Are you one of those old school lawyers who thinks that moving your law firm to the cloud has no clear benefits to you? Then read on, you might be surprised!
You probably have heard of the cloud - we wrote about it in the NSW Law Society Journal back in 2014, but this trendy word that seems to appear everywhere, feels like a complicated and confusing concept. More so, how could moving to the cloud help your law firm in any way?
The cloud is actually less of an ethereal being and more of a multiple-servers-connected sort of thing. Whether you know it or not, you are already using the cloud every day.
Here is an example - let's say you have a web email and you are storing your photos in your iPhone. Basically what happens when you use iCloud or Gmail is that you are requesting your data from a physical server that's located somewhere on Earth. How many of these servers and where they are located depends on the product you are using. This means that even if your phone breaks or your computer gets stolen, the data is still accessible.
So why should you move your law firm to the cloud? Here are our five tips:
1. Offset the cost of servers
Did you know that the average cost of installing a new server for a small business is about $8000? Add to that a couple of thousand a year in ongoing costs: maintenance, electricity, IT support, backups, etc. The list goes on and on, and this is for a basic server.
In addition to the server itself, you may need a dedicated comms room with controlled temperature and a reliable power supply, which means you are also losing valuable office space.
As a rule of thumb, moving your law firm to the cloud compared to using on site servers will save your firm 79% of its running costs yearly - and that is a massive consideration!
2. Believe it or not, your data is safer on the cloud
Have you ever spilled coffee on your laptop? How about a power surge frying your mobile phone? Could you imagine what would happen if there's a fire in your office? All of your precious data could be gone - forever. That's it, there's no recovery from a melted hard drive. The impact of such a disaster for your law firm could be catastrophic, if not fatal. Having your data backed up in the cloud guarantees that you will never have to worry about these things, because of something called redundancy. And here is why...
3. Redundancy will ensure your data is always available
When you use a service like Microsoft Azure to back up your files, what happens in reality is that your data is cloned and stored in multiple locations across Australia at the same time. This is very important for two reasons:
1- Redundancy means that even if one of these physical servers that is storing your data fails, the backup in another location will kick in and you will have no downtime at all - you probably will never know there was a failure. Compare this to a failure in your on site server: call support, have someone come over to check the hardware, try to fix it, order parts... Downtime is a massive hidden cost for law firms still using servers that rarely gets taken into account when comparing options.
2- In compliance with the Privacy Act, you are required to store your clients sensitive data in Australian territory, under Australian laws. Not all providers can guarantee this and this is why we have been warning our customers for years against using services like Dropbox in their law firms, as they will use offshore servers to store your data. Read more about Dropbox for lawyers
4. You will be protected against cyber attacks
The most common type of cyber attack that has been hitting law firms lately is ransomware. The way they work is by encrypting your files and demanding payment (hence, ransomware) to give you the decryption key that will allow you to restore them.
How can moving your law firm to the cloud prevent this? Well, more than preventing it, it eliminates the need to pay ransom to decrypt your files if you ever get attacked. Depending on the service agreement you have with your provider, backups will happen several times a day, meaning you can restore old files if needed. So if you get attacked, you can simply delete all those encrypted and useless files and restore the last version of your data that is healthy. And then educate your staff in best practices on how to avoid an attack in the first place.
5. Work from anywhere
Did you forget to add a paragraph to that very important document you were meant to present tomorrow morning and you are already home? That would normally mean a late trip to the office for a task that would have taken you minutes had you been able to do it from your laptop. How about all that wasted time when you are out and about and in between meetings? Being able to work from anywhere means you can keep billing those hours even when you are not in the office. All you need is an internet connection - wifi, 4G from your phone, etc and off you go!
Find out more
Learn more about cloud backup and alternative document storage solutions for your business, contact the expert team at Boab IT on 1800 659 765.