For many organizations, security may be the last barrier to moving to the cloud. According to a recent survey by the Ponemon Institute, 54 percent of IT decision makers said their companies do not have a proactive approach to managing security and complying with privacy and data protection regulations in cloud environments.
The digital transformation of the legal sector raises numerous questions about how to handle sensitive client information without compromising confidentiality. This is particularly true when it comes to cloud computing. Law firms are especially cautious about moving to the cloud. And while many plan to invest in new technology in the coming years, the cloud may still have a question mark over it.
Because legal services are transactional by nature, IT availability is vital, requiring IT teams to protect their organizations against unexpected threats like power outages, ransomware and other malicious attacks.
Now, what was once considered a threat is seen as key a defense against downtime. Upgrading to the cloud is becoming a strategic tool for enhancing operational efficiency, increasing security and ensuring the overall future success of individual firms. Here are four ways cloud computing is overruling objections in the legal sector:
Greater Security In The Cloud Than On The Ground
Law firms are beginning to migrate to the cloud for both Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) and cloud hosting services. This move illustrates the overall market need for reliable, secure and cost-efficient IT resilience, particularly in the face of growing business threats.
Yet, many misconceptions about the cloud still trouble legal firms. The reality is that many legal firms find that the public cloud provides much more stringent security features than they could hope to implement and manage on their own on-premises IT infrastructure. Storing confidential data and client information in the cloud is a viable security measure for protecting against both human and natural disasters.
Law firms should always consider the security measures of a cloud provider when examining options. Confidentiality is vital to the lawyer-client relationship and cloud providers must meet international best practices when it comes to complying with rigorous enterprise security and control standards such as data encryption, intrusion detection and vulnerability scanning.
Firms also need to consider data sovereignty and privacy regulations and the implications of the legal domains where cloud content is stored. Many countries do not allow certain types of data to be stored outside of the country. The firm needs to know where the cloud provider is physically located and whether it provides mitigation strategies to properly safeguard stored data.
Adoption Of Business Continuity Strategies
DRaaS makes a secure and compliant DR strategy attainable for businesses within the legal sector. Business data and applications are replicated and stored in secure cloud locations, typically in remote locations to mitigate impact from local events. This data is typically encrypted during the replication process and while stored in the cloud for added security. Data, applications, even entire datacenters can be restored in minutes from the cloud, eliminating the need to build and maintain secondary datacenters for disaster recovery.
New York-based practice, Graubard Miller, is a prime example of how the legal industry can leverage on-demand DR testing functionality in the cloud to ensure smooth operations should they need to fail over. They employ a hybrid cloud solution which seamlessly protects both physical and virtual machines. This platform features role-based access control, two-factor authentication, turnkey security and compliance reports which greatly simplify the auditing processes and provide an effective, efficient and easy alternative to traditional onsite IT infrastructure.
Less Investment In Depreciating Hardware
The cloud offers potential cost savings for firms because it reduces the need for in-house servers, therefore cutting down on the high cost of investing in and managing hardware. Many cloud models simply charge for compute resources as they are consumed, while off-loading the hardware management to the cloud provider, saving costs and freeing up valuable IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.
Relief For Onsite IT
Cloud service providers deliver round the clock support for law firms that seldom have large IT teams. The support includes constant monitoring and rapid responses to threats as well as assistance in scaling cloud resources up and down when required. SLAs also set expectations for support and service delivered by the provider.
When properly implemented, hosting of mission-critical applications in the cloud enables attorneys to work from anywhere, resulting in increased productivity and greater work-life balance. As cloud providers increasingly offer cloud management via mobile apps, end users will have even more freedom to securely access and share data anytime from anywhere, significantly improving collaboration among lawyers.
Cloud Is Vital To Remain Competitive
To remain competitive law firms must update their technology to ensure their services continue to evolve. Operating within the cloud enables legal firms to work with individuals and organizations to provide a range of services, from securing international acquisitions to supporting individual needs and safeguarding clients’ interests.
In an ever more mobile age, lawyers are frequently required to access trial-critical documents on the go, rather than from the office. It’s important that law firms embrace cloud computing to ensure their workforce is working smarter and their IT systems are highly available and scalable on demand.
Making the decision to adopt a cloud strategy not only ensures high availability, data protection and increased IT security for legal firms, but also results in considerable IT cost reductions and enhanced lawyer-client collaboration. If cloud technology is utilized well, migration can only have a positive impact on the overall operational efficiency and ultimately the success of the firm.