The Modern Legal Practice Needs the Cloud More Than Ever
Reliable IT systems have never been more important to law firms than in 2020. They have also never been under so great a threat from cyberattacks.
Pete Watson, CEO of Atlas Cloud, outlines the greater security and quality-of-life improvements law firms stand to gain by embracing the cloud.
The highly confidential nature of legal data makes the modern practice a huge target for cyberattacks. There is constant, immense pressure on firms to ensure their data is protected to the highest standard. Traditionally, this has meant that legal firms were reluctant to invest in the cloud due to cybersecurity concerns. However, with legal practices often susceptible to outside attacks and the majority of cyberattacks happening to companies who manage their own data, they can no longer afford to fall behind with outdated technology.
This has led to many legal practices moving away from traditional IT and towards managed cloud technology, in an effort to enhance security whilst maximising their billable hours. The need for a more flexible approach to legal IT has no doubt intensified during the last few months as ‘remote and hybrid working’ practices swept rapidly across the nation. For the legal sector, the ability to work remotely is now a top factor for 41% of the UK’s legal professionals. The time is now for firms to implement hosted solutions that can simultaneously maximise security and keep fee earners productive, as remote and hybrid working practices look set to stay.
When transitioning to the cloud, firms must ensure that they have a strategy in place to ensure their employees understand how to use the cloud and can make the most out of the platform to maximise productivity and security. The onus is now on practice decision makers to adapt their working processes – and provide the technology and employee support to match. The question is, what can a cloud-based approach offer law firms that other, more traditional systems lack?
The highly confidential nature of legal data makes the modern practice a huge target for cyberattacks.
Essentially, the cloud acts as a gateway for legal firms to protect their data, maximising accessibility and flexibility when using any device, from any location. Removing the limitations of on-premise systems, the cloud does not only afford time efficiency. It has the power to provide the flexibility required to enable newfound hybrid working, as more employees move more fluidly between the home, office and other working locations. Yet, for all the benefits to working processes, unprotected data can easily become compromised. With the right tools, however, the cloud affords security from anywhere.
It’s true that no one is safe from malicious phishing attempts – not even those who are attentive by both nature and profession. According to PWC’s Law 2019 Firms Survey, 100% of the top ten law firms suffered at least one phishing attack last year, as all firms placed phishing in their top three most frequently attempted attacks.
What’s more, high-profile email attacks suffered by large firms such as Anthony Gold and DLA Piper have shown the huge consequences that can occur when legal data is compromised. In a time where legal professionals are required to work outside of the office all the more frequently, practices must look to utilise solutions that can minimise risk and improve trust amongst their clients whilst adhering to compliance regulations.
Cloud-enabled cyber security and resilience tools can ensure that confidential data isn’t hacked or intercepted. Mimecast solutions can be teamed up with the Advanced Threat Protection features within Microsoft Office 365 to create added security for organisations.
Cloud-enabled cyber security and resilience tools can ensure that confidential data isn’t hacked or intercepted.
Proactive disaster recovery
Disasters can quickly set back a business if the right solutions are not implemented and the firm does not have substantial recovery protocols in place. Research finds that 93% of businesses that are affected by a large data loss will have to file for bankruptcy within that year. With highly confidential information held within its systems, it’s no surprise that law firms are often top of the hit list. Yet, with the right disaster recovery setup, the risk of bankruptcy and loss of highly sensitive data is reduced significantly.
In all law firms data is valuable and highly sensitive. By transitioning to a cloud hosted desktop environment, client data is stored off-premise in enterprise-grade data centres. With data constantly backed up, firms can be safe in the knowledge that information will not be lost in the event of a system crash, allowing practitioners to resume exactly where they left off.
In addition to security, storing sensitive data in a secure cloud environment offers legal firms many other benefits that will help excel its business and maintain its position within the market. It minimises the risk of legal firms tarnishing its reputation with clients and ensures that its service is reliable and meets the expectations of clients. After all, maintaining a high service quality protects its reputation within the industry and naturally builds client retention.
Secure and successful ‘hybrid and remote working’
With many employees being encouraged to work between the office and home and others forced to work remotely, maximising security and keeping fee earners productive is vital for all law firms.
In a hybrid or remote working environment, implementing the right cloud setup is vital for legal practices to maintain productivity from anywhere. Hosted desktops provide users the ability to access all their key data and legal applications in one familiar environment. They can be accessed securely via multi-factor authentication on any device to be highly productive wherever they are, including on-the-go. What’s more, any lost or stolen devices can be remotely locked or wiped, removing the security concerns commonly associated with legal staff working on equipment outside of the practice.
Today’s law firms must have a solid understanding of its cloud setup, why they are implementing it and how its data is being managed, so that the firm can put their trust in the system. Whether your aim is simply to be paperless in your law firm (due to security and environmental factors) or unlock the full potential of your remote workforce, cloud technology helps you head in the right direction.
Working closely with expert partners, the cloud can be a true ally for any legal practice – protecting the data, minimising risk and maximising billable hours to weather the storm against today’s economic uncertainty.