Cloud computing

Cloud Computing Models for the Enterprise Law Firm

August 8, 2017

A decade has passed, and the Internet is now ubiquitous across every market and business category. Cell phone usage has increased exponentially. Digital connectivity has enabled us to scale our businesses in new ways. For small law firms, cloud computing has allowed us access to some of the same tools that larger firms have been using for decades. Mid to large size law firms now have cloud computing options that they never had in the past, which can free up the revenue they have traditionally spent on on-site deployments.

Clearly, cloud computing is here to stay. The next step, though, is for enterprise level law firms to determine if – and how — they will leverage cloud computing. There are several options, including the elimination of on-premise servers to migrate to the cloud in a public or private pipeline or select a hybrid mix somewhere between the two.

This article looks at your options.

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Elements of the Cloud

Cloud computing is currently being used by law firms of all sizes for:

  • Online collaboration
  • Storage
  • Software services and tools
  • Shared calendars
  • Communication
  • Research
  • Marketing

These tools help law firms manage, operate, and promote their business. The ABA suggests that cloud adoption is increasing in law firms, but some of the larger firms are lagging behind national trends.

If your law firm is considering adopting a cloud computing infrastructure or adding cloud services, you have several options to consider:

  • Public Cloud
    The public cloud offers users a shared Internet experience. On the backend, this means that your data is housed with others on a shared server at an offsite data center. These data centers are securely managed by the cloud provider and can be scaled up, should you need more data storage. If you’re accessing software such as, or law firm-specific applications it’s probable that you’re accessing this software through the public cloud. The beauty of the public cloud is that this is a very inexpensive service that can scale up quickly should you need more bandwidth.
  • Private Cloud
    The private cloud is your own superhighway straight into the Internet. A cloud service provider would allow a pipeline that is dedicated completely to your business. You may have a dedicated storage server, or it may be located offsite at a data center.Private cloud providers include Microsoft Azure. Azure lets you securely store information in the global-network of Microsoft data centers. The service will not degrade as more users leverage the service. But it is a more complicated and costly configuration for your business to adopt.

    Private cloud services are often controlled and managed by a managed service provider. These types of outsourced providers typically handle security and monitoring of this cloud computing model. These services are often characterized by a high up time and they often include disaster recovery options that help your business continue on in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

  • Hybrid Cloud
    Hybrid cloud models are very popular because they blend the private and public clouds. In these instances, the law firm will maintain both private and public access cloud computing. These models are in vogue currently because they provide system redundancy that you cannot get with just a public or just a private cloud.The hybrid cloud lets you shift pipes if there is a rapid increase in demand. You can also shift usage to take advantage of cost savings. With the private or hybrid cloud, law firms can take advantage of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or platform as a service (PaaS) models.

    The biggest benefit of using any of these models is to allow any size law firm to eliminate the costly hardware, software, and infrastructure it takes to build out an on-site server room.

Managed Services

Today, many law firms are choosing to outsource their technology applications to a managed service provider. These outsourced technology experts can supplement existing in-house IT teams, or stand alone as your exclusive resource. The benefits of MSPs are that they can pay for themselves in increased network security and 24/7/365 monitoring of your network. These IT professionals are in the business of staying abreast of the latest innovation and the latest cyber security threats. They can help eliminate the risks associated with online document collaboration and other shared services that make your business run smoothly but create risk.

Today, clients expect an ultra-secure data environment, along with the immediacy of cloud computing. Law firms have realized that hosting hardware on premises is no longer a cost effective or secure approach in the cloud computing era.

Get a free assessment to find out which model is best for your business.

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