Law firms, like other businesses, are facing an unprecedented situation. COVID-19 has led to dramatic changes to the way we work. Having a cloud-based practice management, legal accounts and case management system can provide workers at law firms with the flexibility needed. However, there are many things that a firm should be aware of before moving to the cloud.
First, is the cloud supplier you are considering trustworthy? Where will the data be held? Is it secure? Will they tie you into a long-term contract? Can you easily get access to ALL of your data?
With any system, data security is paramount. It is vital you can get a backup of all data and documents on demand. Without this you are at the mercy of your supplier.
Even with a cloud-based solution there are many reasons why you may not be able to access your data: the data centre might go offline, suffer a massive failure and data loss, or the supplier might go bust. Without access to your data your practice will struggle to operate.
Here’s a checklist of points to consider.
- How long is the contract; and what are the cancellation terms? Any good supplier should give you a rolling monthly contract or have a short cancellation term. If not, why?
- Are price increases capped in their contract or can they up the price whenever suits?
- Where is the data stored? Is it in the UK? Is it secure?
- Who has access to your data? Is it encrypted?
- Is the supplier established? Do they have reliable reference sites and genuine accreditations?
- Can you get a complete backup of data and documents at any time? If they tell you that you can download your data by running some reports, or that the backup is done by them or the data centre, walk away – this is not someone you want to entrust your vital data to.
- Finally, if there is a major outage with the data centre or with your internet connection, can everything be moved quickly back to on-premise? If not, your firm may be paralysed until access is restored, should that be possible.
Use this checklist to ask these questions of anyone you are considering to help you move over to the cloud. There are specialist legal software suppliers that can offer you all of these things. Even if you are already partially or fully cloud-based, checking you have all the information will put you in a safer, more secure place. If there are shortfalls in your current configuration, now is the time to address those.
If you need to move to the cloud quickly, be smart and safe.
Tim Smith, Chief Technical Officer at Insight Legal