A law firm can benefit from cloud computing like any other industry, but the benefits it gets are more pronounced due to the fact that manpower in a law firm is significantly more expensive due to the specialized knowledge and skillsets the company needs, so the more manpower they free up due to the automation and virtualization benefits of the cloud means the more manpower they can focus on areas of the business that are mission critical and profitable. There are also a number of reasons why law firms benefit greatly from the cloud:
Security is vital in any law firm, as they deal mostly with sensitive and confidential information, so it is crucial to the business that their documents don’t fall into the wrong hands or aren’t compromised by people without authorization. Normally, a law firm will resort to manual and outmoded means of security. Firms that have kept up with the times tend to use data encryption and safeguarding software, which can be very expensive.
The costs associated with safeguarding of data (such as various data encryption methods like Open ID, Token Authentication and Two Factor authentication) become negligible when moving to the cloud as all cloud computing service providers already handle data safeguarding for you. Aside from the reduction in costs associated with the procurement of data safeguarding tools and software, you also reduce the need for people whose only job is to operate and maintain said tools and software.
One of the greatest advantages of cloud computing is increased mobility. It removes location as a factor in the work process, as employees will be able to access their documents and files anywhere they are, which means more and more staff and employees will be given the chance to work and be productive while out on the field, without the need for expensive and heavy equipment. In fact, the employees usually already have the necessary devices to start working on the field via the cloud, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers.
Improves Communication and Flexibility
Since cloud computing allows data to be accessed from anywhere in real time, it allows lawyers and staff to work with each other from across the globe using the private cloud, greatly reducing the need for inefficient means of communication. No more missed messages due to unchecked answering machines, no more priority mail, and no more dangerous unencrypted emails that can be accessed by hackers. All communication can be done securely and in real time via a private cloud portal customized for the firm.
Reduction of Operating Costs
As mentioned above, moving to the cloud takes away the need to buy a lot of third party security software as cloud service providers already have support for them free of charge. But there’s also savings to be had in other aspects of the business. For instance, there’s no longer any need to buy datacenters and servers that will house your documents and data, and there’s no longer any need to hire teams of people whose job will be to maintain said servers and their data, and don’t forget that you’ll save on the maintenance, upkeep, and operating costs of the servers. Think of all the office space and electricity you’ll save if the office’s data is moved to the cloud.
Cloud computing basically streamlines the operations, and allows law firms to focus more on the profitable parts of the business, as it moves all the important yet unrelated tasks to the care of cloud service providers and automation, all at the fraction of the cost it would otherwise take when done conventionally.
Cloud Applications for Legal Professionals
The number of cloud applications targeted towards legal professionals is steadily increasing. Nowadays managers of legal practices are given the chance to choose from a wide variety of solutions in the form of SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (platform as a Service), but in spite of the headways cloud computing has made into the legal world, a lot of professionals still fail to grasp the full capabilities of the tools, along with the benefits and drawbacks they carry.
The applications of the cloud with regard to legal professionals are similar to the applications in just about any industry, mostly related to the streamlining and optimization of various work processes such as management, billing, contact and reporting, and other operational tasks. There is also the fact that it can pool and consolidate data, so that legal professionals don’t have to worry about mismatched info, miscommunication, and erroneous data between employees as they are all effectively working on the same documents and will be on the same page every time.
Cloud Benefits for Legal Professionals
The two main benefits of the cloud for legal professionals is flexibility and cost efficiency. Flexibility is had as the entire legal practice can now be managed more efficiently, and isn’t tied down to a specific set of hardware. All the workstations in the firm could go down due to hardware fault or acts of god, and they won’t lose any work that they have already done. As soon as the workstations come back up, or as soon as they get replaced, or even while they are working in backup devices, the entire operations can be resumed where they were last left off.
In terms of cost efficiency, it is twofold – first is the reduction in total IT costs due to the reduction in IT staff and equipment. Next is the fact that manpower that could have been wasted on maintaining software and servers can be focused towards tasks that are more profitable for the firm, thereby increasing the firm’s bottomline.
Security as a Factor
Because Cloud Computing does not provide all the benefits it gives without a drawback, there is one thing that legal professionals need to be concerned about when working with the cloud, and that is security. Since all of their data is stored offsite, they have very little control over security. This means legal professionals who are considering the cloud need to ensure that the cloud service provider they’re going to get can be trusted and are reliable. So shopping around for cloud service providers should be handled with utmost care and should not be undertaken without any serious concern for getting the best in the market.