Technology is invaluable in the legal landscape, and with time it will become even more so. Why is this? Because legal work is highly regulated, and many attorneys fear malpractice suits or failure to comply with regulations. Law practices throughout the world are adopting new technologies. Just like other businesses, they need to streamline their services, and secure their data, and technology helps them do this.
Every legal practice has three basic technology requirements:
- To analyze diverse, extensive amounts of data.
- To ensure the security of clients’ confidential information.
- To increase efficiencies, productivity and cost savings.
However, some aren’t meeting these basic requirements because they aren’t using an IT Managed Services Provider (MSP) to ensure they’re using the right IT solutions.
If you want to succeed in today’s technology-driven environment, you need up-to-date, reliable and secure IT solutions. By handing this chore over to an MSP, you can focus on your core legal competencies.
What Should You Look For In An MSP?
Expertise in the following:
Case Management Software
The computerization of legal work has promoted the adoption of electronic spreadsheets, word processing, databases, telecommunications, legal research software, and presentation applications. Electronic case management has probably altered how your legal documents are prepared. You can now manage large case files and use software to search, edit, track, archive and distribute documents.
Case management software helps you stay organized. It brings your desktop calendar, contacts, filing system, and task systems together into one solution. You also need it for managing deadlines, storing client information and coordinating communications. It provides you the information you need to effectively manage your practice, along with feedback on how you’re progressing in all aspects of your cases. Make sure your MSP is well-versed on the applications you rely on every day, such as Copitrak, CompareRite, LexisNexis and other legal software solutions.
Just like with other businesses, legal professionals can now work remotely. With the right cloud solutions, you can travel for court dates and still access your documents securely. And, cloud technology can help you stay connected to your clients, staff, and colleagues. Solutions like Microsoft Office 365 that are powered in the cloud let you access documents and applications, and collaborate online securely from anywhere you have a computer and internet connection.
By embracing cloud computing, you can:
- Save on paper costs.
- Locate files more easily.
- Maintain and process Big Data (large amounts of information).
- Work collaboratively on files securely in real time.
Make sure your MSP is up to date on today’s secure cloud solutions. They should be able to help you improve your firm’s productivity, efficiency, collaboration and IT accessibility. They should also help you find the right solutions for data security, document management, and workflow improvement.
Financial Management Software
You no longer need stacks of papers, files and cumbersome logs to track your finances. Today, there are many software solutions you can use to track every transaction. But how do you know which is right for you? Your MSP should help you find the most suitable financial management software to help with budgeting, managing billable hours, accounts receivable, accounts payable, tax filing and more. They should also help you find the right software to aid in your short- and long-term planning. Unfortunately, many attorneys don’t think about the future when considering their financial goals. The right MSP can help you find the right software to do this as well.
Data Backup and Recovery Services
The intellectual property and sensitive information you store must be backed up securely. As you know, computer hard drives can fail, laptops can be stolen or lost, and data can be erased due to human error or viruses. It’s important for your firm to have a reliable backup system to keep data safe and avoid data loss. Your MSP should ensure your business continuity and disaster recovery solutions meet your objectives with robust backup and secure off-site replication solutions.
Ask them if they can provide:
- A Complete Backup and Recovery Strategy – Your firm requires a comprehensive onsite and offsite backup and recovery service that backs up all data and provides for your quick recovery when disaster strikes.
- Power Protection – 90% of disasters are power-related. Be sure your MSP provides UPS protection to ready your firm with alternative power sources to keep you operating.
- Email Continuity – Can your firm keep running if your email isn’t? Most can’t for more than 24 hours. Make sure your MSP can ensure you have a proper email continuity solution in place.
- Telephone Services –What would happen to your law firm if your telephone services were down? How would your clients reach you? Make sure your MSP tells you how they can keep your phones up and running when phone lines are down.
Remote Monitoring to Prevent Downtime
A qualified MSP will prevent IT downtime. Your firm can’t afford to be idle. With remote monitoring solutions, your Managed Services Provider can detect and mitigate issues with your technology before they cause problems. Your MSP should provide 24x7x365 Monitoring and Maintenance services. If not, look for another.
As you know, it’s your legal obligation to protect your clients’ confidential information. Your MSP should be capable of handling all of your IT security measures and should be up to date on the latest cyber threats and solutions to protect your data.
They should implement a multi-layered, managed security defense using sophisticated security devices, technical controls like firewalls, patching, antivirus, software updates, intrusion-detection and log analysis systems. They must also be able to provide Security Awareness Training for your employees to ensure they don’t click malicious links or open phishing emails.
Data and Email Encryption
It’s essential that you use encryption to protect your confidential data. Encryption should include both emails and data to ensure the security of this information. It should protect data at rest, such as on laptops or portable servers, as well as data in motion, such as over wireless networks or the Internet. Your MSP must be capable of providing this service for you.
Mobile Device Management
With the rising use of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), it’s essential for your MSP to provide Mobile Device Management. If an employee’s mobile phone is lost or misplaced, they must be able to erase the contents of the phone. This requires the expertise to know how to ensure your mobile devices are set up correctly, and your business information is properly safeguarded. If a mobile device is lost, or a staff member leaves your employment with your legal data, you can rest easy knowing that the device can be remotely locked or wiped if necessary.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Legal professionals now use AI to handle laborious and time-intensive tasks so that they can focus on higher-value work. Using AI makes it possible for you to concentrate on more important tasks and use your expertise and time for the benefit of clients. AI is highly reliable and can identify key documents that staff members might miss. During the due diligence phase of a transaction, AI can locate contractual provisions with a high degree of accuracy. AI can also help you deliver services to clients more quickly and affordably without sacrificing the quality they demand. The right MSP should be able to suggest AI solutions to save you time and money.
Published on 5th April 2018 by Ian Brady.