Between the 2016 and 2017 editions of the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Survey Report, the number of lawyers relying on cloud computing escalated by 40%. Seeing this dramatic change in only a year shows how cloud technology has become a proven platform for law firms of all sizes. However, if your firm still manages your case records and files completely onsite at your office, it’s natural to feel hesitation about cloud-based case management software.
That said, it’s worth noting your firm probably already relies on cloud-based software. If you use a CRM, view bank accounts online, do legal research, share drafts on Google docs, or rely on Dropbox for storage, then you already rely on the cloud for your firm’s business. But these technologies are only the beginning. The purpose of this post is to ease your worries about relying on cloud-based legal solutions by showing three ways cloud-based case management software can benefit your firm.
Every time your paralegals or lawyers need to access or send a document related to a matter, they first have to find it. If your onsite storage is organized into clear folders and drives, this process might take a minute or two (assuming your staff regularly updates each case file, which takes additional time). However, these minutes add up. Because each staff member interacts with hundreds of files every week, hours are lost finding and organizing your case files.
The best, well-designed cloud-based case management solutions solves this problem by storing all case files in a shared online location that can only be accessed by authorized users. This means every document related to a matter can be found with a simple search instead of clicking through multiple directories. What’s more, this cloud-based file system means everyone on your staff accesses the same version of a file—removing the risk of mistakes by sharing older drafts of key documents.
By managing your cases on cloud-based software, your firm’s lawyers and paralegals can access key case information faster and with more flexibility. Today’s attorneys need to be able to work and access case information anywhere. Instead of having to be at a computer in order to read case updates, cloud-based case management allows your staff to consume key information on any approved device, anywhere.
The result? Cloud-based case management gives you fast and flexible access to the latest versions of key case files. This not only saves the time spent searching for files, but also reduces the risk of losing a file thanks to the cloud’s built-in backup system.
Yes, you read that right. With the sophisticated encryption and security available in private cloud technology, your case data will be better protected in the cloud than if you only store it onsite at your firm.
Onsite storage of critical case files might seem more secure because you can contain the files on a single hard drive or file cabinet. However, if a burst pipe or adverse weather event destroys that hard drive, your case data is gone. Similarly, if your data is stored on a single computer, a cyberattack aimed at stealing or deleting your files can ruin your business—all it takes is one employee clicking the wrong email link. And if someone breaks into your law office, it’s much easier to find and remove physical storage than to hack into a private cloud.
Compare this to cloud-based case management software. In the cloud, all your data is not only backed up in multiple servers in multiple locations, but any access to that data will be governed by strong encryption and security features. The best case management solutions may even have their own patented security technology. Providers of cloud-based legal software take security especially seriously because they know law firms have rigorous confidentiality needs. You can also enable more secure practices for cloud technology (such as two-factor authentication) to prevent your employees from making mistakes with sensitive case information.
This doesn’t mean onsite storage is obsolete. It’s helpful to back up critical data on hard drives outside the cloud in case you need to restore a previous version (such as if you suffer a ransomware attack). However, this physical storage is not more secure than a private cloud, so it’s best to think of these hardware solutions as contingency plans rather than your go-to option.
Cost-efficiency has always been one of the strengths of cloud technology, and cloud-based case management is no exception. Because cloud-based software requires no onsite resources besides the device you use to access the internet, you never need to worry about upgrading servers or paying for hardware storage in order to keep your equipment on the cutting edge. The only price you pay for the cloud software is a single subscription fee.
By relying on software providers to manage all the servers and software updates, your firm also never needs to worry about installing the latest versions of case management software. In short, cloud-based case management delivers a dual savings:
- Eliminating hardware spend on servers and storage, and
- Saving you the time spent on maintaining patches and software updates.
Find Out What Cloud-Based Case Management Software Can Do for Your Firm
Legal software in the cloud can deliver better security, better access to information, better redundancy, and better efficiency than onsite case management. However, it’s important to remember that flexibility is a key part of the cloud.
Your cloud-based case management should be customizable to fit the unique processes and preferences of your firm. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to any practice. What’s more, any cloud-based legal software provider should offer in-depth onboarding and customer service to make sure you’re getting the right cloud for your needs.
If you’d like to learn more about what cloud-based case management can do for your law firm, one of our experts will be glad to answer any questions you have.
Eric Sanchez serves as Chief Product Officer of GrowPath.
Eric has a well-earned reputation for logistics, efficiency and technical savvy, born from his diverse background and from his over seventeen years as an executive in what has become the largest plaintiffs’ practice in North Carolina.