By now, you’ve probably at least heard about cloud-based legal software, but do you really know what it is, and whether it’s right for your firm? Derek Fitzpatrick outlines five ways the cloud could make a difference.
Many law firms still haven’t embraced cloud-based solutions, often because solicitors don’t understand or realise the value that the cloud offers, or how secure and flexible it can be.
But through cloud-based legal software, your firm can become more mobile, cost-efficient, collaborative and secure. Here are my five key reasons why you should consider moving to the cloud.
1. The cloud makes you more accessible
The primary reason why the cloud exists (and where it gets its name from) is that it essentially enables you to set up a hard drive and run software securely on the internet. If on-premise servers and hardware are ‘on the ground’, then cloud-based infrastructure exists ‘in the sky’ (i.e. online). This is a very simplified description, but it highlights the major benefit of the cloud: access to important data, applications, tools and more, at any time and from any location or device.
2. The cloud makes you more secure
With the growing worldwide importance of data security, and the increased legal responsibility companies have to safeguard customers’ data, law firms of all sizes need to be sure that the software they’re using protects their customers and staff.
In most cases, given the huge resources needed to set up, enforce, and keep up with an ever-changing cybersecurity landscape, many cloud solutions provide more security than on-premise solutions.
3. The cloud improves your firm’s mobility and productivity
Why is secure access so important? Because the model of the modern workplace has shifted in recent years.
People want to be able to do their work from wherever they are, whether that’s in the office, at home, or on the road. They want to be able to access their work files on all of their devices, and need everything they do on one device to sync with the others. Only cloud-based solutions make this kind of productivity possible.
4. The cloud reduces your firm’s technology costs
Analysis has shown that cloud computing can cut technology costs by 30% or more. This is primarily due to the following benefits:
- the cloud is a ‘turnkey’ solution: just create an account, and you’re up and running
- the cloud doesn’t rely on long-term contracts, so you’re not locked into long-term payments
- the cloud involves no hardware investment, so there are essentially no overheads.
5. The cloud helps you create additional revenue streams
One thing which tech-savvy law firms are doing to increase their profitability is offering specific, high-volume legal services to clients as bespoke products. This enables law firms to add new revenue streams while automating redundant tasks and freeing up lawyers’ time for more important work.
Any legal service which your firm frequently performs for clients, and which can be automated through cloud technology, is an ideal candidate – as the law becomes more commoditised, firms that deliver products as a service to clients will be better positioned for success.
Choosing a provider
The benefits I’ve discussed make cloud technology a stronger choice for law firms than on-premise solutions, but what separates one cloud provider from another?
To get the most value from a supplier, look for cloud-based legal software that offers the following features:
- time-tracking and billing
- centralised case management
- scheduling and calendaring
- document management
- conflict checking
- contract management.
Also, make sure that the cloud provider offers strong cybersecurity protection, and that it integrates with your favourite software applications. If a legal cloud provider checks all these boxes, your firm will benefit from it.
Derek Fitzpatrick is the general manager of Clio for EMEA. Derek has spent years helping legal professionals evolve their case management both in the UK and further afield, and to further Clio’s mission to transform the practice of law, for good.
Clio is the only cloud-based case management software to be endorsed by the Law Society of England and Wales and approved by the Law Society of Scotland.