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Is Everything Moving on the Cloud?

by Shrisha Sapkota

case management software, practice management software, legal accounting software, legaltech, technology for lawyers, case management, immigration, london, united kingdom

Introduction to the cloud computing

Cloud computing isn’t something brand new for business. Although around 98% of companies are running their on-premises hardware servers to maintain IT infrastructure, the pandemic has made some adjustments.[1] Cloud environments are usually scalable, reliable, highly available, and easy to use.[2] The future of IT is in the cloud. 88 per cent of UK businesses use cloud-based services to carry out their daily activities.[3] 10 years ago, one could hardly imagine that all of their information could be stored in one place where it could be reached anytime and from any device. Now it is a reality.[4]

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user.[5] In short, cloud technology allows companies to reengineer their back-end architectures (servers, databases, application software, and more) and put them in virtual environments where they can be accessed remotely, without requiring physical server hardware of their own.[6] So in simplified terms, we can say that the cloud is virtual storage space on the internet.[7]

Rather than keeping files on a proprietary hard drive or local storage device, cloud-based storage makes it possible to save them to a remote database. As long as an electronic device has access to the web, it has access to the data and the software programs to run it.[8] The Covid-19 pandemic with its social distancing and remote work has revealed the importance of embracing machine-to-machine technology.[9] Learning about cloud migration is the first step towards future-proofing the law firm’s IT system.[10] No more relying on a privately-owned off-site recovery system – migrating the legal firm’s data to the Cloud instead means that even if an emergency happens, they can keep running their operation from anywhere.

Companies should consider a variety of factors when considering their first cloud migration. From the benefits and risks to choosing the right cloud service model for their business, to how it will affect the company’s bottom line.[11]

Cloud In Legal Technology

The idea of investing in a move to the cloud is gaining ever more traction in the world of business.[12] Law firms and practices around the world are faced with the need for staff to connect virtually and continue meeting the needs of their clients, all the while addressing a new set of legal issues tied to the pandemic virus.[13] Cloud computing law turned out to be the best – and obvious- solution in facilitating agility and digitalization at factories.[14] While being in the different locations, they could work in collaboration and proceed with their tasks with a very few inconveniences.[15]

Many law firms still haven’t embraced the legal firm software cloud, often because solicitors don’t understand or realise the value that the cloud offers, or how secure and flexible it can be.[16] Almost two-thirds of lawyers cite security concerns as a reason for not adopting the cloud. The great IT myth of our time is that the cloud is less secure than on-premise storage.[17] When cloud-based systems were first introduced, there were some valid reasons why many firms baulked at the idea of outsourcing data management, especially to an outside server. Legal professionals, who must manage a great scope of information, that, in many cases, is highly confidential to their clients, were the most reluctant to migrate to the cloud.[18] Now, advances in security protocols and technology have made storage in the cloud better and more secure than on-site servers.[19] The major paradigm shift towards full cloud computing did not happen until the last few years.[20] Moving forward, several law firms are now finally understanding that the traditional Information Technology security will never be good enough.[21]

Through cloud-based legal software, the firm can become more mobile, cost-efficient, collaborative and secure.[22] The widespread introduction of cloud computing provides several benefits in delivering legal services. Legal service providers can use the Software as a Service model to earn a profit by charging customers a per-use or subscription fee.[23] This once traditional industry is starting to change its attitude towards the cloud.[24] The number of law firms shifting their data and other key resources online has spiked in recent years, a trend that experts say is driven by an uptick in confidence and a need for the 24/7 accessibility, improved productivity, and IT cost reduction that cloud-based services offer.[25]

In addition, companies don’t have to focus as much on in-house security since cloud hosting companies offer a variety of options to choose from, including firewalls, tokenization, and virtual private networks (VPNs).[26] Proceed carefully, as migrating to new legal applications is not only a technical challenge but also a behavioural challenge. Resistance to change is a formidable force in the legal industry, and overcoming that resistance is necessary for a successful migration.[27]

Legal service providers can use the Software as a service model to earn a profit by charging customers a per-use or subscription fee. This model has several benefits over traditional bespoke services.[28] When law firms move their data to the cloud they get benefits that include secure, remote accessibility, as well as reliable, efficient, and collaborative workflows.[29]

Here are a few reasons why most law firms are making their move into the cloud:

The Cloud Makes The Work More Convenient

One of the greatest advantages to the adoption of cloud-based systems is the ability to automate workflows and integrate cloud technology with other systems.[30] Mobility and efficiency are the main advantages of the cloud.[31] If on-premise servers and hardware are ‘on the ground’, then cloud-based infrastructure exists ‘in the sky’ (i.e. online). The primary reason why the cloud exists (and where it gets its name from) is that it essentially enables staff of the law firms to set up a hard drive and run software securely on the internet.[32] Software for law office as a service can be used to complement traditional bespoke services by handling routine tasks, leaving an attorney free to concentrate on bespoke work.[33]

Companies use these cloud services to make work processes more efficient, especially when many employees may not have access to the office and need to be able to proceed with their work remotely.[34] The ease of use and the possibility to access programs through a web browser like Microsoft Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome without the need to download applications to a physical computer makes the cloud a big on-demand deal for law firms.[35] These applications do not require law firms to provide server storage, memory or processing power. They can integrate access to cloud-based file storage systems.[36] Only cloud-based solutions make this kind of productivity possible.[37] The cloud offers businesses more flexibility overall versus hosting on a local server. And, if extra bandwidth is needed, a cloud-based service can meet that demand instantly, rather than undergoing a complex (and expensive) update to the firm’s IT infrastructure.[38]

The legal cloud service is elastic. If the company’s office needs to access additional resources on the fly, it can scale quickly in the cloud; if it needs to reduce resources, it can do so just as easily. The scalability of cloud-based solutions allows law firms to pay for only the space that they need to service the practice’s legal template and document management and daily operational needs while providing for flexibility as the practice grows.[39]

Productivity may be increased when multiple users can work on the same data simultaneously, rather than waiting for it to be saved and emailed. Time can be saved in the same way, as information does not need to be re-entered when fields are matched, nor do users need to install application software upgrades to their computer.[40]

Security:

Cybersecurity is an extremely important aspect of the modern workplace that must be minded properly.[41] Many organisations have security concerns when it comes to adopting a cloud-computing solution.[42] Over the years, it has been noticed that the legal industry has always been unwilling to migrate to cloud technology due to privacy and data security risks in cloud computing.[43] With the growing worldwide importance of data security, and the increased legal responsibility companies have to safeguard customers’ data, law firms of all sizes need to be sure that the software they’re using protects their customers and staff.[44]

There is a natural fear that the information stored on a legal cloud service can be accessed by competitors or the wrong parties.[45] Cyber-attacks should be of vital concern to any law firm that stores confidential data in the cloud as this information is particularly at risk to become a key target for hackers – they can use the data for purposes of blackmail, fraud, and other criminal activity.[46]

In reality, major cloud data protection services have security equal to or better than most enterprise data centres.[47] Users can encrypt data that is processed or stored within the cloud to prevent unauthorised access.[48] Cloud-based redundancy for unparalleled data protection and backup cannot be matched by infrastructure that relies upon internal servers. In a cloud-based system, if the primary server goes down, the secondary server powers up to ensure business continuity.[49]

And while most businesses don’t like to openly consider the possibility of internal data theft, the truth is that a staggeringly high percentage of data thefts occur internally and are perpetrated by employees.[50] It is important to note that legal cloud technology can provide the type of security they would require to avoid a data breach, as well as phishing, among many other concerns.[51] Most cloud vendors have service-level agreements that guarantee 99% uptime. Besides, vendors bear responsibility for backups and disaster recovery, which may save a lot of time for the legal firm.[52] Positively, the increased movement to legal cloud software is met by significant developments. Many cybersecurity concerns have already been mitigated by sophisticated supplier solutions, enabling better client care, matter management, and financial management systems to protect both legal privilege and data security in the same instance.[53]

Cost Savings:

Data storage costs money. And maintaining legacy infrastructure to support internal backups is a drain on the budget.[54] Cloud computing eliminates the need for physical hardware for storage purposes. This, in turn, reduces the capital expenditure for companies.[55] These funds can then be appropriated towards innovation or research and development to pave new pathways to success.[56] Once the legal firm is on the cloud, easy access to the company’s data will save time and money for project startups. And, for the legal software companies who are worried that they’ll end up paying for features that they neither need nor want, most cloud-computing services are pay as you go.[57]It also improves firm performance through better working practices and data analysis capabilities.[58]

Analysis has shown that cloud computing can cut technology costs by 30% or more.[59] Cost-effective cloud-based systems offer firms a low barrier to entry while providing a plethora of advantages to time-strapped attorneys.[60] This is primarily due to the following benefits:

 

  • the cloud is a ‘turnkey’ solution: just create an account, and then it is up and running
  • the cloud doesn’t rely on long-term contracts, so the staff are not locked into long-term payments
  • The cloud involves no hardware investment, so there are essentially no overheads.[61]

The legal industry functions on the principle that decisions are evidence-based. The managed cloud services for law firms can increase profits for partners by avoiding the fines associated with data breaches and the revenue lost during downtime.[62] A truly pivotal advantage of cloud desktops over in-house solutions is that they deliver the benefits of the cloud while keeping up compatibility with all of a lawyer’s existing legal software.[63] Cloud aims to cut costs and helps the users focus on their core business instead of being impeded by IT obstacles.[64] It is not only the process that will put the law firm at the technological forefront, but it will also make their work processes easier and faster. Overall the law firms will find out how useful it is to have all of their information accessible in one place.[65]

Broadly, the cloud plays a central role in most digital transformation initiatives. Big data analytics is an attractive lure of cloud platforms, offering scale and computing resources unattainable by most on-premises systems.[66] One thing is clear: almost every tech-driven business or law firm should have a cloud migration strategy!

References

 

[1]https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/03/12/why-migrate-to-the-cloud-the-basics-benefits-and-real-life-examples/?sh=504507215e27

[2] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/cloud-migration-benefits-risks/

[3] https://www.doherty.co.uk/blog/why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud

[4] https://lawrina.com/blog/moving-to-cloud-one-of-top-trends-in-legal-tech-in-2021-how-can-you-do-it/

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

[6] https://www.upwork.com/resources/moving-to-cloud

[7] https://dynamixsolutions.com/what-is-cloud-technology-and-how-does-it-work/

[8] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cloud-computing.asp

[9] https://www.quora.com/Why-is-everything-moving-to-the-cloud

[10] https://www.templafy.com/blog/7-reasons-why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud/

[11] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/cloud-migration-benefits-risks/

[12] https://www.templafy.com/blog/7-reasons-why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud/

[13]https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/law-firms-moving-cloud-from-on-premise-based-servers-patrick-mutabazi

[14] https://www.quora.com/What-will-be-the-consequences-of-everything-moving-into-the-cloud?all=false

[15] https://lawrina.com/blog/moving-to-cloud-one-of-top-trends-in-legal-tech-in-2021-how-can-you-do-it/

[16] https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/en/topics/small-firms/moving-to-the-cloud-5-reasons-to-consider-it

[17] https://www.doherty.co.uk/blog/why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud

[18] https://lawrina.com/blog/moving-to-cloud-one-of-top-trends-in-legal-tech-in-2021-how-can-you-do-it/

[19] https://blog.btohio.com/3-ways-cloud-computing-is-transforming-the-legal-industry

[20] https://www.lawyer-monthly.com/2021/01/why-legal-technology-is-inevitably-moving-to-the-cloud/

[21] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/law-firms-moving-cloud-from-on-premise-based-servers-patrick-mutabazi

[22] https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/en/topics/small-firms/moving-to-the-cloud-5-reasons-to-consider-it

[23] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_informatics

[24] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/law-firms-moving-cloud-from-on-premise-based-servers-patrick-mutabazi

[25] https://www.templafy.com/blog/7-reasons-why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud/

[26] https://www.upwork.com/resources/moving-to-cloud

[27] https://www.lawyer-monthly.com/2021/01/why-legal-technology-is-inevitably-moving-to-the-cloud/

[28] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_informatics#Cloud_computing

[29]https://www.givainc.com/blog/index.cfm/2021/7/20/evaluate-need-cloud-computing-software-for-legal-sector

[30] https://blog.btohio.com/3-ways-cloud-computing-is-transforming-the-legal-industry

[31] https://www.templafy.com/blog/7-reasons-why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud/

[32] https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/en/topics/small-firms/moving-to-the-cloud-5-reasons-to-consider-it

[33] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_informatics

[34] https://lawrina.com/blog/moving-to-cloud-one-of-top-trends-in-legal-tech-in-2021-how-can-you-do-it/

[35] https://www.templafy.com/blog/7-reasons-why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud/

[36] https://www.lawyer-monthly.com/2021/01/why-legal-technology-is-inevitably-moving-to-the-cloud/

[37][37] https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/en/topics/small-firms/moving-to-the-cloud-5-reasons-to-consider-it

[38] https://www.salesforce.com/products/platform/best-practices/benefits-of-cloud-computing/

[39] https://www.templafy.com/blog/7-reasons-why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud/

[40] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing#Security_and_privacy

[41] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/law-firms-moving-cloud-from-on-premise-based-servers-patrick-mutabazi

[42] https://www.salesforce.com/products/platform/best-practices/benefits-of-cloud-computing/

[43] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/law-firms-moving-cloud-from-on-premise-based-servers-patrick-mutabazi

[44] https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/en/topics/small-firms/moving-to-the-cloud-5-reasons-to-consider-it

[45] https://lawrina.com/blog/moving-to-cloud-one-of-top-trends-in-legal-tech-in-2021-how-can-you-do-it/

[46] https://www.templafy.com/blog/7-reasons-why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud/

[47] https://www.doherty.co.uk/blog/why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud

[48] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing#Security_and_privacy

[49] https://blog.btohio.com/3-ways-cloud-computing-is-transforming-the-legal-industry

[50] https://www.salesforce.com/products/platform/best-practices/benefits-of-cloud-computing/

[51] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/law-firms-moving-cloud-from-on-premise-based-servers-patrick-mutabazi

[52] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/03/12/why-migrate-to-the-cloud-the-basics-benefits-and-real-life-examples/?sh=504507215e27

[53] https://legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.co.uk/blog/2020/08/07/cloud-computing-and-the-use-of-legal-technology-in-the-cloud/

[54] https://blog.btohio.com/3-ways-cloud-computing-is-transforming-the-legal-industry

[55] https://dynamixsolutions.com/what-is-cloud-technology-and-how-does-it-work/

[56] https://dynamixsolutions.com/what-is-cloud-technology-and-how-does-it-work/

[57] https://www.salesforce.com/products/platform/best-practices/benefits-of-cloud-computing/

[58] https://www.doherty.co.uk/blog/why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud

[59] https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/en/topics/small-firms/moving-to-the-cloud-5-reasons-to-consider-it

[60] https://blog.btohio.com/3-ways-cloud-computing-is-transforming-the-legal-industry

[61] https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/en/topics/small-firms/moving-to-the-cloud-5-reasons-to-consider-it

[62] https://www.doherty.co.uk/blog/why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud

[63] https://www.templafy.com/blog/7-reasons-why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud/

[64] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing#Security_and_privacy

[65] https://lawrina.com/blog/moving-to-cloud-one-of-top-trends-in-legal-tech-in-2021-how-can-you-do-it/

[66] https://www.templafy.com/blog/7-reasons-why-your-law-firm-should-move-to-the-cloud