It comes as no surprise that law firms who harness technology (particularly the cloud) to enhance their service offering boast a competitive advantage over those who don't. By using the cloud, lawyers can better collaborate and communicate with clients, co-counsel, and staff and most importantly make better use of their time and limited resources.
Yet despite the known benefits, much inertia still exists among law firms when considering cloud-based legal technology. Plagued with questions such as where is my data stored, who can access it and what are the risks?
But the truth is when your core business is providing legal services and not IT, entrusting your data security to a third-party provider with expertise in this area is already a step in the right direction. Law Technology Today concurs that specialised cloud providers have more sophisticated protocols in place than most law firms when it comes to back up, data encryption, intrusion detection, virus protection, physical security of servers, and disaster protection.
That being said, not all providers are alike, so it pays to ask some key questions before choosing a cloud-based practice management solution for your firm.
Legal technology security checklistWe’ve done some of the groundwork and identified what to look out for in terms of physical security, data security and backup. For the full detailed version, download our whitepaper.
- Ask where the servers are physically stored and if there are around the clock security systems in place
- Is the data centre compliant with data privacy regulations and does it meet the highest security standards? (ISAE 3470, ISO/IEC 27001, SAS 70 Type II)
- You want to make sure your data is isolated and protected from viruses with data transfers encrypted and monitored by an independent third party
- Is data protected from unauthorised access and can you control user permissions and access levels internally?
- Check how often data backups occur (i.e. daily) and how available the data is
- Is data “mirrored” on another server and is there a “safe mode” to access the most recent version of your data?
So now that you’ve got security sorted, what other benefits can you make use of with cloud-based practice management software? In a previous post, we covered 6 ways cloud-based practice management software can transform your law firm in terms of document management, collaboration and time management. And by being able to easily generate insightful reports about your business, the advantages are even more wide-reaching than first perceived.
On-premise servers on the other hand often don't have these features and rely on manual security maintenance which needs additional resources in order to be fully secure. They also leave you vulnerable if the data isn't mirrored elsewhere in real-time and working effectively on the go is a real challenge. And beware of commercial-grade clouds such as Dropbox and OneDrive, as they simply aren't designed for law firms for a myriad of reasons surrounding capacity and security.