Of all of the advances in legal technology in the past ten years, perhaps none has been met with more skepticism by lawyers than cloud computing. At first blush, the idea of storing sensitive client files and data on a remote server, possibly out-of-state or even overseas, seems too risky to law firm managers. Lawyers have strict obligations to safeguard client confidences. With the high-profile stories of breaches of law firm data that have emerged over the past year, firms are wary of being seen as gambling with the safety of client files by handing them over to a third party.
Understandable as these misgivings may be, the truth is that when law firm leaders dig deeper, they discover that cloud computing is often the safest option for storing and accessing their client files and data. Here’s why:
The Days of Paper Files and Manual Locks Are Over
Every lawyer, no matter the size of their firm or area of practice, owes virtually identical duties to safeguard client confidences and information. In the past when client files consisted mostly of paper, firms could fulfill their duty to keep client files safe by locking their office doors and file cabinets at night. Storage space and a good locksmith were really the only requirements, and it wasn’t particularly difficult or expensive for even the smallest firm to ensure file security.
Nowadays, the challenges are more complex. Most lawyers today have no choice but to store a significant portion of their client files digitally. But, it is no longer the case that every firm has more-or-less the same resources to devote to client file security. In fact, most lawyers cannot afford to build and maintain a state-of-the-art, secure IT system on-site. The expense and expertise required to employ a qualified IT manager, maintain up-to-date software and hardware, and implement effective data security protocols, is simply too great.
Cloud Computing’s Economies of Scale
That is where the benefits of cloud computing become immediately apparent. By storing and accessing their client files on the cloud, and running their law firm management software from a cloud-based server, law firms of any size can leverage the large and continuous investment cloud computing services providers make in IT infrastructure and data security protocols. Instead of trying to figure out the latest and safest means of saving and encrypting files locally, lawyers can rely on true digital security experts working with top-of-the-line tools. And, instead of employing a part-time IT contractor to download, install and integrate security patches into a local firm IT system, law firm leaders can enjoy the assurance that their cloud computing service providers’ sole focus is keeping systems safe, up-to-date, and running smoothly.
Not Just Protection From Hackers
Though hackers and other bad actors pose an indisputable threat to client files, lawyers must also contend with the more pedestrian risk of natural and man-made disasters. If a hurricane floods your office, or an electrical surge fries your equipment, and that is the only location where you store your client’s sensitive information, what then? Cloud computing addresses those risks by storing your client data on servers in safe locations. The data is further backed up to servers located in still different locations, reducing the risk of lost client data to near zero. Since most cloud-hosted software solutions for law firm management are accessible to lawyers over the internet, a law firm in even the most difficult circumstances can access its files and continue its operations uninterrupted from anywhere there is a connection to the web.
FlexManage Can Help
At FlexManage, we offer cloud computing services to law firms of all sizes and needs. We help with everything from planning a migration of client data to the cloud to managing and running software-as-a-service solutions to implementing data backup and restoration best practices.
To learn more about how FlexManage can help select, plan, and implement cloud computing solutions for your law firm, contact us today.