Cloud Computing for Law Firms
Data security is absolutely paramount among technology concerns for law firms. It’s really not an exaggeration to say that a firm lives or dies with its ability to protect confidential client data. Not just because of the heavy damage to your reputation that a breach can cause and the potential lost revenue from compromised cases, but because the Data Security Act puts very firm and specific restrictions on how data can be stored and transferred.
Hackers do not discriminate, and they have no fear of law firms. Both direct hacking attempts and mass-mailed malware infections generally originate from overseas, in regions where a solicitor or barrister effectively has no legal ability to retaliate. The only viable response to these attacks is to prevent them from ever happening!
Challenges Faced by Law Firms
Unless you are running a particularly large firm, it is likely not feasible to keep a full-time IT security professional on hand to continually monitor network traffic and immediately respond to threats. That means either creating a patchwork automated security system from existing off-the-shelf products, outsourcing, or some combination of the two.
The “bespoke” approach of stringing together existing products may initially seem more cost-effective. However, in addition to being less effective at actually stopping attacks, it’s likely going to require the use of dedicated servers. That’s a significant added cost for the hardware, setup and ongoing maintenance of the system, such that you often find that outsourcing was really the more economical option to begin with.
Caution is required when outsourcing, however. Not just to ensure that you’re dealing with a capable and reputable company, but also to keep in compliance with the terms of the Data Protection Act, which place restrictions on the transfer of data beyond the borders of the UK and the European Economic Area. What’s wanted is a contracting company based in the local area, storing your data locally and providing you with both continual monitoring and an open line of communication.
It’s also critical to balance your security practices with the needs of the staff to work remotely. Law firm staff frequently find themselves needing to access the company network from a client site or from home, and often outside of business hours as well. An “in-house” server setup always makes this sort of thing much more complicated and difficult just by its nature. Software for each task that you want to perform (video conferencing, database access, etc.) has to be installed and configured on not just the servers but on each worker’s computer or various devices, which tends to create another patchwork system that doesn’t have proper holistic IT support or oversight.
On that subject, should there be a technical hiccup in the system, you’ll need to get someone physically on site to correct it — often an expensive challenge outside of standard business hours!
The High Price of "Free"
While people often turn to free services simply because of the cost, they also sometimes do it out of frustration when in-house channels aren’t working the way they want them to. In a security-sensitive profession like this, however, free services are completely unacceptable.
First of all, there is the issue of how these “free” services make their money — generally by vacuuming up sensitive and personal information from the data that passes through their servers. A disturbing amount of firms find themselves caught in periodic inspections by the Information Commissioner using unacceptably insecure services like Dropbox to store files containing sensitive information. Often this is not a matter of company policy, but happens instead because an employee got fed up with the in-house file system not doing what they want and decided to take matters into their own hands with a cloud-based system they are more familiar with.
Time is Money
Ultimately, the old adage is true; time really is money for solicitors. Time wasted dealing with hardware issues and breaches that cause downtime is time in which the firm is losing money (and also potentially taking on damage to reputation).
Clients are increasingly asking firms what they are doing to protect their data security. With our services at your disposal, you can assure them that their data is stored locally and is as safe as it can be. You’ll also experience improved convenience and uptime along with the elimination of the hardware and file synchronization headaches that come packed with an in-house system.
Recommended Cloud Products for Law Firms
A Virtual Desktop is the option to choose if you want to be absolutely sure that your data is housed in a secure location and your fee-earning law team can access all their IT resources whether they’re based in the office or remote.
Our Cloud Workspace solution packages our Virtual Desktop and VoIP systems together. Not only do you get all of the advantages described above, but you can increase the range of your business by allowing employees to work remotely with full access to your IT network and telephone system from wherever they can connect to the internet.
A cloud-based phone system provides you with the full flexibility of a physical phone “server” in your office, minus the need for ongoing maintenance, hardware upgrades, and employee training. You’ll also enjoy a new degree of mobility and can take advantage of flexible pricing based on your usage needs.
Has your Legal Practice invested in physical servers? How do you ensure that you can keep working if these servers fail? Or that you can keep working if your office burns to the ground? Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) ensures that you can.
55 Grove Road
Harrogate, HG1 5EP
Get In Touch
We’d love the chance to talk to you about your business IT systems. Fill out the form below and click ‘Submit’. Once we’ve received your message, we’ll contact you as soon as possible.