And when it comes to deploying cloud solutions in legal firms, the naysayers are slowing down the industry’s entry into a new world of managing information, collaborating with stakeholders and streamlining processes. With all the potential benefits at stake, the cheerleaders need to cheer louder.
The migration to cloud computing is in full swing. Gartner predicts the fastest-growing market segment this year will be cloud system infrastructure services. Second will be cloud application infrastructure services. In fact, Gartner claims that the increasing adoption of cloud-first strategies will have an effect on nearly every vendor and service provider in business today. The legal profession, though it may have lagged in adopting the latest automation tools, will not prove the exception. This is especially true as law offices continue to undergo a transformation toward a more client-based business model.
In fact, automation has provided countless advantages in the law office. It can help lawyers be more effective at their job by taking over many of the rote tasks that they used to perform. Take document review, for example. What is usually an expensive, time-consuming process can now be handled almost entirely by automation. But what argument can lawyers make for moving to a cloud-based system? Isn’t automation with on-premises technology completely adequate?
CLOUD-BASED TECHNOLOGY: TAKING AUTOMATION TO THE NEXT LEVEL
In recent surveys, more than 30% of organizations polled said that cloud investments were among their top three priorities. The reasons vary, but the top-ranking benefits of cloud computing are as follows:
- Security: Storing data off-site strikes fear into some, but the fact is that data is safer in the cloud. Cloud providers make it their business to monitor and maintain data security and integrity. It would be hard to imagine that a law office could, even if they wanted to, maintain a security staff dedicated to keeping their in-house data safe and do a better job than today’s cloud providers.
- Flexibility: Cloud technology is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Instead of making investments in new tools and associated hardware, lawyers can take advantage of Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, select platform and infrastructure options, and create a customized system that fits their firm’s needs — and that will scale easily.
- Accessibility: Instead of filing cabinets full of documents, data stored in the cloud is immediately accessible. Data can be searched, filtered, printed — but never lost or misplaced.
- Connectivity: With cloud connectivity, data can be made available anywhere in the world and on any connected device: smartphone, tablet, laptop and so on. In addition, employees can become much more mobile, which often translates into greater efficiency and overall convenience.
- Collaboration: Boardrooms and offices can be replaced with virtual meeting rooms. Documents can be shared, information exchanged and conferences held regardless of location.
- Data storage: The sheer amount of data that a firm collects needs to be stored somewhere, and there’s no size limit in the cloud. All the firm’s data can be securely stored in a central location.
MAKING THE MOVE TO CLOUD COMPUTING
Cloud computing isn’t the wave of the future; it’s here today. The world is plugging into the cloud, and law offices that remain tied to their on-premises technology might find themselves left behind or out of business. Like all companies, law firms work with information — gathering it, processing it, accessing it and distributing it.
Information is the lifeblood of a firm, and how that information is handled makes all the difference. Cloud computing is easier, safer, faster and more efficient. And maybe best of all, it lets lawyers focus on the reason they became lawyers to begin with: the people, not the paperwork. Firms that don’t ride today’s wave of cloud technology will be left in the dust.