Legal firms in the UK are increasingly seeing Cloud computing solutions as a way to deliver sustainable competitive advantage. Cloud-based systems can bring your business great benefits without having the need for in-house expertise or high maintenance costs.
Indeed, Cloud solutions can provide smaller legal businesses access to a level of sophistication that would normally be out of their reach.
With no need to have multiple instances of their software installed over a number of PCs in a law firm, legal Cloud computing suppliers tend to offer their product at a lower cost. Coupled with mitigating the need for legal practices to have on-site server infrastructure, this brings legal software from Cloud suppliers within the financial reach of smaller law firms.
Sophistication and Flexibility
Cloud-based software also gives smaller firms access to enterprise-level technology and expertise that would otherwise be inaccessible without major financial investment. And given that Cloud suppliers generally supply their products on what is essentially a pay-as-you-go business model, they are as flexible as your business needs.
Access and Collaboration
Cloud-based systems allow all users to connect and collaborate from wherever they are, letting you work on cases with your colleagues whether at work, at home or with a client.
Cloud Computing Concerns
However, given the nature of the work lawyers undertake, being concerned about committing your sensitive data to the Cloud is understandable. Given the right service provider, though, it is possible not just to mitigate this concern but to turn it in to confidence that your data is actually more secure in the Cloud.
Let us consider how you currently look after sensitive client information.
You are likely to hold that data in a variety of places. Paper case files will be stored in your office and with a secure filing storage company. Electronic copies will be held on PCs, laptops and servers and backed-up off-site. You and your colleagues may carry about some of that data on USB sticks for working at home.
This is a fairly standard approach many are familiar with.
However, from a perspective of security, you can probably imagine a few scenarios that can have a negative impact on this arrangement. A fire in your office, a laptop left on a train or your office getting broken into. Plausible scenarios that disrupt your business and puts your data at risk.
Mitigate Your Data Security Risk
We are not about to claim that Cloud computing is the panacea to this risk but we can show how it can mitigate a number of these risks and, in so doing, address some of the misconceptions and natural wariness some business owners have on the subject.
To meet the demands of the Data Protection Act, Cloud solution providers for UK legal services only operate out of UK-based data centres.
These centres are multi-million pound, state-of-the-art facilities that far surpass levels of security and resilience that could ever be achieved by a small businesses. They have controls and safeguards in place to manage security, power supply, fire prevention and environmental conditions. Combined, these measures ultimately serve to protect your data.
Cloud services allow your data to be accessible from anywhere that has an internet connection. This removes the need to transport sensitive data around with you or use an inherently insecure email alternative. By using bank-like security measures, Cloud providers can ensure that your data is protected and safe from interception in its journey from browser to the Cloud and back again. You can also have peace of mind that your sensitive data stored on the cloud is fully encrypted.
Instantaneous backup of this data is made to other distinct data centres where the same security measures are in place. That means that even if a catastrophic event does occur, your cloud provider can switch its operations - thus maintaining your business continuity.
Further security can be extended to the PCs, laptops and other devices that access Cloud services. By registering these devices to use the Cloud service, if they ever become lost or stolen their access to the service can be removed remotely so your data cannot accidentally fall into the wrong hands.
Deciding What is Right for You
Arguably, then - if managed as an extension of your business - the best Cloud service providers can deliver a data protection solution that is as robust or even more so than many small legal practices can achieve today. Coupled with the efficiencies and flexibility Cloud solutions can bring, this may go some way in addressing the cost and productivity pressures legal firms are feeling today.
Deciding whether a Cloud-based solution can help solve your business pressures is like making any other strategic business decision. It is all about measuring up the costs and risks to your business against the realisable benefits.
Each business and each Cloud-service provider is different. In weighing up whether a Cloud solution is right for you, you should look closely at what your cost, risk and benefit profile is. And in choosing the right Cloud-service provider for you, you should consider which best complements this.
With the ever-increasing pace of change in business technology and the significant impact this has on business performance, making such a decision may be key to the long-term direction of your business.
How PureCase Makes Your Data More Secure
At PureIntuitive, the security of your data is our number one concern, and PureCase, our legal case management software, employs all of the security features mentioned in this article. View our Security page here, or read more through our Tour here.
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