Cloud computing has become ubiquitous in modern society, but law firms have been slower than most in adopting the technology. Recently, however, law firms switching from on-site data management to the cloud has become the norm due to rapid advancements in cybersecurity, increasing client demand, and the appeal of improving efficiency while cutting costs.
So, what are the most common reasons why cloud computing is still so controversial among legal professionals, and what has caused the industry shift toward cloud migration?
Cloud Computing and Confidentiality
One of the driving forces that used to keep many law firms from using cloud servers is client confidentiality. When practicing law, attorney-client privilege is essential and cannot be taken lightly. Even today, concerns about confidentiality and ethics are the main reasons why cloud computing can be a contentious subject among those in the legal industry.
In the early days of cloud-based systems, these issues were a valid reason to avoid outsourcing data storage to an off-site server. However, cybersecurity advancements have led to the cloud often being more secure than on-site servers. Small to medium sized law firms are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks since they often don’t have the infrastructure or expertise to keep their servers secure. Even with a secure firewall, a Wi-Fi connection can leave information and files vulnerable to a data breach.
Cloud services offer end-to-end encryption, backup servers, teams of expert IT professionals, and physical safety measures, such as securely locked rooms with top-of-the-line camera systems and 24/7 monitoring. These procedures are impossible for law firms to enact at a lower cost than outsourcing.
Cloud-Based Law Practice Management Software is Efficient
The benefits of being able to integrate and automate systems is one of the greatest advantages to companies using cloud technologies. Time consuming and tedious tasks such as scheduling, billing, invoicing, file management, and the creation of legal documents are all streamlined on the cloud.
With a low barrier of entry and the ability to access their important information whenever and wherever they need it, many legal teams that were hesitant to make the switch are now migrating over to cloud-based systems, as Zoom meetings and online court hearings have become the norm.
Is the Cloud More Reliable than In-House Systems?
While it has been a long-standing belief that in-house servers are more reliable and secure than cloud systems, this is no longer the case. Cloud servers offer redundancy that is unmatched by internal servers, since the cloud can utilize a secondary server if the primary system should fail. This leads to less downtime and a much lower risk of losing files to equipment error, damage, or a data breach.
It is also common to forget to create local server backups, leaving law firms vulnerable to data loss. Cloud systems can continually sync and update, so companies don’t have to worry about being able to access files or documents.
Cloud Technology Saves Money
While efficiency is important, at the end of the day, companies are trying to improve their bottom line. Cloud technology saves law firms money by allowing them to increase efficiency while eliminating the high cost of local data storage and maintenance. Not only that, but they are able to budget better by avoiding unexpected costs, which are inevitable when dealing with aging hardware.
Another significant cost-saving feature of cloud-based law practice management software is the ability to scale. When data is kept on site, scalability is considerably more expensive (and difficult). Law firms using cloud technology can grow without updating or adding equipment, software, IT staff, or other expenses associated with keeping data management in-house. Being able to focus on the growth of the business and having predictable, consistent data management costs is a notable advantage when scaling.