Using software that has been developed in close consultation with industry regulators is the only way to ensure ongoing compliance. Legal-specific software also offers the benefit of unique features designed for law firms, such as automated court calendaring and the ability to manage trust ledgers separately from operating funds. As legal-specific software platforms shift to the cloud, the benefits offer many key advantages. Firms that manage their practices in the cloud benefit from:
- Increased access to information
- Better collaboration
- Streamlined workflows that improve efficiency and productivity
- More secure, more reliable office information infrastructure
- Fewer barriers to access and maintain
Work More Securely in Cloud
Law firms deal regularly with potentially sensitive information every day. Many firms, however, don’t take steps to keep up with the security precautions required in today’s digital environment.
For most firms, it’s no longer a question of whether or not to move to the cloud, but of how many systems will make the migration. Still, the larger the practice, the more complex the decision will be.
Many midsize or large firms may end up adopting a hybrid approach, using some public cloud services while maintaining sensitive data or mission-critical apps on-premises. By moving all or some of their infrastructure to the cloud, law firms can avoid costly capital expenditures, gain faster access to technology resources and have greater flexibility to respond to changing technology needs. That’s a winning argument in any court.