According to a study, “98% of corporations store at least some of their data on the cloud. In total, it is estimated that 60% of all corporate data is in cloud storage — 2x more than 30% in 2015. And up 10% from 2021.” This goes to show that cloud computing has revolutionised the way businesses operate in today’s digital age, and law firms are no exception.
The legal industry is increasingly turning to cloud-based software to help manage their workflows and improve efficiency by taking advantage of the benefits of good cloud-based software.
What is Cloud Computing?
At its core, cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing services – such as servers, storage, databases, software, analytics, and intelligence – over the internet, also known as “the cloud,” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. Cloud computing can be broken down into three primary types:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): This involves providing virtualised computing resources over the internet, such as virtual machines, storage, and networking.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): This involves providing a platform for developing, running, and managing applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): This provides software applications over the internet, typically on a subscription basis, without the need for installation and maintenance.
Key Features of Good Cloud-based Software for Solicitors
When evaluating cloud-based software for solicitors, there are several key features to consider:
- Security: Data protection is a critical concern for solicitors who use cloud computing. Legal data is highly sensitive and confidential, and any breach of data can have severe legal and reputational consequences. Therefore, cloud computing service providers must have robust security measures in place to protect data. Given the sensitive nature of legal data and information, security is of utmost importance.
Here are some ways that data is protected with cloud computing for law firms:
- Encryption: Cloud computing providers use encryption to protect data during transit and at rest. Encryption involves converting data into a code that can only be deciphered with a key, ensuring that even if data is intercepted or stolen, it remains secure, so your confidential information is always protected.
- Multi-Factor Authentication: To prevent unauthorised access to data, cloud computing uses multi-factor authentication. This involves requiring multiple methods of identification, such as a password, biometric scan, or security token, to gain access to data. This makes it more difficult to hack a system and gain access to private information.
- Firewalls: Cloud computing makes use of firewalls to prevent unauthorised access to their networks. Firewalls act as a barrier between the internet and the cloud network, filtering out potentially harmful traffic and allowing only authorised traffic to pass through.
- Regular Audits: A reputable cloud computing service provider will regularly undergo security audits to ensure that their security measures are up to date and effective, making sure that you use the latest technology and security.
- Data Backup: Your data can be backed up regularly to ensure that in case of a disaster or data loss, data can be recovered quickly and efficiently.
- Compliance: Cloud computing providers comply with various regulatory requirements such as GDPR, HIPAA, and SOC 2, ensuring that confidential data is stored and processed in a secure and compliant manner.
- Integration: The software should be able to integrate with other tools and platforms that the law firm is using, such as email, document management systems, and billing software.
- Customisability: Every law firm’s needs are different and that is why the software should be customisable to the specific needs of the firm, with the ability to add or remove features as required
- User-friendliness: The software should make your processes and procedures more efficient and should therefore be easy to use and be intuitive, with a clean and simple interface that allows for quick and efficient navigation.
- Mobility: In today’s changing world where remote work has become the new norm, the software should be accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, and ideally offer mobile apps for on-the-go access and remote connections.
Types of Cloud-based Software Used by Law Firms
There are several types of cloud-based software that are commonly used by law firms:
Case Management Software: This software helps law firms manage their cases, including tracking deadlines, managing documents, and communicating with clients.
Practice Management Software: The software is designed to help firms manage their day-to-day operations, including billing, time tracking, and client intake.
Document Management Software: This type of software helps law firms organize and manage their documents, including storing and sharing files, version control, and search functionality.
E-discovery Software: This type of software helps law firms manage the electronic discovery process, including identifying, collecting, and producing electronic documents and data.
Benefits of Cloud Computing for Law Firms
- Cost Savings: According to Clio, cloud solutions cut technology costs by an average of 30% or more—with many of these savings from not having to set up internal servers and other on-premises hardware. Law firms can reduce IT costs, as the firm does not need to invest in expensive hardware or software licenses.
- Flexibility: Cloud-based software allows law firms to scale up or down as needed, depending on the number of users and the storage requirements. When using cloud-based solutions, scaling up or down is seamless as you can determine the storage and access you need for your business to run efficiently.
- Accessibility: A survey of corporate counsel and senior lawyers by legal information business Thomson Reuters, in total, 86% of UK lawyers would like to change the way they work in future, and on average they would prefer to work remotely at least two days a week. Cloud-based software would allow law firms to make the transition to a remote working model. It allows law firms to access their data from anywhere with an internet connection, which can improve productivity and enable remote work.
This also means that law firms can grow internationally and still have a perfectly collaborative work environment. With access to data and software from anywhere in the world, solicitors can work remotely and collaborate with international clients more efficiently. This improves customer experience by providing more flexibility and convenience to clients, as they can communicate and access data easily without geographical barriers.
- Security: Cloud-based software can offer higher levels of security than on-premises software, as the data is stored in secure data centres with advanced security measures in place.
- Collaboration: Cloud-based software enables real-time collaboration and document sharing, which can improve teamwork amongst lawyers, no matter where they are working from.
- Disaster Recovery: Sometimes systems fail, and data loss is inevitable, but cloud-based software can help law firms recover quickly from disasters such as hardware failures, natural disasters, or cyber-attacks, as data is backed up regularly and stored in multiple locations, meaning your information is always secured and accessible.
- Updates and Maintenance: Cloud-based software providers handle software updates and maintenance, reducing the burden on the law firm’s IT staff. So, your staff and solicitors can focus on doing what they’re best at.
- Competitive Advantage: Adopting cloud-based software can help law firms stay ahead of the competition by improving efficiency and enabling innovative practices.
Cloud computing has become an essential component of modern law firm operations, offering numerous benefits such as cost savings, flexibility, accessibility, security, collaboration, disaster recovery, and competitive advantage. When evaluating cloud-based software for solicitors, it is important to consider key features such as security, integration, and customisation that you may need.
Get in contact with Boldfield if you are looking to choose software that aligns with the specific needs of your law firm. Our experts can help you embrace cloud-based software to improve your operations, enhance client service, and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving industry.