Put Your Head in the Cloud

Virginia Bisek

If you are worried about putting client information in the hands of others – don’t be. Recent cloud technologies and a bit of footwork can enable you to save time, resources and money while still keeping your data safe and secure.

The advantages of cloud computing are simply too numerous to ignore for small firms or solo practitioners. One lawyer can single-handedly expand, handle more clients, control costs and overhead – and, indeed, compete with the big firms – by going virtual and welcoming the cloud.

What Can You Do if You Cloud?

Although the concept is simple – greater mobility through increased efficiencies by accessing your virtual office 24/7 from any device – there are complexities. Concerns over costs, privacy, security and compliance issues continue to be raised in the legal profession, but the handwriting is on the wall. Lawyers are increasingly moving to the cloud.

What can you do if you cloud? Improve client communications, share files, keep records, videoconference, track progress, account management, practice management, document management… the list goes on.

3 Types of Clouds

There are three types of clouds:

Public: A third-party service built and managed on a third-party platform. The costs and level of services vary, and issues of data security are the highest in this category.

Private: Built and managed entirely within your company’s IT system, using your own servers and hardware. You have complete control over security, but it’s costly.

Hybrid: A combination of public and private platforms for a tailored solution. Your internal team can oversee sensitive data in-house, while using a public service for less sensitive material.

Vet Your Vendor

Regardless of the type you choose, vet your third-party cloud vendor. These companies should be able to identify, authenticate and track user information using industry standard methods.

The key is choosing a company that employs data encryption and identity verification. And the questions to ask yourself are “How do you currently back up your system?” And “What happens in the event of an emergency?”

The law is going virtual. Don’t be the last to cloud.

About the author:

v-bisekGinger  Bisek helps create better websites as copywriter and content developer and has assisted bar associations from the Bay Area, California to Austin, Texas. Visit www.virginiabisek.com or email her at ginger@virginiabisek.com.