Many Canadian law firms are jumping on the cloud bandwagon, and for a good reason. Some of the many advantages of cloud computing include flexibility, disaster recovery, security, document control, and increased collaboration. However, despite the many benefits associated with transitioning to the cloud, it is crucial that these law firms keep in mind that cloud solutions are not automatically one-size-fits-all. Canadian law firms moving to the cloud should consider and employ these technology strategies to ensure the move is as successful as possible.
1. Have a Plan or Strategy
When it comes to any new endeavor, it is always a good idea to have a plan or strategy. Moving to the cloud will be a move that transforms your law firm’s delivery model. It is essential to come up with a predetermined plan and to follow it to fruition, making adjustments as you see fit. When drafting a plan for your law firm to move to the cloud, focus on new projects first and then work on transitioning your old projects to the cloud. You will save yourself time and effort by viewing new projects through a “cloud-first” lens versus not taking the cloud into account initially and having to transition these projects to the cloud later. Also, employing these new projects with the cloud in mind will give you the experience and confidence you need to transition older projects to the cloud.
2. Conduct a Full Assessment of Your Environment
Before beginning your law firm’s transition to the cloud, you should conduct a full assessment of your law firm’s data center and IT environment. You should know precisely what your law firm owns as well as what is currently in operation. Determine areas where the cloud could genuinely make a positive impact on the unique capabilities that it offers.
3. Train Your Staff
There’s no use in transitioning to the cloud if your staff doesn’t have the skills and knowledge to take advantage of this relatively new technology. You should train your IT team for the transition. Topics that you should focus on include operating virtual machines, managing and monitoring systems in the cloud, and migration issues. You should also ensure that the senior management of your law firm fully supports the move. Make the upfront cost of the cloud infrastructure clear to the senior management, but also be sure to emphasize the advantages associated with cloud solutions.
Resistance to change could hinder your ability to transition your law firm to the cloud. If you suspect that you may encounter some resistance, you should consider moving less significant aspects to the cloud first. For example, you could start the transition to the cloud by running customer management software first.
4. Integrate Security
A common mistake that many organizations make when moving to the cloud is failing to integrate security every step of the way. You should make sure your cloud provider and your law firm are both aware of what aspects of security they hold responsibility for. The language should be as easy to understand as possible in the business associate agreements as well as the contracts.
Many organizations mistakenly believe that building a wall around their organization is sufficient to keep hackers out. However, many of the recent security breaches have shown that this not the case. No matter how sophisticated a firewall is, hackers will manage to get in eventually. Unfortunately, security breaches last longer than 200 days on average before detection. Therefore, it is essential that you know the capabilities of your cloud provider when it comes to compliance and security.
It is particularly important that you know who is responsible for the data. The availability capabilities of public clouds tend to be low by difficult. Cooling, power, and physical hardware maintenance is required for migration to a public cloud. Keep your needs when it comes to data recoverability and availability in mind when crafting a cloud infrastructure for your law firm.
5. Change the Way Your Law Firm Operates
To truly take advantage of everything cloud has to offer, you need to change the way your law firm operates. Transitioning to the cloud will change the way your users seek support or request applications. As a result, your users will no longer have any need for specific resources. Accordingly, you need to refine the operation of your law firm to ensure resources aren’t being wasted and that your law firm is taking full advantage of the cloud’s capabilities.
Moving to the cloud is a huge step for most law firms. If you want to ensure your law firm’s transition to the cloud is as successful as possible, be sure to incorporate these five technology strategies into your plan for adopting a cloud solution. Also, don’t try to transition your law firm to the cloud entirely on your own. Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about cloud computing for law offices and the process of transitioning to the cloud.
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