IT security is one of the biggest challenges that we face, every day. Even when you feel like you’ve got a handle on it, a new threat, or something that has evolved from an old one will come back to bite you. Managing IT security is probably the number one concern for most law firms, followed closely by managing email, governing information, compliance, and risk management. Closer to the bottom, but no less important, are bring-your-own-device (BYOD) issues, security risks related to cloud computing, and change management.
No matter what the concern, there are ways to avoid disaster. But we must remain diligent at all costs: what we skimp on now may give you an ulcer later on, especially if your network, or your client’s confidential data is compromised in any way.
Continuing from our first article, “Technology Mistakes Every Lawyer Makes Part I,” here are yet more simple oversights we tend to make:
Using a Proprietary Data Storage System
This is more common than you think: and since many firms are now upgrading to new-gen software and technology devices, it’s likely that if you have been using a proprietary system in the past, that you will have to start from scratch, re-entering or uploading data that can’t be automatically transferred. Big waste of time and money. Use something ubiquitous, something that is designed to scale, and you won’t have any issues. This includes investing in physical server arrays, as this model is practically extinct already.
Not Training Your Staff & Partners
Ignoring the need to train your staff just to save a few bucks can come back to bite you in the end. If a lawyer, or an employee, doesn’t know how something works, they will be resistant to using it, which makes your investment worthless. Much money is wasted on technology purchases that are supposed to make your life easier, but if nobody knows how to use it, you might as well have saved yourself the trouble. Take the time to make sure your staff knows how these solutions work, what they do, and how they are going to make their life easier.
Dealing With Your Own I.T. Issues
Some lawyers run from technology, while others embrace it. Either way, you’re going to need some help at some point. No matter how tech-savvy you are – do yourself a favor and don’t do it yourself: make sure you choose a technology partner or managed services provider who works with law firms, and is able to understand your unique needs and concerns. Having the right IT tools, and the right IT team on your side, you should be able to get what you need done in a way that makes sense to you and the way you do business.
Opting For ‘Economical’ Solutions That Don’t Completely Do the Job
The best solution is not always the cheapest. That said, the most expensive one is not always what you should be going for, either. Take the time to understand what you are investing in, and whether it’s going to do what you need it to do, if it can grow and scale along with you, and if it can handle the specific needs of the legal industry. A good billing system that is designed specifically for lawyers will be much more intuitive in accommodating issues that are specific to a law firm.
Not Taking Your Whole Firm Into Account
It’s hard to accommodate the needs of everybody – attorneys, clients, and other staff – but it is possible to choose technology tools that everybody can agree on. That means that one person should not be making the decisions on new technology and software purchases. Work closely with experts or consultants who can give you some options to consider, and make sure you know what your staff’s concerns might be before you buy. A consultant who has experience working with other law firms is often the best place to start; they will be able to give you some options, and explain the pros and cons so you won’t be in for any surprises.
Education is most certainly key. By making a point of training your staff and partners, and keeping them apprised of the potential risks involved, you can effectively stave off many rather unfortunate IT disasters.