Key Takeaways From The 2019 Cloud Computing Report By The ABA

 

On Oct. 2, 2019, the American Bar Association released its 2019 Cloud Computing report highlighting the changing relationship between law firms and the cloud. From concerns and questions to moving towards the future, we have summarized some of the most important and surprising information obtained from the ABA 2019 Legal Technology Survey.

Cloud Technology Is Slowly But Surely Becoming The Norm For Law Firms

Some of the most promising news from the survey is more law firms are using cloud services. The number increased from 55% in 2018, to 58% in 2019. Surprisingly, this technology is being utilized more often by individual and small firms, at 60% of those surveyed, while only 44% of larger firms with 50-99 lawyers have adopted it.

Though this increase is small, it’s a move in the right direction.

Security Fears And Loss Of Control Are Holding Law Firms Back

Cloud users and nonusers had similar reservations about the still relatively new technology. The survey found that 65% of current cloud users identified “confidentiality/security concerns” as their biggest concern. Similarly, 50% of nonusers reported not having tried the cloud due to the same concern.

Considering the cloud is one of the most secure ways to store data due to its redundancy, security and safe sharing methods that Forbes outlines, these numbers come as a surprise. If law firms are not adopting the cloud, what are they using? There should always be multiple copies of important documents, ideally stored in different locations. Unlike hard drives and physical paperwork, the cloud will always store duplicates in multiple places, so even if the worst case scenario occurs, your data will most likely still be accessible.

On the same note, lawyers are also concerned about losing control of data. This was the second largest pain point for both users and nonusers. The results from this portion of the survey did not change much from the prior year, which is disappointing. There’s a long way to go when it comes to educating law firms about how beneficial cloud technology is for securing sensitive documents without losing control.

The majority of law firms have reservations about using the cloud due to cybersecurity threats_Afinety, Inc.The majority of law firms have reservations about using the cloud due to cybersecurity threats.

Law Practice Contradictory Behavior On Cloud Computing Is Alarming

One of the biggest, and most concerning, pieces of information gained from the survey is the contradiction between lawyers’ understanding of the cloud and their actual use and implementation of it.

Even though more law firms are now using the cloud, they are dropping the ball surrounding cybersecurity. Considering security and control are their top concerns, it’s odd that their behavior does not reflect this.

The ABA does not hold back with their dissatisfaction with these results, and considers the lack of effort on security to be, “a major cause for concern in the profession.” To give more context, the survey listed 13 standard precautionary security measures. The most commonly used was by only 35%, and it was using secure socket layers. Beyond that, the numbers get more dismal.

Only 28% of respondents reviewed their vendor privacy policies, down from 38% that did last year. Again, if security is a main concern, reviewing privacy policies should be the first thing law firms do with their cloud provider. Numbers for security measures were down across the board, a fact that the ABA is explicitly upset about.

Another interesting point the ABA highlights is the lack of legal formality that lawyers take with their cloud vendors. A meager 4% of respondents negotiated a confidentiality agreement with their provider, and barely 5%, arranged service legal agreements. These disappointing numbers around these actions lawyers should be well-versed in leaves the ABA questioning technology competency requirements.

Finally, the overwhelming majority of law firms (94%) consider vendor reputation to be important when selecting a cloud provider. When looking for a cloud service provider for your firm, consider the Afinety Cloud Platform.   ACP is a cloud network designed for law firms by law firm experts.  With a focus on the legal industry since 1986, Afinety understands the unique challenges law firms face when it comes to data protection and proper configuration of a cloud network.

With An Overabundance Of Digital Evidence, The Cloud Can Help Law Firms Stay Organized

The cloud is the best tool for keeping digital evidence organized and protected.

Case Study – AlvaradoSmith Reaches the Cloud With Afinety

AlvaradoSmith Saw 25% Cost Reduction With Afinety Cloud Platform

The legal world has changed a lot over the years, notably in how legal professionals do their jobs and interact with clients. Cloud platforms have impacted virtually every industry and promise to bring a multitude of benefits to those that adopt the technology. The question for law firms is, how can they take advantage of the cloud in a secure, productive way? Law firm AlvaradoSmith experienced the viability and the power of the cloud first-hand.

IT Network Changed To Afinety Cloud Platform To Achieve Goals

With 3 offices and 57 users, AlvaradoSmith represents defendants and plaintiffs with respective civil litigation, corporate and intellectual property cases. The firm handles employment and mortgage matters as well, supporting businesses of all sizes as well as individuals. With so many different kinds of clients and cases that could come through their doors, it was important to keep files confidential while also ensuring that AlvaradoSmith staff could easily access necessary information.

File cabinets and large folders are no longer viable for modern law firms. Papers can easily be misplaced, stolen or destroyed. The cloud has increasingly become the answer to these issues, providing an online platform for accessibility, mobility and flexibility. Office Coordinator, Gianna Stover, noted that data security is a major concern in the law industry, particularly as ransomware becomes a more prevalent threat. Clients want to ensure that their documents and information are protected, making it necessary to adopt a platform that can meet these needs. That’s where Afinety has made the greatest impact.

Migrating To Afinety Cloud Platform (ACP)

When it came to upgrading the existing on-premises network, AlvaradoSmith wanted to increase mobility for attorneys and ensure security across the board. Many AlvaradoSmith attorneys travel, and the fact that they could get on a laptop outside of the office without an on- premises network was a major advantage. Stover and the firm’s partners met with the Afinety team and discussed what life would be like once the Afinety Cloud Platform Network, powered by AWS would be implemented. They believed it sounded too simple and too good to be true, but once the solution was rolled out, their perception changed.

“The nicest part, which was one of our key selling points, was that we didn’t have to reinvent how we were practicing and what we were doing,” Stover said. “Our programs translated over into the Afinety Cloud Platform seamlessly. We were able to function as we did in the on-premises network and we didn’t have to change every piece that we used.  We just simply transitioned over.”

With Afinety, AlvaradoSmith was able to maintain and improve productivity. Afinety experts walked the organization through the migration step by step, and with diligent, methodical planning, the project progressed to completion without a scramble to get everything done. With their previous network, Stover described how each person was connected to the onsite servers. If one computer was affected by an outage, all users would be affected, creating an issue in rebuilding the workstation and getting everyone back online. The Afinety Cloud Platform runs on Amazon Web Services and provides a separate cloud workspace for every user, thus eliminating the possibility of one workstation affecting another.  If issues do arise, Afinety’s experts provide faster troubleshooting support to eliminate lag time and enable easier login processes.

Measurable Results Gained From ACP

Seeing the benefits of the Afinety Cloud Platform first-hand demonstrates the technology’s true power and serves as an example for how other law firms can reap these same advantages. Stover noted that the solution is more cost-effective than their previous setup, saving the firm over 25 percent compared to an onsite network! In addition, productivity has noticeably improved. Legal professionals at AlvaradoSmith now have faster, more secure remote flexibility that wasn’t available before. They can work remotely when they need to, not even thinking about the network. That’s the true experience of a solid cloud network.

The Afinety Cloud Platform runs on Amazon Web Services, making it a turnkey, secure solution for law firm needs. Storing data on this platform helps put minds at ease since AWS uses batch encryptions and other security parameters to protect sensitive data effectively. This ensures that client confidentiality can be upheld and that industry regulations are in compliance. Afinety has strong track record serving law firms since 1986, with more and more clients moving to the cloud each day.

 

What’s Holding Law Firms Back From The Cloud?

Why Are Law Practices Reluctant In Going To The Cloud

Outdated technology can be a burden on companies in any industry, and law firms are no exception. The abilities to keep information secure, recall important data at a moment’s notice and operate consistently, without miscommunication or downtime, have become universal needs for modern organizations. Law firms that can’t operate on this bare minimum level of performance may find themselves falling behind others’ capabilities. By failing to consider tech upgrades, firms may be causing these problems for themselves.

The good news for law firms that have been too resistant to updating IT systems thus far is that the solution for such problems is relatively simple and self-evident. When organizations adopt new technologies on a cloud model, they can skip the large capital expenditures and intense demands on employees’ time that come along with such in-house changes. The main obstacle keeping businesses from making such an upgrade may now be psychological.

Confronting Doubts And Hesitation

Being bound by tradition and age-old practices can be a great burden on companies, one law firms may be dealing with as they consider getting their technology in line with modern standards. Organizations dealing with large server rooms and decades of specialized applications may feel trapped by the infrastructures they’ve built, unable to jump into the cloud waters. Fortunately, the situation is not actually that desperate. The way to the cloud may prove surprisingly smooth.
Contributing to National Law Review, Jaliz Maldonado suggested there are mistaken assumptions circulating about the cloud. For instance, internal IT teams may be suspicious of the cloud’s security capabilities, or assume that cloud service providers are major causes of data breaches. Those facts don’t line up with the market as it exists today, however. Indeed, top cloud provider employees have extensive security training, while their products are carefully monitored and approved for use in regulated industries.

Furthermore, Maldonado called out the assumption that cloud technology is still immature. This opinion isn’t so much wrong as outdated. The cloud has spent more than a decade maturing into its present form, and solutions that may have not passed muster in the past have become essential and respected parts of companies’ digital tool kits. Failure to keep up with development could be keeping companies from achieving peak efficiency.

Another common suggestion from internal IT workers is that there’s no need to replace present infrastructure. While these employees may believe they’re hewing to a sensible “If it isn’t broken” mentality, yet a refusal to consider the cloud may leave them stuck with greater costs in the future. As Maldonado pointed out, a switch to the cloud enables rolling updates rather than the capital expense of changing systems whenever they become outdated.

An aging computer from the 90s to represent old technology_AfinetyOld technology can hold companies back.

Watching New Firms Thrive

According to The Legal Intelligencer, there are numerous examples of newly formed law firms embrace cloud technology and reap the resulting benefits. Rather than obscure cases, these are instructive examples for organizations of all sizes and ages. There’s a universal need for the upgrades these young businesses are making, and their new status quo is sure to be the envy of any law firm stuck with an overcomplicated or weakening legacy system.
The overhead costs of using in-house IT made the cloud a more palatable options to the boutique firm founders who spoke with The Legal Intelligencer. Dealing with traditional record-keeping, whether that means servers, filing cabinets or both, calls for massive investments in space, physical infrastructure and constant oversight. The cloud’s operational expense structure can take some of the pressure off of companies, as can reduced computing power needs – when applications aren’t running on premises, PCs don’t have to have as much processing might.

The news provider added that there’s a clear path to similar cloud-based savings for established firms as well as the startups making the leap. The main challenge may be the complexity of moving over years of systems and the fact that ingrained practices and technologies can create inertia among staff and management alike. Organizations that overcome these factors can achieve the same efficiency and cost benefits experienced by today’s forward-thinking founders.

As time passes, conventional wisdom about the need to keep old servers may be changing. The money being poured into these systems can be seen as a sunk cost rather than a true investment. Endlessly maintaining and replacing outdated hardware eventually costs more than it’s worth.

How Law Firms Can Go Paperless

Benefits Of A Paperless Office

Experts and industry analysts have been touting the benefits of a paperless office for some years. While part of this movement has been driven by the shift toward environmentally friendly practices, digitizing workflow produces a multitude of additional benefits. Law offices can save time, money and improve security through making the switch from paper to digital, to say nothing of reducing carbon footprint.

While the idea of digitization can sound intimidating, especially with an older law firm, the process doesn’t have to be a painful. Going paperless has been attempted and refined by various legal enterprises over the years. Firms today can learn from past examples, as well as more properly understand the documented benefits of a digital office workflow.

Preparing To Go Paperless

The American Bar Association recommended that law offices, no matter how eager, not simply launch into the digitization process. While newer firms can establish a digital workflow on day one, older firms likely have many physical files on location. These contain confidential information on active and past clients. Before the paperless environment can be fully realized, these documents must be scanned into the network.
Digital documents can exist in a multitude of places, including on a computer, a server, a flash drive or in the cloud. When legal firms begin the digitization process, they should already have a chosen data receptacle in mind.

Organization methods should also be determined before a legal firm begins to go paperless. One of the largest drives behind the move to digital is increased productivity, but that won’t happen if various lawyers and legal assistants are all filing data in different locations without consulting one another. Before scanning begins, have a meeting and outline the categorization methods that will be utilized.

Once this is done, a naming structure should also be determined. Law firms want to be professional and orderly so having a system where any employee can quickly find the information needed is a benefit. If one attorney is naming case files as “client documents” while another labels them “case documents,” the potential for confusion greatly increases.

Lastly, a secure paper disposal process should also be in place once the files have been scanned. Legal documents contain confidential information and should be properly shredded before being placed in recycling bins. Law offices looking to be especially careful can place shredded documents into multiple recycling stations to reduce the risk of the papers being reassembled.

Afinety takes law practices digital on the cloud_Afinety Cloud PlatformFile digitization should be treated with the same care as traditional paper organization.

Redesigning Office Space To Reduce Costs

Once a law firm begins the digitization process, it must understand just how transformed the workplace environment will be. It won’t be a simple matter of replacing the filing cabinets with server racks. Depending on the data storage solution, the file archives space can be completely repurposed into offices, an employee rec area or some other functional room.
Copier machines and printers will also be downsized. Without paper, the need for these machines drops dramatically. Legal firms can absorb the savings of reduced equipment needs, maintenance costs and supply ordering.

Going paperless may be an investment, but it’s one that generates value quickly. According to Nitro, 28 percent of businesses report a full ROI within 6 months. This number climbs to 84 percent after the first year and a half.

“Cloud solutions save the most room and can assist in file organization.”

Digitizing Fully With A Cloud Solution

As stated earlier, there are several options for data storage when digitizing office workflow. A cloud solution arguably represents the best option, especially for law firms worried about cybersecurity and technical support. Cloud providers help monitor their software against unauthorized access, keeping confidential data secure.
Cloud solutions, especially those tailored for the legal industry, can also assist in organization and interface for file storage.

PRESS RELEASE: Afinety Joins Forces With Netgain Technology To Expand Cloud Offerings And Expertise

Afinety positions to extend legal industry leadership and fund market penetration

Afinety, Inc. logoNetgain Technology: Secure. Specialized. IT. logo

Afinety Acquired By Netgain

Encino, Calif., August 1, 2018 – Afinety, Inc., a leading provider of cloud services and IT resources  to law firms was recently acquired by Netgain Technology, LLC.  Netgain, a leading provider of secure and specialized cloud services to highly regulated industries, continues its aggressive nationwide expansion with the acquisition of Afinety.

Founded in 1986, Afinety combined high-performance cloud solutions with superior customer service to build a strong and loyal client roster.  The Afinety Cloud Platform (“ACP”) is a rapidly growing, market-leading service that gives law firms cloud-based IT scalability, performance and security.

“Netgain is a great partner for us, we couldn’t be more excited to join the team,” said Doug Hafford, CEO of Afinety. “Netgain is dedicated to delivering high-performance, secure, cloud services to specialty vertical markets. Additionally, Netgain thrives on providing superior support to clients, so there was no question they were the right partners to help fuel our expansion in the legal services IT space.”

Afinety will leverage this transaction to extend market reach and penetration with legal practices nationwide while expanding product and service offerings for Afinety’s existing clientele.

“Afinety eliminates IT concerns for the legal practices it serves. The ACP service just works,” said Kevin Lynch, CEO at Netgain. “Afinety perfectly fit our strategy to offer purpose driven cloud services to compliance driven vertical industries in healthcare, financial services and now legal.”

Afinety will continue to operate out of the existing offices in Encino, California and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This acquisition comes shortly after the recent acquisition by Netgain of iManaged Solutions, a cloud services provider in the optometry sector. Netgain continues to seek acquisition opportunities in IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) companies specializing in serving healthcare, RIA, CPA and legal industry verticals.

Netgain’s strategy is supported by Bluff Point Associates, a private equity firm focused on growth-stage investing in the healthcare and financial services IT space. This transaction represents the third opportunity on which Netgain’s management and Bluff Point have collaborated in the past two years.

The financial terms of the acquisition were undisclosed.

Madison Park Group acted as investment banking advisor to Netgain on this transaction. Afinety was represented by Reynolds Advisory Partners, a Los Angeles-based boutique investment bank.

About Netgain Technology, LLC

Netgain Technology, LLC, a secure and specialized cloud services and technology provider, was founded in 2000 and serves highly regulated mid-market organizations, nationwide. Netgain provides highly specialized services and solutions that simplify the cloud and take the pain out of IT so highly regulated organizations can worry less about the security and reliability of their IT and return their focus to growing their practices and firms. For more information, visit https://netgaincloud.com.

About Afinety, Inc.

Since 1986, Afinety has been providing full range of IT services for small and medium size businesses. Specializing in law firms, Afinety services include cloud and on-premise networks, consultation, design, implementation, monitoring, system security, disaster recovery systems, training, macros and templates for law firms, anti-SPAM and virus screening, remote and onsite tech support and help desk services. Afinety’s business model is simple: Provide the best IT support and services with tested solutions that simply work. For more information, visit https://afinety.com.

About Bluff Point Associates

Bluff Point Associates is a private equity firm based in Westport, Conn. Bluff Point actively invests in information services companies supporting the banking, trust, securities, retirement and wealth management sectors of the financial services industry, as well as the healthcare information services sector. Bluff Point’s team collectively has decades of experience in recognizing a company’s growth potential and working with its management to reach that potential. For more information, visit http://www.bluffpt.com.

Why Legal Firms Are Switching To Cloud Computing

 What’s Driving Law Firms’ Need For The Cloud

While many sectors have been quick to embrace cloud computing, law offices have traditionally lagged behind. Part of this has to do with regulation concerns governing case data and another aspect is the lack of technical expertise not infrequently present within a law firm. However, according to a recent article from Big Law Business, legal firms are finally starting to make the shift away from in-house data centers.

This move is being prompted not just by the advantages of cloud computing but by shifting international laws and data regulations. Larger legal offices that deal with clients from around the world are finding it easier to rely on cloud technology.

Help With GDPR Adoption

A large factor driving this change is the deployment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the European Union. This law was written to better protect user privacy rights within an increasingly digital world, setting clear definitions as to what information can and cannot be discretely collected and used without the user’s informed consent.

While much of these new regulations link back to the growing prevalence of social networks, even basic communications like email and instant messenger fall under GDPR review. As such, many tech companies that service international clients, including cloud service providers, have updated their solutions to be in full compliance of the GDPR. By making the switch to the cloud, legal firms save themselves the time and energy that would be needed to ensure their data infrastructures follow the new EU law.

Reduced Storage Needs

Another large benefit of cloud solutions is the reduced need for space. Traditional filing systems included filing cabinets and, typically, an off-premise third party storage provider. This infrastructure, while solid, was easily impacted by lost or missing information, in addition to piling up sizeable annual costs – even for smaller legal firms.

Switching to a cloud solution relegates the majority of data, especially archived cases, to digital only, freeing up space and eliminating third party storage costs.

Even on-premise, digital storage requires devoting a room to servers and other hardware_Afinety, Inc.Even on-premise digital storage involves devoting a room to servers and other hardware.

Secure Data That Is Readily Available

However, space saving is not the primary reason to digitize confidential information. As the American Bar Association pointed out, cloud platforms offer a variety of benefits including improved mobility and, more importantly, data security. The vast majority of cloud solutions are designed to be transparent, letting administrators keep an eye on each aspect of the system. This reduces the time needed to detect malicious data breaches, allowing the cloud security to crack down on the problem before it is severe.

Most cloud software builds in automated responses, working to close breaches as soon as they’re detected. Storing data on the cloud also allows it to be encrypted and stored behind multiple levels of authentication, including at least one password. In addition, cloud infrastructures tend to utilize the principle of least privilege. This means that the average user has their permissions restricted to only the files they need. Doing this lowers the risk of accidental change and makes it so that, if a cybercriminal gains access to an account, the whole system does not have a chance of being compromised.

As digital laws continue to shift in response to the GDPR and other regulations, expect even more legal firms to adopt cloud platforms. A modern world calls for innovative solutions.

Cybersecurity Costs: Why Legal Firms Should Adopt Cloud Solutions

 

Every week brings a new headline about cybersecurity, or rather the data breach that has occurred because company X was hacked by cyberattack Y. Ransomware, malware, distributed denial of service, phishing – each week it’s a new culprit and a different victim. The news can be intimidating. Many of the companies being hardest hit have resources and reputations.

This creates the idea that cyberattacks are all powerful, disruptive forces that can strike anywhere at any time, rather like lightning in a storm. However, just like lightning, cyberattacks have safeguards. They can be guarded against by taking precautionary steps, many legal firms are simply dragging their feet when it comes to putting up the metaphorical lightning rod.

The Current State Of Law Firm Cybersecurity

Data from a LogicForce report confirms that many legal firms are not doing enough when it comes to matters of cybersecurity. Unlike certain industries, law offices have specific standards set on data governance and information security. The penalties for violating said regulations are severe, including loss of license and income.
Nevertheless, the LogicForce report found that only 5 percent of law firms were compliant with their own cybersecurity and data retention policies. In fact, the overwhelming majority – 77 percent – hadn’t even formed concrete cybersecurity protocols.

This slowness when handling such vital matters is not only dangerous but potentially costly.  Studies found that SMBs are paying roughly $117,000 per data breach incident. Larger companies can expect each cyberattack to cost over $1 million.

LogicForce data concluded that cybercriminals have no rhyme or reason when it comes to determining which firms they target. Large or small, wealthy or new – every law firm is at risk and cannot afford to delay cybersecurity policies. Cybercrime is not like its traditional counterpart. The infiltration does not need to be designed to a specific building blueprint or staff makeup. Part of what makes cybersecurity such a pressing issue is a hacker’s ability to target multiple businesses in different industries and locations simultaneously.

While every law firm LogicForce surveyed was targeted for classified client data, only 60 percent were even aware they’d been breached. Cybercrime does damage over time. The longer a malicious third party has access to data, the more files they can access. Organizations that can detect a breach within its first day can drastically limit the damage being done.

Cybercriminals can target multiple servers and networks simultaneously_Afinety, Inc.Cybercriminals can target multiple servers and networks simultaneously.

How Cloud Solutions Can Help

Many legal firms can feel powerless when it comes to cybersecurity. It can feel like this specialized new form of protection demands either mass resources or a talented and trained IT staff. However, law offices do not need to combat cybercrime on their own.
Part of the reason cloud solutions like Afinety Cloud Platform have become popular is due to their increased cybersecurity abilities.  Multifactor authentication, data encryption and email protection are ways in which firm can protect themselves from breaches.  Many cloud solutions are designed with detection tools to watch for attempted data breaches. For example, Afinety’s anti-intrusion service successfully blocked a total of 6,931 breach attempts and 1,152 would-be virus attacks on our clients’ networks all within the month of April of this year!

Law offices clearly need help with their cybersecurity efforts and cloud solutions can provide that crucial aid.

5 Tips For Developing A Paperless Law Firm

 

Efficiently, Securely And Successfully Operate A Paperless Law Practice

Most of the work we do today is done on the computer, but that doesn’t mean paper has gone away. Many organizations still rely on paper for internal processes, external contracts and billing procedures.

Shifting to a paperless office is not only good for the environment, but also for business. Cloud-based, digital solutions can improve productivity, control costs, and reduce office redundancies.

Here are six ways to transition your law office away from paper:

1. Convert Existing Paper Documents Into Digital

It’s hard to go digital if most of your existing documents are in paper form. Therefore, one of the first steps toward a truly paperless office is to digitize those existing assets. Depending on the amount of documents currently housed at your offices, you may decide to take on this task yourself, or outsource it to a vendor. Similarly, you can encourage your staff to digitize their personal documents via an app. There are a number of apps that can use a smartphone’s built-in camera to capture crisp, clear images of documents.

2. Invest In Collaboration Solutions

One of the primary benefits of a paperless office is the boost in productive collaboration that you can expect to see. Cloud-based collaboration solutions make it easy for personnel to access and edit documents from any device, at any time. In fact, some solutions make it possible to “check out” documents so that multiple stakeholders can work on the project without worrying about overwriting each others’ work. When considering collaboration suites, choose a solution with ample security protection.

The cloud securely makes your documents available from any authorized device_Afinety, IncThe cloud makes your documents available from any authorized device.

3. Store Everything In A Secure Cloud

When your law office handles confidential information, it’s your responsibility to make sure it stays that way. Cloud solutions can provide multiple levels of security, ensuring that the only people who see your documents are those with the authority to do so.

Security is especially important during the transport of documents. A cloud solution eliminates many of the threats inherent in transporting paper documents because the data never actually moves from the cloud. A secure cloud will ensure that your confidential information remains closed off from prying eyes.

4. Incentivize Paperless Productivity

Creating a paperless law office requires the buy-in of all stakeholders. To incentivize the shift toward digital documentation, you’ll need to ensure that your digital solutions are capable of not only replacing paper, but also developing increased technology. To be sure, the environmental impact of paper is an important reason for making the switch, but your firm should see other benefits as well.

As you transition away from paper to cloud solutions, make sure everyone understands why the office is making the switch. Transparent lines of communication will help everyone get on the same (digital) page.

5. Consider E-Billing And E-Signatures

Contracts and bills are two areas where paper still remains a part of the modern law office. And yet, many intuitive cloud solutions exist for these important aspects of the business. Plus, many professionals prefer the benefits offered by paperless solutions. In fact, a survey from Bill.com found that 78 percent of millennial business owners prefer paperless bills over the traditional method.

When all of these processes have shifted to a digital medium, you’re office will be in a better position to track all kinds of new metrics, allowing for further improvements down the line. Though it’s hard to track signature requests in paper form, doing so for e-signatures takes a matter of seconds.

Cloud solutions can eliminate the need for excessive paper documentation at any law office. To lean more about how to leverage the cloud at at your firm, visit Afinety.com today.

How Cloud Platforms Reduce The Cost Of e-Discovery For Law Practices

 

In today’s digital world, e-discovery is more important than ever before. The process of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information is integral to the modern concept of litigation. It can also be an expensive process, requiring complex technologies. Removing these processes to the cloud reduces expenses and may even produce significant process efficiencies.

Components Of e-Discovery Impacted By Cloud Technology

As more of our lives take place in digital realms, the importance of clear e-discovery processes grows. Law firms that adopt cloud technologies are better positioned to solve the complex issues involved in the process, compared to those that rely on more traditional processes. The cloud allows law firms to expand their efforts, gaining efficiencies and improving productivity.

But it’s not all about speed. Cloud technology can augment each distinct component of the e-discovery process. First, let’s consider what concepts come under the purview of e-discovery. As noted by the American Bar Association, e-discovery incorporates the following processes:

  • Information governance – Policies surrounding the life cycle of electronically stored data.
  • Identification – Determining which pieces of data are relevant.
  • Preservation – Protecting said data from deletion.
  • Collection – Gathering digital evidence for review.
  • Processing – Preparing the data for analysis by an attorney.
  • Review – Using software such as Computer Assisted Review or Technology Assisted Review to determine which pieces of information are relevant to the case.
  • Analysis – Evaluating the digital information for content and context.
  • Production – Producing relevant information, in adherence to standard procedures and rules.
  • Presentation – Displaying the data during a trial or deposition.

Cloud computing technology is useful because individuals and organizations produce massive volumes of data on a regular basis. All of that information, including relevant metadata, would be a monumental task for anyone. A manual process would grind proceedings to a halt. Cloud technology produces more efficiency while remaining secure.

Cloud technology brings enhanced computer power and cost savings_Afinety Inc.Cloud technology brings enhanced computer power and cost savings.

Advantages Of The Cloud

Looking at the above list, it’s easy to see that varied processes of e-discovery are neither straightforward nor simple. Even with the help of a computer, an incredible amount of work is necessary to produce reliable results. That’s the first thing cloud computing solves.

Let’s say you were attempting an e-discovery task at your personal computer. Due to the limited amount of RAM, CPU power and storage space, this task would take a long time to complete, eating into your resources. By switching to a cloud solution, you immediately gain access to additional memory and computing power. Best of all, you don’t have to install any bulky hardware at your offices. Considering how fast technology evolves these days, you would have to constantly maintain and upgrade on-site server infrastructure. Not so with the cloud. A cloud provider will scale with you, forever. That way, your team can focus on important work without getting bogged down in technical difficulties.

Another benefit of cloud services is added protection against failed hard drives. Mechanical storage devices have a finite lifespan, and even solid-state drives will break down after thousands of uses. However, if you utilize a cloud solution, you’ll know your data is always preserved. The redundancies inherent in cloud technology mean your information will always be available from any authorized device.

Saving On Costs With The Cloud

Not only does the cloud offer amazing e-discovery benefits, but it can also be more affordable than an on-site data center. Installing hardware on premises will inevitably lead to costs. Buying hardware and hiring staff to install and maintain it isn’t cheap. In fact, the American Bar Association recently published an analysis explaining the cost differences of utilizing the cloud, compared to on-site servers.

According to ABA, the upfront costs of system installation, which includes the cost of servers, storage and backups, is roughly $372,000. Other ongoing costs, such as the data center location, necessary real estate, IT support staff and e-discovery staff total roughly $1,715,040 over a three-year period. Over that same time, ABA estimated that a cloud service would cost about 36 percent less than an in-house solution.

On top of these savings, law firms can see a number of other intangible benefits, such as the robust technical experience and knowledge that cloud service providers can bring to the table.

Afinety has been helping law firms succeed for many years. The Afinety Cloud Platform utilizes Amazon Web Services, one of the world’s most used and adaptable cloud systems. Visit Afinety.com today to learn more.