Law firm cloud computing ‘fast becoming’ attractive

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A law firm that has ventured into the utilising some cloud-based services claims the cloud will soon become a more attractive alternative to more traditional IT services for law firms.

Wotton + Kearney, which operates a hybrid cloud solution that makes use of Data Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) in the cloud, is considering making further steps down this path.

“We believe in cloud computing as the way forward for IT infrastructure expansion and progression,” said Wotton + Kearney chief operating officer Andrew Price told Australasian Lawyer.

“The benefits, namely flexibility, cost efficiency and scalability, are fast becoming an attractive alternative to more traditional IT services,” he said.

A key element driving Wotton + Kearney’s adoption of cloud services has been data security.

“DRaaS gives us a high level of confidence in data integrity being secured in other locations should anything go wrong. Also, there are benefits in the reduced hardware and associated costs with maintaining this service,” Price said.

However, the firm sees the possibility of taking up greater range of cloud computing services.

“We will continue to look at cloud solutions as the way forward,” Price explains. “Hardware lifecycle and renewal costs are factors in determining the timing of our next transition and to some extent the direction this will take,” he said.

For Wotton + Kearney, the next logical transition would be to consider migrating Back Up as a Service and WAN management to the cloud, Price said.

However, he notes there are risks with any move to cloud-based services for law firms. “Security of firm data is the greatest challenge firms are faced with when contemplating cloud.”

Cloud providers are investing in increasing the security of their data centres and infrastructure, as they aim to mitigate these unpalatable security risks.

“This investment will probably allow for them to provide a higher standard of security than what most law firms could achieve,” Price said.

The result is that cloud services may soon be more cost-effective and less risky than in-house systems.

“Given the size, budget and application stack for most law firms, the adoption of this new way to deliver technology solutions will very likely become the way forward for most firms.”

Wotton + Kearney, which utilises service provider Huon IT for its cloud computing needs, has also maintained BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) technology for some time now. The firm encourages the use of smartphones and tablets by professional staff in order to make use of new technology.

“Applications are available such as access to the firm's emails, remote access token generators, dictation and full citrix desktop access,” Price said. “We have robust security measures in place to protect the firms data on all BYO devices. This has proven very cost effective and a reliable addition to the IT service portfolio for all users.”

Price said the firm continually reviews its infrastructure and service delivery with a view to increasing efficiencies, lowering costs and maximising performance for staff and clients. He recommends from experience that each firm assess the suitability of cloud computing for its own needs.

“There is no simple ‘one size fits all’ solution for law firms. What is right for one firm may not work for another. Before adopting any cloud based solution, any firm needs to carefully undertake a comprehensive due diligence process.”

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