The legal industry has always been reluctant to move to the cloud, and for a good reason. With the abundance of classified and confidential information prevalent in law, there is a perception within the industry that it puts itself at risk by allowing this data to be placed on web-based servers.
However, cloud computing has advanced even by its own standard of growth. Cloud computing now allows you to take advantage of both storage and security when you sign up with a vendor and firms can also take advantage of Security as a Service as one of its branches.
In short, cloud computing has reached a stage where security is on par, if not better, with the traditional in-house IT security that many companies believe in. Although many would actually argue saying cloud computing has better security. Tripwire published a post this year giving their four reasons why they feel cloud is more secure than legacy systems.
Is the Legal Industry ready for the cloud?
Although the legal industry has had its apprehensions regarding the adoption of cloud computing, things are finally changing for the better.
Problems like data breaches and data theft have been plaguing businesses for a long time and are probably some of the primary reasons behind companies moving to a cloud-based environment.
It was the realization that the local storage of confidential data is as susceptible to theft as it would be in the cloud (in their opinion) that helped to shift thinking on the matter. The problem persisted despite them having the severest security measures and supervision in place.
The illusion that data is less secure if it leaves the company premises has finally dissipated, and this is backed by the string of data breaches across different industry sectors.
The Wall Street Journal reported in March 2016 that hackers breached several law firms, including Cravath and Weil Gotsha.
Law firms are now realizing that traditional IT security will never be good enough moving forward. Cloud technology is far more capable of providing the level of security they would need to avert a data breach, among other issues.
Fortunately, the answer to the question of if the legal industry is ready for cloud has been a resounding yes as more and more law firms are now placing their trust in cloud service vendors for the various cloud-based services they need.
How does Cloud Computing help the Legal Industry?
AM Law conducted a survey within their diverse group of 200 law firms on whether they have adopted cloud, and if they have then what services did they sign up for. Around 51% of the law firms confirmed that they have indeed started using cloud computing.
62% of them used software as a service. This should not come as a surprise at all as many cloud-based solution providers develop cloud computing applications for law firms. They are termed as law practice management systems and are also referred to as legal management or case management software.
These applications offer tools such as time tracking, legal billing, client communication, legal document management, legal calendaring among others. They also come with secure encrypted messaging services, secure online payment process, etc.
Not to mention the added advantages that come with the use of smartphones and tablets which allow them to access web-based applications on the go which could be comparatively less secure and unreliable when working with an in-house system.
The Future of Cloud computing in legal Industry
Cloud computing may not be new, but it is surely new for the law firms who have only recently begun to take notice of the technology.
Similar to the retail industry who started transitioning a couple of years ago, the legal industry will probably take their time to understand the nitty gritty of how the cloud works, how the cloud vendors work and about their (law firms) involvement when availing the service.