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.