The advantages and challenges of cloud computing for law firms

July 9th, 2019
The advantages and challenges of cloud computing for law firms

Many law firms are still wary of adopting modern technologies because they handle a lot of sensitive data and their client relationships are built almost entirely on trust. However, some law firms are now starting to discover the benefits of cloud computing.

Like any other business, law practices are faced with the choice between in-house and cloud computing. In most cases, the cloud presents the obvious solution for improving your firm’s adaptability to change, boosting operational efficiencies, and regaining control over costs. At the same time, there are widespread concerns about confidentiality, security, and ethics.

To help you assess if the cloud is for your law firm, here are the advantages and challenges of cloud computing.

Mobile working

As the workforce increasingly eschews the world of nine-till-five office work, people are becoming accustomed to working from home and on the move while using their own devices. Remote working boosts productivity and morale while greatly enhancing your ability to work with the best talent.

However, this working arrangement potentially decreases the firm’s control over its digital assets, thereby adding risk and necessitating the rollout of remote working policies. To reduce corporate liability and gain more control over your digital assets, implement a bring your own device (BYOD) policy and store case files and other sensitive data in the cloud instead of employee-owned devices.

Cost reduction

In-house IT infrastructure doesn’t just accrue high capital expenses, it’s also highly unpredictable in terms of cost. On-premises data centers, workstations, storage area networks, software solutions, and other systems all need regular maintenance and upgrades. The cost of repairs is wholly unpredictable, especially when you’re relying on a break/fix support model.

When you shift to a cloud-based infrastructure, all utilization, maintenance, and repair costs are covered by your monthly subscription fee. You also do not have to pay the high upfront investment required of on-premises systems. Although the total cost of ownership (TCO) may work out higher in the long term, it's a lot easier to budget for.

Security controls

It’s a common misconception that the cloud is inherently less secure, particularly in the case of public cloud providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. However, it’s also important to remember that these global technology leaders have access to more resources than a small firm can possibly expect to obtain in-house. Most data breaches that do occur are due to poor access controls on the part of the client.

To boost security, your law firm may opt to build a private cloud infrastructure, in which your systems run in their own environment without sharing computing resources with other clients. Look for a cloud service provider that specializes in the needs of the legal sector. It’s also imperative that you enforce the best available security measures such as multifactor authentication, virtual private networking (VPN), and round-the-clock monitoring and management by a trusted third party.

To maximize the benefits of the cloud without putting your law firm at risk, partner with Terminal B. We provide specialized technology advice and managed services to law firms across Texas. Call us today to schedule your free network assessment.

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