Posts

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.

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.