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What is The Cost of Delay for Upgrading Your Firm’s Infrastructure?

Scott McFettersLitigation, negative publicity, shrinking client pipelines or extinction are all possibilities as cyber incidents continue to run rampant:  time to pay attention to the fundamentals like your equipment and technology lifespan

Sustained corporate success and the ability to adapt to change have long gone hand-in-hand; the average life span of a corporation has been steadily decreasing for decades. Standard & Poor’s data shows that it was 61 years in 1958, 25 years in 1980, and just 18 years in 2011. In today’s business world, many more companies merge, are acquired, or go through some other form of transformation which feeds into the data—all which means business as a whole is more dynamic than it was 60 years ago as the pace of change accelerates. 

The right technology is an essential building block to successful adaptation in today’s market—and that includes legal where it is leveraged as a crucial part of law firm productivity and client service.  With these positive changes in the use of technology comes challenges as well including at least these:

  • Law firms are faced with exponentially increasing pressures from both corporate and private clients when it comes to cybersecurity
  • Decreasing useful life of the technology and equipment the firms have come to rely on to compete, adapt and succeed.

Earlier this year, Legaltech News reported in its 2014 Global Law Firm Cyber Survey that, “79 perceof respondents said cyber and privacy security was included as one of the top 10 risks in their firms’ overall risk strategy, but more than half (51 percent) also said either that their firms hadn't taken measures to insure their cyber-risk or that they weren't aware of whether their firm had taken appropriate measures.” 

A different report from Chase Cost Management reported that 80 of the 100 biggest law firms have been hacked since 2011 and this year, firms will typically spend more than $6.9 million on information security, or 1.92 percent of their gross annual revenues.  It comes as no surprise that these investments are the result of client demands and the obligations to protect data.

Where is the money going?  It was noted during ILTA panel discussions that the biggest ROI for enhancing a firm’s security is training personnel –but across the board, IT departments are struggling to simultaneously meet all of these demands.  The 2015 TrustWave Security study shows 66% of IT pros are pressured to implement security products with all of the latest features, despite 3 out of 10 not having the financial or staffing resources to do so effectively.

It is a complex landscape and all of these actions are important – increasing spend on security measures and training the people inside of law firms—but, here’s another:  don’t forget to pay attention to the fundamentals like your equipment and technology lifespan itself.  In fact, focusing on this fundamental can lead to a solution firms can take to bolster security and alleviate financial burdens.

Specifically, it is oftentimes overlooked that law firms—as businesses—are successful based on their use of equipment and not from the ownership of that equipment—and it is clear that the useful lifespan and the security lifespan of your firm’s technology and equipment are decreasing.  This means it may not be strategic in the current environment to own equipment, as the depreciable life will most likely will outlast the equipment’s useful life as well as its security protocols.  

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Instead, your firm should put together a workable disposition plan combined with a technology refresh mechanism that will protect the firm from keeping outdated equipment in use that doesn’t adhere to new and increasingly high security standards—and this points to leasing as the optimal option to procure technology and equipment over its useful life.

This is a strategy of paying attention to fundamentals.  Because of the inherent refresh options built into the leasing process, there need not be any delays when the necessary upgrades or replacements must be made according to your firm’s needs and your clients’ demands. At the same time, in the midst of the rush to spend our way out of security troubles, leasing is a financial strategy that allows firms to procure technology needs within a predictable and budget-friendly monthly expense.  

If you decide to lease, choose a partner you can trust. Leasing is not a one-time transaction but is in fact long term relationship; choose a lessor who:

  • Knows your industry and is known in your industry
  • Has a long-standing reputation for both transparency and responsiveness
  • Communicates openly about terms and conditions in the master lease documents that can affect your total cost of ownership
  • Has the flexibility to meet the firm’s needs throughout the lease process

It is also in your best interest to work with an independent leasing company; that is, not a captive lessor of any particular product, piece of equipment or technology.  As things change, your firm is optimally positioned by doing business with an independent lessor that offers the flexibility to allow you to make changes– including changes in vendors, products or equipment types—when it is in the best interest of the firm, not in the best interest of a captive leasing company.

Paying attention to fundamentals like your equipment and technology lifespan and assessing its usefulness can help your firm to remain at the forefront of what is needed to meet your client demands.  The questions when it comes to security are not ‘if’ but ‘when’— and what is the cost of delay?

Scott McFetters is founder and President of CoreTech Leasing, an independent technology and equipment lessor.  Scott can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
 

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