Navigating the Journey to the Cloud

In PWC’s 2017 Annual Law Firms survey, firms said that one of their top two priorities was improving the use of technology. And, the focus for improving IT functions within their firms centred around getting the basics in place.

These results echo what we as a business have been hearing from our client base and experts across the industry; there’s an abundance of technology and innovation available, but many of the IT basics aren’t yet being leveraged effectively. This is where cloud-based solutions can act as a stepping stone towards innovation.

The term ‘cloud’ is everywhere. In the simplest terms, it means storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. But not all systems are created equal and we’ll be exploring this concept in more detail in future articles.

There is now a general acceptance across the legal sector around cloud technologies as more and more firms become ‘comfortable with cloud.’ And, as cloud offerings mature, and the legal sector becomes increasingly comfortable with consuming these services, the range of solutions will inevitably increase to suit new business needs and capitalise on different opportunities specific to the SME legal sector.

Cloud technology in any business has a range of significant benefits, however, as a medium-sized law firm you may find yourself increasingly competing against larger law firms for the same pool of clients and this is when effective use of technology becomes the real differentiator.

Cloud technology is helping smaller firms to get ahead as they typically have less physical kit onsite meaning that a transition to cloud is smoother than larger firms who often have disparate systems that may require integration before migration.

The productivity of fee earners is often a driving force for change within an SME firm as margins are smaller and every billable hour is crucial. If IT systems are slow and clunky then this will affect the productivity of fee earners and inhibit their ability to turn work around quickly enough to compete with larger firms. By using a cloud-based solution, your IT provider will continuously maintain and update servers to ensure they are running at optimum levels at all times.

The biggest threat to every firm regardless of size is a cyber-attack. Law firms are amongst the most targeted for cyber criminals as they hold large amounts of sensitive data and make large financial transfers on a regular basis – forget the loss of earnings if you get hacked, the loss of reputation across your customer base could shut your doors.

When a firm outsources to a cloud provider, they add an extra layer of security to their systems safe in the knowledge that their outsourcing partner is constantly working to ensure all data is kept as protected against as possible through monitoring, penetration testing and deployment of the most sophisticated countermeasures available.

The landscape is vast and there isn’t a one size fits all solution. Savvy firms will start their cloud journey by analysing the areas of the business they want to improve and build in a solution that addresses these issues. Stay tuned as we’ll be exploring a firm’s journey to the cloud in more depth in upcoming articles.

Lydia Cooper, Nasstar Plc