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The Future of Cloud Services for Law Firms

By Kulvinder Gill | Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

The use of cloud in the legal sector is finally being accepted. Looking back a few years, there was a lot of nervousness from law firms making a move to a cloud platform, especially where client and firm data is highly sensitive.

The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) 2017 Survey shows 64% of firms with 50-149 lawyers expect to increase adoption of a cloud platform. And the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) recognises that provided an effective cloud service provider is used, making the move to the cloud can provide benefits for law firm and its clients, both in terms of costs and providing better levels of encryption and security.

Let’s take a look at the three cloud deployment models, private, public and hybrid cloud.

Private Cloud

The private cloud provides the highest levels of performance, security, and resiliency. Furthermore, this model enables law firms to exercise greater control over network traffic, in terms of security, quality of service, and availability.

In most cases, that private cloud is professionally managed by a service provider solely focused on monitoring, managing, and maintaining that infrastructure to meet business requirements and compliance directives. Enabling firms to benefit from seasoned, industry-experienced professionals who live and breathe financial IT.

Public Cloud

The public cloud infrastructures offer compelling opportunities and advantages. For example, Microsoft’s Office 365 public cloud is one of the most popular public cloud options, offering users complete access to its flagship productivity applications (e.g., Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.), Microsoft Exchange, mobile device access, storage, and other services.

The flexibility and ease of deployment are persuasive drivers for law firms, and, the initial costs appear to be lower for certain feature sets (although an analysis of the total cost of ownership indicates that advantage is less clear-cut).

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud approach that combines many of the most compelling features of public and private clouds, firms can leverage a uniquely flexible platform that meets a broad range of needs.

A cloud platform is only as good as the service provider that runs it. As a law firm, your clients entrust you with highly personal and confidential information. A data breach will cost you not only financially but also your reputation. Following are five attributes to look for when vetting a cloud provider.

Depth and Quality of Staff

It is imperative that you before selecting a provider that the company offers a team with extensive expertise in studying, analysing, developing and planning complex cloud designs and roll‐outs. The team should have a proven track record of success in complex cloud migrations and implementations as well as other projects.

Strong Communication Skills

Communication is a critical aspect of cloud migration project management. The provider should be skilled in effectively bridging the information gap between your firm and other relevant parties.

A Proven Strategy

In order to leverage your firm’s cloud implementation process from planning and design, to systems integration and go‐live support, the provider should have a proven, successful formula in place. This strategy should be broken down into specific, measurable tasks so that you can clearly track the progress of your implementation or project, with predictable deadlines based on predetermined timetables.

Experience in Cloud Deployment

Does the service provider have deep experience in deploying various cloud models including private, public and hybrid? Do they have experience working with firms of all sizes, from small start-ups to large, well-established firms?

Deep Security Knowledge

Security is incredibly important. Security layers also change based on the type of cloud model (i.e. private, hybrid, public) an organisation selects. These factors make it incredibly important that a cloud consultant knows the ins and outs of the various security safeguards required to protect confidential data.

It’s only a matter of time before cloud technology in law firms reaches new heights.

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