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 can’t remotely access the tools or files you need
Hearings, clients, research, clients, professional development, clients, family, health – does this sound like your life? In order to juggle so many competing priorities and retain some semblance of a personal life, you need to be able to work remotely.
There’s nothing more frustrating than logging in from home, then losing all progress when the connection drops or the office computer crashes. Or perhaps you're in a client's boardroom and and your software won't place nice on your tablet. Even smaller issues, such as a lagging mouse or the inability to print, can lower your productivity while elevating your blood pressure.
How does your firm's 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|
You worry about security
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 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|
Your software isn'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 a law practice?
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|
|All software is supported|
|Smooth, fast performance|
|All features are enabled|
|Expert 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 in your client base? Perhaps a new lawyer is bringing in their book of business, you’re hiring students, or you’re considering branching into another area of law.
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|
How did you do? If you scored less than a four in any of the above categories, it's time to look for a new IT solution that will help your firm stay productive, secure and competitive.
Consider the many benefits of a Private Cloud: strong business continuity, advanced security, stable remote access, software compatibility are just some of the key business benefits it can offer law firms. Learn why more and more Canadians are trading their onsite server rooms for a Private Cloud solution.
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