November 11, 2012

Cloud Computing for Lawyers: How the Legal Industry Can Benefit from the Cloud

As cloud computing continues to soar sky high as an efficient and effective means of storing and transmitting data, legal practices are beginning to make use of the technology to streamline the way they do business. Below, we’ve answered a few of the concerns our legal clients have raised when it comes to switching over to a cloud computing service and assessed the benefits of merging to the cloud.

Is it Ethical?

Lawyers in particular have to take into account potential ethical issues in thinking about the way they manage their files. Specifically, those in the legal industry have the responsibility to:

  • Protect confidential client information
  • Guard client property from loss, including client files

As of this year, seven state ethics panels around the country have weighed in on the use of cloud computing in the field of law and all agree that it is an appropriate tool for legal practices to utilize so long as they take the necessary precautions to minimize risk to confidential client information. But how do lawyers ensure secure storage of sensitive information? The fact of the matter is, as with any data storage system, whether outsourced to a third party or not, certain risks apply. The good news is that cloud computing has proven to be a safer alternative to traditional hardware storage with its off-site processing, making it less prone to attack by hackers and damage from cyber security threats. Nevertheless, it is important to make sure third party cloud providers that have access to legal computer servers meet the same security mandates as any other third party to whom you entrust with confidential files. To make sure standards are met, consider drawing up a contract with your cloud computing provider to take the necessary precautions against data leakage.

Will My Data be Backed Up?

Dependent upon easy and fast retrieval of files to do business, law firms often wonder about the accessibility of their information over the cloud. In order to eliminate the hassle and frustration of data loss, cloud computing providers make use of numerable back up procedures, oftentimes saving files to at least two severs in different geographic regions several times a day in a practice known as “geo-redundancy.” Through this technology, the cloud offers one of the most reliable means of data preservation and retrieval on the market.

What are the Benefits?

As with any business that decides to operate on the cloud, certain standard benefits apply, including:

  • Cost-Effective Storage: Eliminating the need for costly servers and software, annual licensing fees and software upgrades, as well as an IT staff, cloud computing cuts down on overhead costs for companies, legal firms among them.
  • Scalable Solutions: Whether you’re just establishing your firm and know you’ll grow in the future or currently undergoing expansion, cloud computing providers can adjust your off-site storage to accommodate increased processing demands.
  • Flexible Technology: Because the cloud can be accessed anywhere an Internet connection is available, cloud computing systems offer flexible file retrieval from anywhere you’re working!

How Do Law Firms Make Use of the Cloud?

The top most useful and commonly employed applications of cloud computing in law include:

  • Law practice management
  • Document management and collaboration
  • Time and billing
  • Accounting
  • Project Management
  • Office Suites (email, calendar, documents)
  • Electronic discover
  • Virtual lawyering
  • Back-up and storage

At Cetrom, we have over ten years of experience creating custom cloud solutions for law firms. We are fully aware of and equipped to meet the challenges lawyers face in accessing important documents, systems, calendars, and more when away from the office – and we do so with the utmost attention to security. To learn more about Legal IT Services in the Cloud, please contact Cetrom today to find out how our Cloud Computing and law firm technology solutions can benefit your firm. Sources: Presentation on Cloud Computing for Lawyers Cloud Computing and Lawyers: 5 Things You Need to Know (Part 2 of 2) Legal Loop: Cloud computing for lawyers – chipping away at risk

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