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September 30, 2016
Cloud service providers have a lot to offer the law firm, especially small firms, startup firms, and firms that are growing rapidly. Cloud providers can serve in many single capacities (such as providing backup and disaster relief services or acting as a centralized data repository for document management) or can serve as the sum total of the law firm’s IT department in the capacity of IT managed services. So, how do you select the cloud provider that’s right for your business?
1. Is Your Firm Ready for the Cloud?
First, be sure your law firm is ready for the cloud. This requires assessing the health of your current IT infrastructure, as well as the security protocols and processes you have in place. The right cloud service provider can help you assess your readiness for the cloud, as well as help you prepare for the migration to cloud services.
2. Will the Cloud Service Provider Take the Time to Get to Know Your Firm?
Many cloud services are built and offered as a one-size-fits-all solution. Rarely is any business service developed and built perfectly for every single business! Look for a service provider willing to get to know you and your law firm. Even if you’re one of 15 different real estate law firms or criminal law firms or tax law firms in the city, yours is unique and has special needs. Don’t contract with a service provider not willing to get to know what makes your firm tick.
3. It’s About Value, Not Just Price
A cloud vendor is more like a business partnership than a supplier relationship. While the cloud offers significant cost savings over traditional onsite IT products and services, going the cheapest route is rarely worth the savings. The price is usually lower because they don’t offer great uptimes (that means their services might be down a lot), their services don’t come with the support and training your staff needs, or maybe their customer service is shoddy. Instead of comparing cloud service providers head-to-head in terms of price, compare their products and services and weigh those values against the overall price.
4. How Easy are Their Services to Implement?
One of the key selling points of the cloud is easy implementation, so if on-boarding with your cloud provider is a big, fat headache — what’s the point? Look for a cloud provider that has well-designed processes and procedures for migrating your data to the cloud and other steps that need to be taken to get on-boarded with their services.
5. How Much Support Comes with Their Services?
Some cloud service providers include after-sales support with their pricing, and others offer this as an optional service. Often, when you see a considerable discrepancy in prices among cloud services, this is the reason why. Also, find out if the services are only provided for a certain length of time or if the support continues as long as you are under contract with the cloud provider.
Does it sound like there’s a lot more to this cloud computing thing than you expected? That’s okay! There is help. Get your complimentary copy of Greg Hanna’s book ‘Computers Should Just Work!’ now.
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