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Should Attorneys Use the Cloud?

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

The short answer is yes. It allows them to access files from anywhere and manage cases on the go, however there are a number of issues law firms should consider when moving from a traditional server-based IT system to one managed in the cloud. Our CEO, Brett Helgeson wrote an article for the Phoenix Business Journal recently, and it can be found by clicking this link. We have included the article below in its entirety.

Cloud computing for lawyers: Choosing the right platform for your firm’s data

Like most businesses and professions, law firms and attorneys are consistently evaluating the pros and cons of the many IT solutions available to them.  Those solutions may solve challenges and, in some instances, are required to remain competitive through the enhanced workload and case management efficiencies that they offer.

With the interest in cloud computing continuing to increase, the undeniable benefits that hosted solutions offer and the wide range of software and data sharing options that seem to emerge daily, cloud-based options have to seriously be considered.  Any thorough evaluation must take a hard look at the validity of the concerns that many raise with cloud-based solutions.

Is a cloud-based system more or less secure than internally managed IT systems?  Unless your firm has unlimited or disproportionate resources to invest in IT, most would argue that legal firms that leverage cloud solutions will be more secure and have better disaster recovery capabilities.  

Do the contracts with cloud providers deliver the data protection that attorneys are bound to?  The answer to that question lies within the agreements of the prospective vendor partner you are considering.  

Attorneys need access to their data, right now and at different locations.  Whether at a clients’ office or in the courtroom, having access to all of the legal documents, exhibits, and data related evidence and backup information is essential.  We all know of multiple file access and sharing solutions available to us; therefore, the determining factors lie in finding the solution that best suits the needs for access availability, sharing protocols, security and redundancy.  

Another consideration is whether the solution is to be temporary - for when you are out of the office IT network or sharing data with parties outside of your organization – or if it is incorporated into your permanent internal workflow process.

A lot of time and money is invested in the documents that attorneys create.  Those documents also need to be retained for durations specified by the record-keeping mandates of each state.  As a result, backup, archival and disaster recovery measures need to be considered as part of the selection process for the most appropriate solution for your law firm.  

Whether choosing one of the myriad cloud-based data backup solutions on the market or utilizing internal IT infrastructure, successful data retention and recovery is necessary. Redundancy of that data – having the data backed up in multiple locations – is mandatory. Client-attorney privilege and the protection of a client’s interests is a cardinal rule in the legal world.  Because of that, the protection of data is paramount. The security measures in place to protect the data during all phases of the data lifecycle - while actively being used, backed up or archived – is a critical consideration when searching for the best solution.  

What security protocols are in place?  How often are firewall, anti-intrusion, anti-virus and patch management updates implemented?  Are typical update schedules utilized or is the data protected with zero-day protection, meaning updates are pushed and implemented as soon as a potential threat is discovered?

Most law firms have a team of attorneys and associates working on behalf of their clients. Having an IT environment that affords a high level of collaboration both at the data and software level significantly enhances productivity and efficiency.

Do hosted desktops have a place in the legal field?  Whether internally deployed or delivered by a qualified IT managed services provider, hosted desktop environments are capable of delivering all of these data, software and hardware driven demands, with the caveat that they must be architected, managed and deployed by a highly-qualified party.

These environments are highly customizable and even afford law firms the option of employing a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. There are certainly additional considerations and policies to be thought through with BYOD; however, it can be successfully accomplished and deployed while maintaining a highly secure environment.  

In todays’ computing environment, the capabilities and options are staggering.  New solutions, applications and hardware hit the market every day. The exposure to new cybersecurity threats arise daily as well. The key is to be thoughtful about the primary objectives that you and your firm desire to accomplish as it relates to the creation, utilization, sharing and protection of your data. Once those objectives are in place, thorough research will unveil what path and end solution is best for your organization. For a no cost IT and cloud readiness assessment, visit for more information.

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