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How the Modern Cloud Levels the Playing Field for Small and Midsized Law Firms

Dan DosenLaw firms of all sizes are under constant pressure to adapt to changing client demands and an evolving workplace. They need to do this while enabling the effective creation and sharing – as well as the security and governance – of their work product. 

In the ongoing effort to meet these requirements, it might seem like the odds are stacked in favour of large firms. Technology, however, has a tendency to level the playing field – and increasingly, the cloud is serving as “the great equalizer” in the legal world, enabling the smaller and mid-sized law firms to keep pace technologically with the larger firms.

More Performance, Scalability and Disaster Recovery

By leveraging the modern architectures and building blocks relied upon by leading internet companies like Facebook and Amazon, the modern cloud can deliver unmatched reliability, performance and scale. 

Take the example of a small or midsized firm that is using a cloud-based document and email management system. From a technical perspective, the modern cloud gives them an automatic scaling and self-healing cloud with multiple, redundant, synchronised datacenters. It also delivers auto re-direction to another data center in the event of a major datacenter catastrophe and incorporates technologies like clustering, containerisation, and advanced data storage (SWIFT).

This allows these firms to skip investments into datacenters, infrastructure, and technology management – including finding and retaining specialised technology talent, which is expensive and difficult to attract – all while providing more resilience, reliability, and disaster recovery capabilities than what they could develop internally. Additionally, the cloud allows firms to stay on top of the latest updates and bug fixes effortlessly, without any downtime or maintenance windows.

From a work product management perspective, this means critical documents and emails are always available for professionals to work on, ensuring users stay productive 24/7 and that there are no work disruptions during key projects and deals. Meanwhile, the organisation itself can operate in a more agile and nimble fashion – dedicating its time and efforts towards better servicing the client rather than building and maintaining a datacenter. 

Stronger Security and Hassle-Free Audits 

When it comes to security, the modern cloud gives small and midsized firms access to best-in-class (Tier III) data centers with protections ranging from blast walls to at-rest encryption. It gives them infrastructure that is certified to meet and exceed international industry standards like ISO 27001 and SOC 2 type 2. From the actual datacenter and network security, to the application security layer and beyond, the modern cloud lets firms leverage current best practices around security.

This is particularly good news for firms who want to ensure sensitive and confidential client files remain fully secured and in compliance with pertinent regulations – from HIPAA, to GDPR – around how data needs to be stored and protected. It’s also good news for firms who want to avoid filling out cumbersome security audit questionnaires from clients. It is very onerous for smaller and midsize firms to satisfy all the requirements of these audits because the questionnaires are often developed based on the in-house capabilities of large organisations, frequently from other industries such as financial services.

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With cloud, the strict requirements of security audits can be satisfied by the cloud vendor. This means no firm – and no client – has to settle for anything less than demonstrable state-of-the-art security.

A Taste of AI

What’s the best way for law firms to take advantage of AI? In many cases, it will not be through standalone AI packages that organisations have to purchase and learn how to use, but rather through offerings that already have AI seamlessly – and transparently – woven into them to enhance the value they provide.

The modern cloud serves this up to firms through built-in, AI-powered security that uses machine learning and algorithms to continuously monitor all data and thwart potential security breaches.

Firms turning to the cloud for their work product management gain a highly trustworthy collaboration platform that alerts them to threats originating from both inside and outside the organisation – everything from phishing attacks, to insider threats. 

As a result, legal professionals can go about their work with the confidence that their data is protected 24/7 by advanced AI-powered security models – showing that AI needn’t solely be the province of large firms.

A New Era of Accessibility

The modern cloud has democratised many of the technological developments of the past decade around performance, reliability, scalability, and disaster recovery; privacy and security; and even AI, making them accessible to firms of all sizes. 

That means a firm with five lawyers can experience the same benefits as a firm with 50 lawyers or 500 lawyers – simply by tapping into the power of the cloud. 

Consider the playing field levelled for small and midsized firms everywhere.

As General Manager, Dan is responsible for the commercial aspects of the iManage cloud including customer onboarding, security-compliance and cloud roadmap. Most recently he was VP Business Development at Microsystems and VP Product Management at SpringCM.
 

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