The last few years have seen an enormous growth in legal cloud usage. According to the Cloud Industry Forum, the trend looks set to continue over the coming years with no slow-down.
So, what are the major advantages of running your practice on the cloud-based model? Let’s take a look at some of the obvious and not quite so obvious reasons.
This is a key benefit of being cloud based. It means you can access your case management and other cloud data from anywhere that has an internet connection. So, whether you’re in the office, on holiday, at court, meeting a client or at home, your data is available.
It’s not only location that defines accessibility; hardware counts too. Cloud services are accessible from your desktop, laptop, or tablet and, in most cases, from your mobile phone.
There are additional benefits too. You can introduce flexible working or even hot-desking which will help you to reduce office overheads. Lastly, it’s worth considering the virtual practice option. Most virtual legal practices use some form of cloud-based environment to do business effectively and keep costs to a minimum.
If you’re used to running your office systems from an in-house server, you’ll be familiar with the costs:
Using the cloud, all you need to run an effective practice management and accounting system is a good, reliable internet connection. The fact that the software is cloud-based will eliminate up-front costs and maintenance charges along with expensive staffing and outsourcing bills.
The cloud offers economies of scale that simply don’t come with a traditional server-based approach. If you are gearing up to deal with a spike in casework, it’s straightforward to purchase more licences for your practice management software. When no longer required, you can reduce these to their original number without cost implications.
The cloud allows you to streamline your IT overheads to meet your business needs and not the needs of expensive in-house technology.
Security is one of the biggest question marks when it comes to cloud-based practice management. It needn’t be. The fact that your case files are stored somewhere in the ether actually makes them much more secure.
Cloud-based legal practice management software and data are stored on one of many major hosting platforms within the UK. The people who provide this service take security very seriously and the good ones are ISO 27001 certified.
This is part of the ISO 27000 family of standards relating to information and cyber security and offers a comprehensive set of controls based on best practice in information security. The accreditation shows the host’s compliance with regulatory and contractual requirements regarding data security, privacy and IT governance.
The upgrade question also plays a part here. Cloud-based practice management gives you the certainty of optimum performance and enhanced data security because you will be using the newest operating systems and platforms to host your data.
This is where the cloud really comes into its own. If your own server fails, you are in the hands of your IT staff or suppliers. Or in the event of a major disaster, you must have the ability to re-build your network quickly and have up-to-date copies of your backups available.
All IT hardware can fail from time to time. However, cloud-based systems have mechanisms that can mirror your data to a different location to ensure it is immediately available. Backups are usually taken in triplicate and with much greater frequency than on-premise solutions. Cloud “server farms” also have auxiliary electricity generation capability to combat power outages.
So, should your premises burn to the ground, with a laptop and a new location, you can be up and running again on the same day.
The only cautionary point about the cloud is your internet connection. It is essential that this is reliable and provides sufficient bandwidth for you to connect to your cloud resources speedily.
When it all boils down to it, I’m a pragmatist. I’m seldom interested in business management ideas that look good on paper – they have to work and be an asset.
Many legal practices can put a strong, coherent business case together for retaining their own IT infrastructure, whilst others will appreciate the flexibility that the cloud has to offer. Indeed, there are practice management systems on the market that can operate both on your own server or on the cloud.
On balance, with the benefits of a cloud-based approach so obvious, it really is worth examining your options carefully.
For more detailed information on the legal cloud, visit this link.
© LawWare Limited 2016-2017
Our clients range from small start-up legal practices to multi-partner, multi-site firms.
As the first commercial user of LawWare back in 1998, we have had no hesitation in remaining with the product through its development. We thoroughly recommend it to any firm looking for a practice management system.
The helpdesk is exceptionally good. Whatever the query there is always a human being there to help. No leaving messages or being advised to go to a website. The best computer service for solicitors I have ever used!
The linking of documents and casefiles saves so much time! I have experience of several accounts packages and I like that LawWare is simple to use and easy to learn. Support is quick and effective and staff are helpful and courteous.
I have worked with a number of Case Management providers over the years but have not come across anything with the attention to detail and thoroughness of LawWare. My colleagues and I have not been disappointed.
I can’t imagine trying to be a law firm in the 21st Century without 21st Century IT systems. Having a ‘single system’ that underpins all the work, whether we are in the office or out, is an integral part of what we are building.
The level of support is the main benefit using this system. The system itself once you have had training is simple and easy to use. We have a great relationship with LawWare and the ongoing support is second to none.
Significant preparation was required to configure and import the data from our old firm. We had to get all clients onto the new system and then learn how to use it. We just find it very easy to use, much easier than our old system.
It’s a big help that you can speak to the boss directly. The support team takes a lot of the technological stress away and, as LawWare continues to build relationships and integrations with other suppliers, it makes our life much easier.
Being a busy litigator with a growing firm it is incredibly useful to be able to view my files from any location with some form of internet connection. I am a fan, and want to keep working with LawWare to make a good product great.
The switch to the new LawCloud system, which is still on-going, has gone very well. We found the LawWare team without exception to be very helpful and knowledgeable. All queries are followed up and dealt with promptly.