5 Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Cloud Provider



As flexibility and adaptability become increasingly in demand in the workforce— especially in legal— shifting to the cloud is now an expectation.

Thanks to enhancements to security and operability, today, legal departments and law firms alike can be confident in trusting the cloud to store their data. While many organizations have decided that the cloud is the way to go, not all cloud providers offer the same rigorous standards and results.

If you’re looking to make the leap into the cloud, here are five criteria to evaluate when selecting a cloud partner.

1.    Availability

The workplace is a 24/7 ecosystem, and your data has to maintain the same pace. Cloud solutions offer law firms and legal departments the same agility and nimble availability as tech organizations.  A modern cloud solution must provide a continuous service delivery model that enables continuity in the user experience while eradicating any downtime, especially during critical business ventures and deals. With iManage Cloud, for example, we have 99.99% uptime across zones with our 7 data centers, and comprehensive monitoring. To make this happen, maintenance and upgrades should be run minimally in the background, which savvy and capable cloud providers can offer. So, no matter the circumstance— little to no bandwidth, connected or disconnected— your team can benefit by having the ability to access critical work product.

2.    Performance

In business, and especially in the legal arena, deals can happen anywhere and everywhere. For that reason, your SaaS services have to perform at optimal level, each and every time. Unresponsive and slow applications just won’t cut it. Performance is one of the most important drivers affective user experience and adoption. Identify a competitive, elastic cloud that ensures consistent performance across multiple geographies. An elastic cloud is built in a way that ensures it can handle unpredictable spikes in user activity, without showing signs of wear. The system needs to have the capability to expand as needed, without human intervention.

3.    Security

At a time where hackers and bad actors are growing more sophisticated, it’s imperative that cloud providers are able to adapt to a constantly changing threat landscape. When vetting cloud providers, a Zero Trust architecture is an absolute must.

The premise of Zero Trust is based on the assumption that you cannot prevent bad actors from infiltrating your network, your systems, and your users.  So, the controls as prescribed by a Zero Trust architecture are built around this assumption.  Zero Trust is designed to prevent exfiltration by a single individual or comprised component.

There are many dimensions to consider in the implementation of a comprehensive Zero Trust strategy which must be considered when designing a cloud architecture.  In other words, Zero Trust must be native to the architecture and cannot be retrofitted.  This is further exemplified in the amount of automation required to eliminate all implicit trust in the architecture.

Beware of vendors with dated cloud architectures that claim Zero Trust. They are likely referring to a specific control or component. iManage Cloud was built from day one with Zero Trust architecture and maintains nine security certifications and is trusted by the nation’s leading law, accounting, and banking firms.

4.    Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Organizations now are especially mindful of their tech spend and rightfully so. As a result, reducing the TCO for software is a major factor for companies looking to move to the cloud. There are multiple ways to achieve cost efficiency, but the details are important.  Solutions that require multiple vendors for core services such as OCR, Knowledge Management, etc., may appear to be cost-effective but fail in other instances (e.g. security, maintenance). Instead, given the cost and time needed to certify cloud vendors and the complexity of multi-vendor integrations, the best, most cost-effective option is selecting a cloud platform that offers multiple applications. A single vendor offering a cloud platform reduces third-party security risks, integration headaches, and the associated (and very real) reputational risk for your organization.

5.    Migration and Support

One of the most critical junctures in shifting to the cloud is the migration and support. In order to be on the cloud, you have to migrate your data. A trusted cloud provider should not only provide this service but as add an additional layer of support during this transition. With iManage Cloud, migration and support are top priorities. New clients begin their cloud journey by starting in the onboarding phase. There, they are introduced to iManage Cloud’s Help Center. Starting with the Onboarding Welcome Package, users can access cloud training certification, an assortment of resources, and create a migration plan that best suits their needs. In addition, iManage offers 24×7 support.

As you evaluate potential cloud partners, be sure to understand their attention to detail regarding migration and support. Most importantly, ensure you understand the costs around these features as it may be an additional expense with some vendors. Make sure you choose a cloud partner that is transparent in the pricing and in support.

There has never been a more strategic time to move to the cloud. Law firms and legal departments can reap the benefits of a robust data management solution that easily provides access to their documents while remaining secure at the same time. When seeking out a cloud provider, keep these 5 evaluation tactics at the front of mind to ensure you’re teaming up with a vendor that adds value to your organization.


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