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Is Cloud the big equalizer between midsize/regional and large law firms?

Clients and legislators expect midsize and regional law firms to meet the same demands and risk compliance requirements as large firms.

As a result, maintaining a competitive edge means handling these requirements as efficiently as large firms do, but with fewer resources. To close the resource gap, midsize and regional firms can leverage technology. In particular, cloud offers the benefit of technology efficiencies that large law firms can have, but at a faster pace of adoption for midsize and regional firms. If you want faster, better capabilities but have limited resources, here are six benefits that can sway your decision to invest in a cloud platform.

1. Avert onerous security audits

For the past couple of years, clients have adopted the trend of requiring security audit questionnaires from their vendors in order to ensure that their data is secure. Clients will only increase their requirements on outside counsel to pass these audits in order to ensure that outside counsel is keeping up with the stipulated contractual obligations.

It is very onerous for midsize and regional law firms to satisfy all the requirements of such security audits in order to pass them. The questionnaires are often one-size-fits-all and were developed based on the in-house capabilities of large organizations, often from other industries (e.g. financial services).

Cloud is the only option to create a win-win situation both for your firm and your clients. With cloud, the strict requirements of security audits can be satisfied by your cloud vendor, and you can guarantee to your clients’ that their data is secure without significant investing resources upfront.

2. Ensure best-in-class security for your clients’ work product

Security audits are only one of the signs pointing to the fact that security concerns have been on the rise for law firms, given the growing number of cyber attacks against them. If you’re maintaining an on-premises environment, it probably meets your processing needs. But can you ensure that your environment meets all best-in-class security requirements and that it is comprehensive to include both back door and front door defenses?

A cloud solution can offer you integrated, comprehensive security, such as security software that manages your policies for accessing client/matter information, or security that monitors your users’ behavior to flag outlier cases. This ensures that your business has real-time protection, around the clock.

3. Relax with the best in class disaster recovery solution

Also related to the security of your work product and data is disaster recovery. It is expensive to purchase and maintain the best disaster recovery solution available on your own. As part of your subscription service, cloud vendors can provide disaster recovery services better than what you could do internally. Also, in a disaster situation – they can recover your data much faster. This translates into valuable billable hours for your business and peace of mind for your clients.

4. Skip investments into datacenters, infrastructure and technology management

A natural consequence of investing in a cloud solution is that, by sharing infrastructure through a platform, you lower your capital costs. If you’re still using on-premise or remote servers, you depend on infrastructure that needs significant investments periodically, including costs for maintenance. Also, besides these immediate costs, there are other limitations such as the inability to synchronize data across multiple endpoints, or a lack of storage space. Maybe your business has managed so far, but what if you are (or anticipate to be) in expansion mode and you need to scale? The cloud is your answer because it offers scalability, ease of interaction and predictability, all at a foreseeable cost.

5. Tap into the best technology talent without hiring it

If you’re a midsize or regional firm, you have to compete in the market for specialized technology talent, especially when it comes to engineering or security talent. Demand is very high for such talent, which is expensive and difficult to attract, especially if you are in a geographic market that does not have such talent available. With a cloud platform, you can indirectly have access to the best technology talent available. With a cloud vendor, you do not have to worry about staffing issues and you can focus your resources on your business.

6. Stay on top of the latest updates and bug fixes effortlessly

On premises, updates to software can be extremely time-consuming for your IT personnel. Especially for midsize and regional law firms, the ability of the cloud to automatically update your software, operating systems and other vital applications means your entire business can run faster and more efficiently. With a cloud solution, your IT team no longer needs to worry about keeping an eye on the latest software features and on the continuous necessary patches. Your cloud vendor can deploy new features and bug fixes, while your users can keep working and will not experience any desktop disruption.

7. Offer your users modern, mobile and flexible work conditions

Cloud enables your lean staff to work efficiently and make the best use of their time. A cloud platform, can offer your users an intuitive user experience to access documents from any device (phone, tablet, desktop), in any location.

In addition, a platform solution means that your users can benefit from cloud products that are integrated with each other for a seamless experience, as well as with Microsoft products, which is what most users employ to create their documents in the first place. In short, with cloud you can get your work done on the road and focus your prime time on building relationships with your customers.

In conclusion, the cloud offers many benefits to your firm that can greatly contribute to your smooth, effective operations and consequently, to your competitive edge. When it comes to migrating your operations to the cloud, you can use your IT resources for higher-value projects, while forsaking hardware and other technology costs and outsourcing security to benefit from best-in-class features, all to achieve and maintain a low total cost of ownership.

About the author

Dan Rimland