In order to stay secure and efficient, it's essential that your law firm technology is fully functional and optimized. Take our quiz to find out how your systems measure up.
You worry about cybersecurity
The threat of cybercrime is rising, and law firms in particular are a prime target. You’ve likely read the cautionary tales in legal publications and received warnings from your law society or local bar association: lawyers must take measures to ensure their clients’ information is kept safe.
A system breach can easily cost a small or mid-sized law firm hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the resulting professional and reputational damage incurred by lawyers and their clients can be catastrophic. Does your law firm’s IT infrastructure provide adequate protection from cybercrime, and do you have a proactive plan in place to avoid potential disaster?
Review our essential security checklist below, and give yourself one point for every box you tick. If you score less than a five, your technology is putting you at increased risk.
|Certified, proactive IT management with 24/7 support|
|Regularly monitored and updated software, including the latest security patches|
|Up-to-date malware and anti-virus protection|
|A firm BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy|
|A firm disaster and recovery plan|
Your legal apps aren't optimized
Like most firms, you likely use at least two to three different types of legal software in your practice. Does your current IT provider understand how this specialized software operates, and do they appreciate the unique requirements of lawyers?
Do you waste time duplicating tasks because there is no integration between applications? Are you unable to reliably access your legal software from home, in court or mediation, or on the road? Are you unable to use all of the features of your software because your system isn’t able to support it?
You should be able to score a four out of four on this one – you’ve invested in your legal software and should accept no less than full functionality.
Legal software checklist:
|Apps can be accessed anywhere|
|Files can be transferred across applications|
|All features are enabled|
|Adequate and accessible tech support|
Your firm is growing
Do you plan to bring on more employees in the near future, or do you predict a sizable increase to the number of your clients? Perhaps a new lawyer is bringing in their book of business, you’re hiring your first students, or you’re considering branching into another area of practice.
Whatever direction you grow, if you require increased performance from your technology, you also require scalability – your system’s ability to implement and utilize additional resources.
If you’re bringing in a new book of business, your legal software may have to accommodate a new type of database. If you’re adding more files to your system, you may have to increase storage by purchasing more hard drives or by upgrading your servers.
New users will require computers, which means all of the necessary software has to be purchased and installed. And then there are licenses; purchasing and maintaining compliance for even the basics, (e.g. MS Office, Windows Server, Exchange) can be a real hassle.
Don’t let your technology stunt your firm’s growth. See if you can score more than a four with our checklist.
|Proactive IT professional/s who plan for scalability|
|Technology can be scaled up with minimal disruption to firm operations|
|Data storage can be increased without having to be replaced|
|Backup systems can support increased storage requirements|
|A license management schedule/process|
|Scalable data management software|
You can’t remotely access the tools or files you need
Hearings, mediations, professional development, family, fitness, travel – does this sound like your life? In order to juggle so many competing priorities, you need to be able to work remotely. Not having the proper tools to do so can put you at a significant disadvantage in your practice and with your clients.
There’s nothing more frustrating than logging in from home, then losing all progress when the connection drops or the system crashes. Or perhaps you’re at a hearing and an essential document refuses to load to your tablet. Even smaller issues like a lagging mouse are enough to slow down your work and elevate your blood pressure.
How does your remote technology hold up against our checklist? If your score is less than a three, and you find working remotely to be an exercise in futility, it’s time to find a solution.
Remote accessibility checklist:
|Remote access to your legal software|
|Remote access to all firm files|
|A fast, reliable connection|
|Easy session restoration|
|Remote helpdesk support|
Your firm has been experiencing downtime
Does your firm frequently experience system downtimes, halting operations because of email, Internet, phone, or software outages? Needless to say, for a busy law firm unscheduled downtime is more than just an inconvenience – it wastes time and it costs money.
Premium IT providers aim for a 99.999% uptime, which for an average company translates to less than an hour of unscheduled downtime per year. If your firm is frequently unable to operate for extended periods, this indicates a problem with either the equipment or your IT management.
Downtimes disrupt core firm operations, so you want to score at least a five out of six with our checklist below:
|Up-to-date virus protection and monitoring|
|Stable, standardized systems with backup servers|
|Regular backup testing|
|24/7 system monitoring|
|A responsive IT team with ability to mobilize quickly|
|A firm disaster and recovery plan|
How did you do? Add up all of your points and compare your score below to help you determine whether your technology is adequately meeting your law firm’s needs.
Security score: Because adequate cybersecurity is essential for every law practice, your total score must include a security score of at least five points.
25-27: Great job! Your firm technology helps you to mitigate risk, supports high level service and optimize your practice efficiency.
21-24: Not bad. There are many ways you can improve service or optimize your practice with technology, but you are managing your firm technology well enough to keep your practice secure and functional.
20 and under: Security, scalability, remote access and day-to-day functionality are all essential elements of a successful law practice, and your score indicates that your firm is at risk. It’s time to start sourcing new IT solutions that will help your firm stay secure, functional and competitive.