For law firm IT professionals, moving to cloud-based software solutions—instead of using on-premise software—is a strategic move. Why? The cloud frees up your time (and your staff’s time). Instead of spending time troubleshooting virtual private network (VPN) issues, you can tackle your firm’s greater informational technology needs.
Without a doubt, in the last year, many businesses moved to the cloud due to the pandemic. However, according to ABA TechReport 2020, cloud usage for law firms mostly remained the same at 59% compared to the year before.
The benefits for law firm IT professionals to move their firms to the cloud are far-reaching. Some benefits of moving to the cloud include stronger security, increased flexibility for remote work, and more scalability. Not to mention, law firm clients will also enjoy a better client-centered experience. Law firm IT professionals have the perfect role in spearheading this change to help their firms grow and become more efficient.
Here are nine things law firm IT professionals can expect when moving firms to the cloud:
1. Stronger security
Legal cloud computing has come a long way. Many legal professionals have realized the cloud is more secure than on-premise software for many law firms.
Thanks to economies of scale, cloud computing vendors can invest aggressively in industry-leading security infrastructure. Cloud computing vendors’ security infrastructure tends to far exceed the quality standards of on-premise servers’. For example, Clio spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on security, penetration testing, a dedicated security team, and much more to make sure all client data is secure.
Consider this quote from Jay Heiser, research vice president at Gartner, from a Gartner article on cloud security:
CIOs need to ensure their security teams are not holding back cloud initiatives with unsubstantiated cloud security worries … Exaggerated fears can result in lost opportunity and inappropriate spending.
In other words, embracing the cloud will keep your law firm on the leading edge of tech. It will also help lighten the law-firm-data-security load (especially in light of changing regulations such as the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation).
Learn more about Clio’s industry-leading security.
2. More flexibility for remote work
For many lawyers, remote work is no longer a nice-to-have but rather a necessity. Remote work can also work better for lawyers with families, pets, and other commitments. The pandemic proves remote work is not an implausible idea but a highly beneficial work arrangement. On-premise legal software limits lawyers in many ways—from VPN to security challenges.
In comparison, cloud-based legal technology like Clio lets lawyers work securely from anywhere with a strong internet connection. Lawyers can access and work on cases and documents, communicate with clients, and more remotely with cloud-based software. Thanks to cloud-based legal software, lawyers have the flexibility to work from wherever works for them.
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3. Offer a better client-centered experience
Consumers are already used to enjoying online services for many other aspects of their lives. In fact, today’s consumers expect a digital experience from even their lawyers. The 2020 Legal Trends Report found that firms using online client portals received 11% more casework than other firms in 2019. Also, in 2020, firms using online client portals received 17% more new casework per lawyer in April. These statistics show that lawyers have much to benefit from offering their clients an online, client-centered experience.
4. Simplified software updates
Whether there are five or 5,000 computers at your law firm’s office, making sure everyone’s software is up to date and working properly can be a pain. If you’re still using an on-premise solution, you know what it’s like to block out large chunks of time for you and your team to tediously update the latest version of the software. You may even need to pay your provider for these upgrades as well!
With cloud computing, providers consistently implement software updates to improve performance and functionality continuously. All of this happens automatically and without any additional cost or time to your firm.
5. No more VPN struggles
Having the option to work remotely is now table stakes for all industries, including law firms. According to the ABA Journal, 26 out of 28 of law firms surveyed by Diversity & Flexibility Alliance offered a formal flex work policy.
That’s a pretty large percentage of firms, and we’re betting your firm either has an official policy or an ad hoc system that allows associates and other staff to work from home. All of this to say, when your practice management software is on-premise, you need virtual private networks (VPNs) to access essential interfaces and documents.
This isn’t the case for cloud-based solutions. With Clio, for example, lawyers and staff can securely access files and collaborate on cases from anywhere—no VPN required. There’s even a mobile app, allowing lawyers to check in on key details remotely from the palms of their hands.
6. Improved compatibility with other software
As a law firm IT professional, you’re tasked with navigating complex tech stacks to keep your firm up and running, keeping both core platforms and complementary software securely ticking along. With on-premise software, the process of integrating additional software solutions can be time-consuming and costly—if possible at all.
However, leading cloud-based software providers build software that makes this process easy. Allowing you to connect to other tools you already use, start working with new ones to build a more tailored tech stack, or even build solutions of your own. Clio connects with an extensive portfolio of apps and services, including Microsoft Office 365, QuickBooks Online, Fastcase, and more, and also provides an open API.
7. Better support = fewer IT requests
Feeling stuck spending too much of your day on minor IT requests? There are probably a million other things you can do with your time. Switching to cloud-based software means you’ll get that time back. Top-tier cloud-based practice management companies provide stellar support to everyone who’s using the software, not just law firm IT professionals. With a robust knowledge center, live chat, and phone support, basic tech questions don’t need to go through your team.
8. More room in your IT budget
The cost of on-premise servers alone can make up a major chunk of your IT budget, not to mention the costs of storing, maintaining, and running these servers. But unlike on-premise software systems, cloud-based solutions don’t require you to buy and maintain servers at all, putting more money back in your budget.
9. Simpler scalability
As an IT professional, your role is critical to your firm’s ability to grow. With on-premise solutions, that means budgeting for additional servers, setting up tech in new offices, onboarding new team members, training them on software usage and security policies, and much more.
With cloud-based software, this process is greatly simplified: Cloud-based software providers often operate on a subscription model. This means that onboarding a new staff member is as easy as adding a new subscriber to the program—without worrying about additional servers for growing offices or new locations.
If you’re a law firm IT professional, the cloud can be a boon for both your law firm and your career: Secure cloud-based solutions simplify your day-to-day, giving you more time to focus on projects you care about, and on projects that can truly make a difference for the success of your firm.
We published this blog post in September 2018. Last updated: .
Categorized in: Technology
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