Here’s the thing;
We know teams can be reluctant — even resistant — to adopt law firm cloud technology solutions and shift the status quo. Age-old, paper-based case management systems are rapidly approaching extinction. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned, disruptions can come from anywhere — and can occur with a speed and scale that surpasses the imagination. Global pandemics, cybersecurity threats, and natural disasters can stall, or even stop, business without warning.
So why should a law firm choose to operate differently?
Security, for starters. According to the FBI, there’s been a sudden uptick in cyberattacks committed by domestic and international hackers looking to take advantage of Americans’ daily activities during the pandemic. Small- and medium-sized law firms are considered soft targets by hackers because of a treasure trove of information — personal and private data of people and corporations. And, many firms lack the understanding and resources to protect their vulnerabilities against attacks.
The American Bar Association 2019 Legal Technology Survey Report states that as many as 26% of respondents reported their firms experienced a security breach (from hacks to stolen laptops), and 19% of respondents reported not knowing whether their firm had ever experienced a security breach. Even more daunting, the ABA survey also revealed more than one-third of respondents (36%) were infected with viruses, spyware, and malware. More than a quarter of those respondents (26%) were unaware the infection had happened.
A lack of digital security can leave your firm and your clients particularly vulnerable to malware, ransomware, viruses, and spyware — unbeknownst to them. There’s a common misconception that it won’t happen to your firm but realistically, it could happen to any firm. As a result, 38 State Bar Associations have adopted the Duty of Competence, recognizing the obligation to clients to not only be competent in the law and its practice but also in technology. Firms of every size are ethically obligated to protect the privacy and security of their clients, by any means necessary.
And, security concerns and breaches can impact the bottom line. Firms surveyed have had to pay additional consulting fees for repair (37%), have suffered a loss of billable hours due to a security breach (35%) and have had to replace hardware or software (20%). Most costly of all is the erosion of client trust when sensitive data is breached.
Law firm cloud technology changes the data game
IT experts agree that cloud-based law firm software offers s more security (including on-premises platforms) protection. Private cloud solutions, such as Abacus Private Cloud (APC), are designed with artificial intelligence to proactively monitor and stop behaviors that signal data breaches. So, you get proactive, rather than reactive, protection.
Law firm cloud technology can allow your team to leverage a cloud provider’s core competencies – keeping data safe. Cloud-based software providers, such as AbacusNext, can also offer your firm server security benefits, such as
- Hardware and software with the latest updates and security patches installed;
- Frequently tested onsite and offsite cloud backups;
- Device management to quickly identify and isolate at-risk endpoints;
- Software resources to expedite threat detection and incident remediation
Rethink your attachment to a local server
For practices with minimal IT talent or support, trying to manage a network, can prove frustrating and take time away from revenue-generating activities. Therefore, investing in a private cloud solution, such as APC, can eliminate the IT support needed and limit exposure risk, mitigating damage and disruption and focusing on discovery and recovery.
Migrating to the cloud
Law firms moving to the cloud need to consider migration; start with the core elements of your infrastructure.
- What are your organization’s needs for operating systems, storage, and networking?
- Do you need a provider that will support your infrastructure in the cloud that uses the same operating system as your existing technology? If not, what will the cost be to make changes to the application code?
Considering your storage, application, OS, and processing needs upfront helps to inform the type of cloud solution you choose.
With so many options in the legal technology space, choosing a cloud-based practice management platform for your firm can be overwhelming, but thankfully, there are solutions that can ensure firms make the necessary changes before a crisis occurs. Here are two critical features you must consider:
When migrating your law firm to the cloud from on-premises storage, you lose physical control of information. Your data needs to be protected while it is in transit to or from your organization and while it is stored in your cloud solution. A comprehensive data security is essential.
- What are the most critical data to be protected?
- What are your data loss tolerance limits?
- What data security responsibilities sit with your organization and with your cloud provider?
What happens to your data and systems when there is a natural disaster, cyberattack or incident that results in the loss of power or access? These disruptive events can lead to significant loss and major expenses to address the disaster and potential loss of revenue and reputation. What are your data backup needs? How long can your organization live without access to data? Knowing your recovery points needs (which are the maximum age of the data or files in backup storage needed, e.g., 60 minutes or maybe 4 hours) which dictates your backup scheduling, is vital. Whether backups are full or incremental, your retention frequency should guide your cloud migration needs.
If you’re looking to move your law firm to the cloud, working with AbacusNext ensures access to a team of experts that will give you end-to-end support for all your needs.