We all have seen cloud technology quickly becoming more popular after the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and today, everyone is talking about it. In fact, the legal sector (which has been reluctant to adopting technology) is now driving efficiencies and productivity using cloud-based legal software and tools. As a result, law firms moved to the cloud experience improved data storage and security, excellent collaboration, enhanced operational flexibility, and optimized workflow, leading to better outcomes and cost savings.
Going further, to get an idea of what the future would look like, let’s check this cloud stat.
By the end of 2021, cloud data centers will process 94% of workloads, while traditional data centers will process the remaining 6%. Source
This indicates that traditional data centers are on the verge of going obsolete and might be replaced by cloud data centers in the future.
Although cloud computing development is unstoppable and will continue to do wonders for businesses across sectors, including the legal industry, law offices face various difficulties in using the cloud. This piece of writing discusses some common cloud computing challenges for law firms.
3 Core Challenges for Law Firms Utilizing Cloud Computing
1. Complying with Data Privacy Regulations
According to a survey conducted on technical executives, practitioners, and managers of cloud technologies worldwide, 81% of respondents found security as a significant challenge. Source
Many professionals working in the legal sector have talked about their concerns regarding moving to cloud computing. These concerns have emerged due to the need to comply with data privacy regulations.
ALM’s annual Am Law-LTN Tech Survey (responses from almost half of the Am Law 200) revealed that cybersecurity threats were a big concern for around 77% of respondents while ‘outsiders attempting to break into the data network’ were the biggest reason to worry for approximately 23% respondents. Source
Additionally, several countries have specific laws for data and cloud usage. For instance, many countries or regions may have standard regulations for cloud data usage, while others may have a particular set of guidelines on data sharing.
Moreover, since law firms collect and store a massive amount of highly sensitive, personal data of their clients and case-relevant persons, they become the prime targets of scammers and cybercriminals.
A 2019 ABA Cybersecurity Tech Report found around 26% of law firms had experienced a type of security breach. Source
If you (as a law firm owner) are also facing such or similar challenges, the best you can do is first become completely aware of the data privacy regulations applicable in your province. Secondly, discuss your requirements and talk about your concerns with your cloud service provider. That way, they might be able to ensure keeping your data protected, helping you meet all data security obligations.
2. Lack of Resources or Expertise
Another big challenge that companies (law firms are no exception here) are facing nowadays is a lack of required resources or expertise.
By the end of this year, 75% of the total cloud workloads will be managed on SaaS, growing from 71% (2016) at a CAGR of 23% between 2016 and 2021. Source
Law firms, especially in the new normal, are increasingly going digital, and why not when the courts accept e signatures, digital documents, virtual hearings, etc. However, while digital and cloud adoption in legal is at its best, law businesses also experience a need for technologically skilled lawyers and paralegals to make the best out of cloud-based legal software.
To meet these objectives, law firm owners have three options:
Hiring tech-savvy legal professionals
Hiring external legal support services
Investing in training existing legal staff
While the first option’s effectiveness majorly depends upon your law office’s location, the second option can be of great help. Some legal back-office functions can reduce the work burden and increase efficiency while eliminating the need to invest in technologies required to handle those functions. And the third option has it all; invest in training your staff and grow more in-house skills, capabilities, leading to increased productivity.
3. Managing Cost of Cloud Services
Law firms are moving to the cloud and effortlessly enhancing their operational capabilities without investing heavy amounts of money purchasing new computer systems. In fact, in case they need to scale up a cloud service, they can simply do it via pay-per-use models from both public and private cloud providers.
However, as cloud computing is flexibly available and scalable on-demand, it sometimes becomes challenging for law firm owners to determine and decide on their actual service requirements and budgets. So, yes, the next big challenge for law firms is to manage the cost of cloud-based legal software and services they subscribe for.
Here, the optimum solution could be establishing a framework for assessing cloud costs and setting up budgets. Then, by knowing their expenses on cloud services, they can decide how much they can invest or how much they need to cut down. That way, they can realize how they should make the best suitable cloud computing investment and manage costs.
After knowing what could be the potential challenges for your law firm, let’s conclude this article with an all-in-one solution.
Choosing the Right Partner for Cloud Services
Searching and selecting the right cloud vendors can take a lot of time and be a tiresome task; however, it doesn’t really have to be. There’s already a lot that you have to do, for instance, examining and comparing functionality differences of various cloud solutions, testing their security protocols and measures, and what now so that you can reach a final decision. By putting in a little more effort, you will be able to shortlist and decide on a cloud service provider that best suits your needs and budget.
Despite being slow in adopting technology, the legal sector appears to be fast heading toward cloud computing. In a few years from now, cloud computing will likely become a standard approach to process and operations optimization in the legal industry.