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Answering Cloud Concerns at Your Law Firm…

Moving to the cloud is a big decision for any company. Nearly everyone knows what the cloud is, yet there is still a lot of confusion and uncertainty about when, how, and why a company should move their IT to the cloud. If you are a proponent of cloud but have to overcome concerns in your firm about the cloud, how do you address it?  Here, I discuss ways to overcome some common misconceptions.

Myth 1: Cloud is complex. I have no idea what it even is!

The term “cloud” represents a very broad spectrum of services.  To simplify, let’s break it down into 2 thoughts:

Cloud is outsourcing. Your firm has likely already determined it did not want to handle certain functions in-house. Perhaps you utilize of counsel attorneys, use a payroll service, a cleaning staff, and rent your office. In fact, your firm exists because people outsource their legal services. Utilizing the cloud is just another outsourcing method for IT that comes with many inherent benefits.

Likely, your firm and its people are already using cloud and may not even know it. Netflix, Amazon, and iCloud are very popular services used by many people.  Your law firm’s email is likely already in the cloud and many of your business partners and clients all leverage business cloud services.  Reminding people of this will make cloud seem like just another step forward, not a complete leap into the unknown.

Myth 2: The cloud is less secure.

Ownership and control can make people feel secure. Therefore, reassurance is taken from the fact that the server that contains all of the firms’ and clients’ files are locked in your secure server room. The problem is that physically protecting your server is not really the risk we need to solve. Rather, a technical security breach is the most likely way your network and data would be compromised. In fact, the physical location of the server in your office has little bearing on how secure it actually is. Educating people about the risks that we need to protect the business from will allow you to explain how the cloud helps reduce these risks. A cloud service inherently provides the expertise and infrastructure necessary to secure your firm’s application and data.

Myth 3: Moving in is easy. Moving out is hard!

Every cloud provider has a process to both onboard and offboard your firm. In most instances, offboarding is just a simple reversal of the onboarding process. A good provider will be able to explain how the offboarding process works to ease any concerns.

Myth 4: Cloud will save me money.

It is a widely held belief that cloud will save a business money because many consumer cloud products have advertised this benefit. Therefore, people automatically believe the same is true for business cloud services. When reviewing a cloud service, it is imperative to discuss a firm’s needs and become educated on how cloud better caters to those needs when compared to an on-premise solution. Most importantly, it is imperative to assign value to the inherent functionality provided by the cloud that the on-premise solution cannot provide without additional infrastructure, i.e. security, backup, business continuity, etc. In the end, there may not be a great cost savings, but generally, there will be a better return on your IT investment from cloud without the responsibility or complexity of ownership.

Myth 5: Going cloud is easy.

Like any change, moving your IT to the cloud needs planning. It is vital to take time to plan, design, and execute the migration of any service because the move has the potential to affect many people and how they work. There are often many integrations that need to be accounted for, some you may not even be aware of. A good cloud provider will explain that the migration is a disruptive process, by nature, but will plan to minimize all disruptions.

Myth 6: Cloud is a trend, not the future.

The cloud is not a trend that will disappear in a few years. The notion of delivering services in a centralized way has been around for a while, and the cloud is here to stay.  Every year, more businesses leverage the cloud so services are constantly evolving and being enhanced and developed. The overall benefits – simplicity, security, backup, business continuity, scalability, and less or no hardware (and therefore no upgrades!) – are inherent in cloud and will continue to ensure that more firms realize these benefits in the future.

The cloud does not have to be a big or scary endeavor for a company. Business owners and managers must be prudent in their decision to migrate to the cloud, but once they’re there, they will find that it’s more reliable and more functional than other option.


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