Overcoming Your Fears of the Cloud

Discussions about the cloud have become increasingly frequent among my peers and colleagues. Young lawyers, with few choices except to start their own firms, can’t afford an IT consultant and they are increasingly looking to cloud-based subscription services to handle their data management. Similarly, established firms are having similar conversations as technology becomes ever more a part of our lives and our practices. Cloud-based services have become extremely sophisticated and affordable. However, for those lawyers (most of us) who are new to a cloud-based business model, searching for reliability, ease, and ironclad security can feel overwhelming and, quite frankly, scary. I suggest only two things to keep in mind:

1. Cloud-based services are safe, secure and sophisticated

I’ve found it’s easy for attorneys to write off technology companies as less serious, less sophisticated or less knowledgeable about the practice of law. It’s not true. The reason technology has exploded so quickly is because some of the smartest people in the world are working in the technology space. These companies do market research and industry research. They partner with law firms to understand where their service fails the lawyer so they can make it better. They pay hackers to try and expose security weaknesses in their systems. And then they make the security tighter.

With a little bit of research and asking the right questions, you’ll be able to quickly identify those companies who have done their due diligence and who are ready and willing to bring you into the cloud. These companies stake their reputation on our success and security. If the cloud-based service fails, they are facing the very real possibility of a client exodus. What better motivator to keep your legal documents safe than the possibility of going out of business?

2. The learning curve is short

For many attorneys who are new to technology-based business models, hearing about encryption, firewalls, remote access and online backup is akin to learning a new language and a new way of life. It’s a lot to digest. But, if you’re willing to put in the effort, cloud-based services are now so advanced that with simply a working knowledge of certain principles, these services are easy enough for anyone to use. Almost all of the work at keeping your documents safe and secure is done for you, not by you, saving you time, effort and expense. Once you’re set up, you simply need to know how to log in.

In a world where everyone has an iphone and at least a basic ability to navigate the internet, turning to cloud-based services for law firm management should no longer feel like such a major hurdle. It’s time to try out the cloud, dispel our collective fears, and embrace the technological change that has revolutionized so many other fields.


  • James Cage

    Good advice, benefits of cloud are many but concerns over security and privacy of data on cloud have been hindering cloud adoption. I work for McGladrey and there’s a whitepaper on cloud computing that will interest a few readers it weighs the risks of moving to the cloud against the many benefits of the cloud. Cloud risks striking a balance between savings and security

  • Luke Ciciliano

    I agree entirely. We work with the legal profession and find that security is the main reason attorneys give for not switching to online systems. We find the online systems to be far more secure than the local networks that attorneys tend to use. When you consider that most offices don’t have an IT person on staff, and often go without important software updates, then putting the security at cloud level is a vast improvement. I would be curious to know other thoughts on the security issue?

  • Ashton Hanks

    Safety and security are the major features behind the popularity of cloud based service, Not only for attorneys, the cloud based technologies have widely captured the interest of business owners too.

  • Orlando

    The simplicity associated with cloud based services definitely makes it easier to use. Safety and security of documents is the utmost responsibility for attorneys and using cloud based services is the best option. The expense of using cloud based services is low and so it becomes and inevitable choice.

    Regards-
    http://www.speechpath.ie/index.php/sip-trunks/

  • Scott Anderson

    The best deal I have found for cloud solutions is 300 bucks a month. You get capture software for scanning plus enterprise content management software and they give you cloud storage from Microsoft. I have looked at many solutions. This is the only one I found that works great and gives you everything needed to have a complete system. I now can scan my files and index them is automatic. I then manage all my files with the ECM software. I have workflows that they custom built. I can now do everything paperless and find any document in seconds. I can do this via the cloud so my phone or laptop is my briefcase. I pay 300.00 a month but never have to worry about software upgrades because I always get the current version. If you want to get this deal the company is called Systems & Solutions Inc. The website is http://www.sands-inc.com

  • http://www.neteffects.com.au/ Cloud Computing

    It’s very important that when you decided to integrate cloud into your system, that you know that risk involve and the things that you need to do to be able to attain a certain goal in cloud.

  • Dominik Dziurzyński

    Thank you for your advice. It’s a really important issue!

    I’m working in a event planning agency as a event manager. We need in my company to get a cloud computing system cause we travel a lot and spend plenty of time outside our office. I know that people
    still put a lot of weight in savings because it is easier to go to the CEO and
    the CFO and say, look… if we spend X dollars here on cloud, will save X
    dollars in our overall IT spend. Because it is always harder to measure and put
    a numerical value on agility, and superior business execution. Of course, those
    CEOs and CFOs who are leading the charge in cloud do “get it” and
    hopefully will start seeing some hard numbers on soft gains from their
    experiences.. My CEO asked me to
    find a solution for me and my crew and I googled a service called ComZetta, which seems to be a combination of storage space and virtual desktop. Maybe someone knows are they reliable? I don’t know this company, but they declare full security of storage files what’s the most important to me, because they’re private, and I want to decide to whom I want to give an access to view it.

  • Marcus Yannick

    It seems to be right place to ask about storing files in the cloud. The thing is: I am preparing to release a book , it is based on my research (I am a PhD student of literary studies ) and can say that it is half- done. I use a variety of sources ,
    including books, e-books , scans, PDFs and images , figures and illustrations.
    The studies also lean on documentary films that are not available on the
    network (refer to issues of postcolonialism ). From my friends I learned about
    the convenience of storing even large files in the cloud due to the mobility
    and easy access to all files. I’m not interested in commonly available hosting
    service because of copyright and content protection. I’d rather stick to the material well-protected disk space. Of course price is importatnt as well. I am not a specialist in the field of cloud computing and so I‘d ask for a hint and advice
    in trustworthy services. So far i googled few, and among others one called ComZetta. Does anybody have some experience with this service?

  • Marcus Yannick

    OK, what about guaranteed safety? If cloud provider promises that it can be protected properly, is this reliable? My example: I have a lot of private, older and contemporary photos scanned and I’d like to make a backup of it. I use them sometimes to create some, lets say – artworks.They’re scanned in good quality so files are not so small to to storage. I don’t want to expose them for random viewers, because they’re private and notall are suitable to show, they’re only for my private purposes. . I’m not convinced to the biggest one, offered by google and microsoft (even if they’re free). I prefer to pay some money and feel, they may be used without my permission or leaked. One of the other services I’ve found is comzetta.com – less known, but promising safety of stored data. Is there anybody who’s using their cloud? Are they thrustworthy?

  • Josephine David

    Great article. I worked for a tech reseller advising law firms on procurement and implementation of cloud technologies. I’m now in house at a large firm. One of the big areas overlooked by partners is around data leakage. Of course they think it’s very important, but meanwhile you can see how porous their control system is. People becomenthe weakest link, yet we can’t be too harsh if there isn’t solid change control measures going on. Things not shredded, printed emails left out, the admin who leaves backup drives in an unlocked car… A few real examples. These can be controlled when everyone adheres to a policy handbook and it’s enforced through automated “cloud” based systems. People by nature are wired to simplify jobs. It would be false to construe this as being lazy without proper handling guidelines. After all,data compliance creates more steps for people.

    I think law firms are further ahead on the curve in embracing the cloud versus other industries. This is a great thing. Not only are attorneys becoming for tech-aware, they seem to better grasp the benefits – particularly as it relates to keeping client data secure. The two best bang-for-buck cloud areas to embrace are: client collaboration and backup. Both being encrypted and offsite, eliminate the need for loose people processes where data literally walks out the door. From law practice perspective the big benefits from cloud come from collaboration portals– communicating and sharing information with clients. This means being able to have clients access and retrieve pertinent documents, cases, and manage tasks etc, without having to call, email and courier every little thing. So of course that means it needs to be easy and secure. If the collaboration portal isn’t easy, no one will use it. Consequently admin costs actually go up if it’s complicated. There are a ton of confusing collab portals out there. We tried a lot of them. Our pick here is Centroy. Easy and intuitive… for clients. Also make sure it’s encrypted and has archiving– showstoppers not be overlooked. Centroy again wins there. The other important “cloud” tech thing–perhaps more boring– is backup. If a drive failure hasn’t happened to you, it will someday. And if you lose data, well…. Two things here to consider: easy to set up and automate. You don’t need to have a tech guy involved. The other part is reliability and time retrieval. Here you should test them out with free trials. But also google “data loss (insert vendor name)”. There are complaints of all of them loosing data, although it seems few and far between. We like Crashplan because we can backup the same data to the cloud as well as each other’s PC drives. Kind of double data insurance piece of mind. Again, great article. Thought I’d share my thoughts from the trenches.

  • http://www.adbot.in/ oliveppc

    If you have important data that you have stored on the cloud, it may be a good idea to back up those files or applications. Always keep your data backed up and regularly update your back up, you never know when disaster strikes and *poof* all of your data has vanished. Backing up your data is fine but you also have to keep in mind that you need to check those backups for data integrity otherwise it is of no use whatsoever. Another advantage of storing a backup is that, when cloud service goes down you can use that data to use another server. In my knowledge there are lots of cloud computing companies operating in India.

  • Paul Bear

    My understanding is that the original meaning of cloud computing was not simply server-based internet data storage in password-protected user accounts. That was already in existence before the term “cloud” became popular. The original idea behind the services that could be provided by could computing was that one person could use another person’s version of a program stored online, thus saving that user from the need of buying the program.

    Paul | cvd.net.au