Ruth Halpern is a client strategy executive with FlexManage. For the past twenty years, Ruth has owned an independent training consulting company working with law firms and corporate legal departments. She designed and taught technology workshops on the full suite of legal software applications, as well as delivering soft skills workshops on effective communication, team-building, and leadership skills. She also spent a year in-house as an Applications Specialist at a San Francisco law firm before joining FlexManage. On January 10, 2017, she delivered a presentation – “Talking to Decision Makers about the Cloud” – at a luncheon for the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) in San Francisco. Ruth shares her experience:
I had a great time delivering this presentation at the ALA luncheon in San Francisco. In spite of the storm clouds, we were warm and dry in Reed Smith’s lovely conference room.
Everyone there agreed: the cloud is a confusing, murky, anxious-making subject, one that few of us feel 100% confident that we’ve mastered. Given that we hear about the cloud everywhere these days, why is it so scary?
I think it’s because the cloud (as in offsite technology) is a lot like an actual cloud (in the sky) — large, amorphous, ever-changing, and covering a lot of ground. In fact, I argue that the whole metaphor of “the cloud” is flawed. It would be much more precise to refer to it as “offsite data storage,” “software as a subscription,” and “network infrastructure as a service.” But those terms are more technical than many people want to go, which is why “the cloud” has been adopted as a convenient, though ambiguous, nickname.
My goal in this presentation was to demystify this technical tangle so we can develop a common language for talking about off-site storage, the “pipe” that connects your device to that storage, and the different ways that data and software can exist “in the cloud.” Much relieved laughter ensued as the tangle was sorted out!
Since every firm is different, I’m not able to wrap the whole topic up neatly and tie it with a bow, but here are a few takeaways:
- More than half of all law firms either have some of their resources in the cloud, or are planning to.
- Data Security is a vital concern, and one that stops many firms from moving forward.
- Moving to the Cloud will definitely result in different, and generally in lower, costs, though not as low as attorneys might wish.
- Firms must work with their clients to determine what types of data can be stored in the cloud, where, and how.
Call it what you will, the cloud is here to stay. And at FlexManage, we offer both a “Cloud Readiness Assessment” and a “Security Audit” to help organizations make wise choices about the cloud. Contact us today – we’d be delighted to help you on your journey to the cloud.