For the vast majority of law firms, the issue of security might be the final barrier preventing a complete migration to the cloud. A recent study shows that 54% of high level IT managers report that their companies lack a proactive methodology for dealing with security issues, and issues of data protection regulation in the cloud.
As the legal profession undergoes its digital makeover, many questions arise as to how to deal with delicate client data without compromising their privacy – an issue that is especially sensitive when it comes to cloud computing. Legal firms may be particularly hesitant about full cloud adoption because of this, and even though many have plans to move in that direction in the near future, there are lingering questions and doubts that still remain.
The availability of your firm’s IT is crucial, due to the transactional nature of the services offered. Firms must protect themselves against every possible threat, from power surges, to ransomware attacks or other malicious threats. What was at one time considered suspect is now a viable approach to preventing loss and downtime. Moving to the cloud can boost operational efficiency, shore up your security defenses, and ensure your business continuity.
Here are just some of the ways that cloud computing can help your firm:
Your Security is Better in the Cloud
Two of the main reasons law firms are migrating to the cloud are for cloud hosting, and for disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS). This is indicative of the greater need for reliable, more secure and more affordable IT, especially in light of recent and evolving threats. Despite this, a blanket of doubt is still a big concern. In reality, the public cloud offers much more robust security options that any firm could hope to manage with their own internal on-site IT architecture. Cloud storage is a viable security strategy that can protect against both natural and man-made disasters.
What to expect from your cloud provider
As you explore your options for cloud services, be sure to check out the security measures each provider offers. They should be able to meet the best practices standards of the international community as it pertains to encryption, enterprise security, vulnerability scans and detection of any possible intrusions.
You may also need to take data sovereignty into account, as well as any other country’s data privacy regulations (there is a new legislation going into effect in 2018 that will impact any entity who holds information on citizens of the EU). Some countries do not permit certain classes of data to be stored outside of their country. For these reasons, your firm will need to establish exactly where the cloud provider is located, and what strategies it provides to protect its stored data.
Strategies for Business Continuity
By implementing a DRaaS strategy, disaster recovery is easily achievable in the legal realm. Your data and applications are housed in secure, remote locations to minimize the impact of localized disasters. The data is encrypted and stored in the cloud for added protection. All of your data and applications, entire datacenters, in fact, can be restored in a short period of time.
Many industry leaders initiate disaster recovery testing from time to time to ensure their business continuity should anything happen. One example of a firm who has successfully employed a hybrid cloud solution is Graubard Miller, a New York based firm who leverages a hybrid platform to protect their entire infrastructure, both physical and virtual. Their strategy includes two-factor authentication, role-based access, and regular compliance reporting that streamlines the audit process, and offers an effectual substitute for conventional on-site IT infrastructure.
Reduce your Investment in Hardware that Loses its Value
Firms can realize significant savings by eliminating the need for physical on-site servers. This reduces or eliminates the cost of purchasing and maintaining hardware. Most cloud providers will charge you only for the resources you use, which will improve your ability to predict cash flow, and freeing up your IT staff to work on other things.
Reduce Costs and Stress Levels for On-site IT
Your cloud support provider provides 24/7 support and monitoring. This includes instant response to threats – which are often fixed before they become an issue – and constant server maintenance, which is always helpful if the need to scale up or down is imminent. This translates to greatly reduced or eliminated downtime, and takes a lot of worry away from your in-house IT team.
Allows for Greater Productivity and Work-Life Balance
Hosting your data and applications in the cloud allows your attorneys and staff to work from anywhere, which has the upshot of increased productivity, improved collaboration, and happier staff overall. Most cloud providers offer the ability to access and manage your data via mobile apps, giving end users secure and easy access to what they need, when they need it.
The Cloud Helps You to Stay Competitive
To remain competitive, law firms need to evolve. This means they must upgrade their technology to meet current standards, as well as employee and client expectations. Cloud computing expands your service offerings, too, providing the ability to do international business, and ensure the safeguarding of your clients’ data.
In another scenario, consider that most lawyers access critical documents from their mobile devices, as it saves time and money for all parties. Embracing the cloud means you are working smarter, and it also ensures that your systems are always available when you need them most.
The decision to migrate your systems to the cloud may be the smartest thing that you can do, providing the highest level of security, ensured availability and business continuity, and significant cost reductions, not to mention better opportunity for attorney-client collaboration. All in all, the migration can only have a positive effect on your operations as a whole, supporting your continued success.