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Why Cloud Computing and Software as a Service is a Good Fit for Legal Practices

Published on 27 June 14
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The legal sector has seen a couple of false dawns regarding the adoption of cloud technology; concerns around the security of confidential (and often sensitive) data, and an overall lack of in-house technical knowledge are the primary reasons for these.

Legal adoption

Recently, however, this situation has begun to change and CSPs are seeing more legal practices deciding upon IT as-a-service strategies that are contributing to the drive towards cloud adoption. Legal practices are extremely cost conscious and the ability to procure IT services on a utility basis provides them with a way to correlate their costs with client billings.

Other factors that have contributed to the rise in adoption of cloud IT services are that law firms need to reduce their operating costs, they need to accommodate the increase in consumerisation of technology and as the cloud has matured, they now have a way of addressing data geo sovereignty and security issues.

As with almost every other business since 2008 and the ensuing economic uncertainty felt by all, law firms and legal practices have been forced to become much more conscious of managing their running costs. Subscription models for cloud computing and the basis for procuring IT by only paying for what you use â when you use it, is a very attractive proposition.

Consumerisation and the way that by delivering applications and business services on-demand and to any device, cloud computing is re-inventing the workplace, is a more interesting driver for increased adoption of cloud services. Demand for the greater productivity this brings to an increasingly mobile workforce is growing and will only continue to do so. The mobility aspect that the cloud delivers is of particular interest to larger law firms that have greater numbers of lawyers operating nationally and internationally; being able to access their desktop applications on-demand via laptop, tablet or smart-phone is a valuable benefit. This greater accessibility reduces workflow timelines and increases overall efficiency â great for legal practices in terms of billing and great for their clients in terms of quicker resolutions and approvals of their matters, in a controlled and securely managed way.

A further driver is the increase in availability of cloud-ready practice management and case managementapplications that are easy to deploy and that can come bundled with hosted desktops and business productivity suites.

Safety first

Security and the sensitive nature of data they create, manage and store is still a reason that legal practices are reluctant to fully embrace cloud technology. Cloud vendors and hosting providers will argue that the levels of security delivered by public and hybrid clouds in todayâs data-centres, protected by managed firewalls and other network devices, are far greater than those offered by traditional on-premise servers. Those responsible for procuring (and even managing) IT services within legal practices are becoming more familiar with the concept of cloud based IT services and are gradually putting more trust in SaaS, IaaS and DaaS.

Greater reliability

Hosted desktop solutions that are fully managed by the CSP or MSP also improve availability of service; fault tolerance and disaster recovery solutions that would previously have been cost prohibitive for many firms are usually delivered within the terms of the cloud subscription model. Removing CapEx from the IT procurement equation in favour of OpEx also means that much smaller legal firms (and even solos), can afford to implement the same comprehensive IT services as their larger competitors. Many such fully managed cloud and hosting services offer automated back-ups; these are significantly more reliable than traditional, on-premise methods and definitely more secure, resulting in tapes being left in the office overnight, a thing of the past.

More accessible

Strategic advantages of cloud IT include the enablement of on online legal services, delivered by complex customer portals and software; available as a service these are no longer out of the reach of many small and even mid-sized practices. They increase efficiencies in managing practices of any size and make managing cases quicker and easier, to improve the overall customer experience.

An example of this is conveyance services â they are increasingly delivered online and this segment of the legal services marketplace has become far more competitive, appealing to a younger, cloud-aware and internet savvy generation of house-buyers and developers s a result.

Our ISV partners that develop LOB software specifically for legal practices report increases in adoption of their cloud-ready applications and cite the fact that in order to begin using them, their customers no longer have to commit to lengthy hardware or software deployment projects. In fact, once cloud-ready, deploying any new systems, features or security updates is seamless and can be completely automated to minimise disruption.

Benefits for all

As virtual platforms and cloud-based IT strategies become more commonplace within the legal sector, we will see larger numbers of leaner, greener and ultimately more profitable law firms delivering services that are more efficient, more secure and available at more competitive rates.
The legal sector has seen a couple of false dawns regarding the adoption of cloud technology; concerns around the security of confidential (and often sensitive) data, and an overall lack of in-house technical knowledge are the primary reasons for these.

Legal adoption

Recently, however, this situation has begun to change and CSPs are seeing more legal practices deciding upon IT as-a-service strategies that are contributing to the drive towards cloud adoption. Legal practices are extremely cost conscious and the ability to procure IT services on a utility basis provides them with a way to correlate their costs with client billings.

Other factors that have contributed to the rise in adoption of cloud IT services are that law firms need to reduce their operating costs, they need to accommodate the increase in consumerisation of technology and as the cloud has matured, they now have a way of addressing data geo sovereignty and security issues.

As with almost every other business since 2008 and the ensuing economic uncertainty felt by all, law firms and legal practices have been forced to become much more conscious of managing their running costs. Subscription models for cloud computing and the basis for procuring IT by only paying for what you use â when you use it, is a very attractive proposition.

Consumerisation and the way that by delivering applications and business services on-demand and to any device, cloud computing is re-inventing the workplace, is a more interesting driver for increased adoption of cloud services. Demand for the greater productivity this brings to an increasingly mobile workforce is growing and will only continue to do so. The mobility aspect that the cloud delivers is of particular interest to larger law firms that have greater numbers of lawyers operating nationally and internationally; being able to access their desktop applications on-demand via laptop, tablet or smart-phone is a valuable benefit. This greater accessibility reduces workflow timelines and increases overall efficiency â great for legal practices in terms of billing and great for their clients in terms of quicker resolutions and approvals of their matters, in a controlled and securely managed way.

A further driver is the increase in availability of cloud-ready practice management and case managementapplications that are easy to deploy and that can come bundled with hosted desktops and business productivity suites.

Safety first

Security and the sensitive nature of data they create, manage and store is still a reason that legal practices are reluctant to fully embrace cloud technology. Cloud vendors and hosting providers will argue that the levels of security delivered by public and hybrid clouds in todayâs data-centres, protected by managed firewalls and other network devices, are far greater than those offered by traditional on-premise servers. Those responsible for procuring (and even managing) IT services within legal practices are becoming more familiar with the concept of cloud based IT services and are gradually putting more trust in SaaS, IaaS and DaaS.

Greater reliability

Hosted desktop solutions that are fully managed by the CSP or MSP also improve availability of service; fault tolerance and disaster recovery solutions that would previously have been cost prohibitive for many firms are usually delivered within the terms of the cloud subscription model. Removing CapEx from the IT procurement equation in favour of OpEx also means that much smaller legal firms (and even solos), can afford to implement the same comprehensive IT services as their larger competitors. Many such fully managed cloud and hosting services offer automated back-ups; these are significantly more reliable than traditional, on-premise methods and definitely more secure, resulting in tapes being left in the office overnight, a thing of the past.

More accessible

Strategic advantages of cloud IT include the enablement of on online legal services, delivered by complex customer portals and software; available as a service these are no longer out of the reach of many small and even mid-sized practices. They increase efficiencies in managing practices of any size and make managing cases quicker and easier, to improve the overall customer experience.

An example of this is conveyance services â they are increasingly delivered online and this segment of the legal services marketplace has become far more competitive, appealing to a younger, cloud-aware and internet savvy generation of house-buyers and developers s a result.

Our ISV partners that develop LOB software specifically for legal practices report increases in adoption of their cloud-ready applications and cite the fact that in order to begin using them, their customers no longer have to commit to lengthy hardware or software deployment projects. In fact, once cloud-ready, deploying any new systems, features or security updates is seamless and can be completely automated to minimise disruption.

Benefits for all

As virtual platforms and cloud-based IT strategies become more commonplace within the legal sector, we will see larger numbers of leaner, greener and ultimately more profitable law firms delivering services that are more efficient, more secure and available at more competitive rates.

This blog is listed under Cloud Computing and Development & Implementations Community

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