What I’ve Learned from Transitioning over a 120 Law Firms

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When Abacus first introduced Abacus Private Cloud, I was immediately excited about what this meant to the way attorneys practice law. By looking at the bigger picture, I envisioned how quickly it could impact an industry that is usually slow to adopting new technology.

Here’s what I’ve learned after helping about 120 law firms make the switch to our Abacus Private Cloud solution.

 

Your IT Person has a Vested Interest and Usually a Strong Bias 

If you have a progressive and forward thinking IT person, they’re usually very quick about making the switch to a Private Cloud solution. They’re the first to immediately understand the benefits of outsourcing your technology needs, and it allows them to play a role beyond just managing hardware and running backups.

Sadly, most IT Companies rely on their clients to buy the expensive hardware they offer and make a living on the fees they charge to maintain them.

Although a Private Cloud solution may not be in the best interest for every law firm, we’re moving into an era where not just the legal industry, but many other industries that have high regulatory and compliance requirements will be shifting to third party hosted solutions to manage their data and IT infrastructure.

Pro-Tip: Unfortunately the old saying of “in confusion there is profit” is still true. Be prepared to ask your local IT Company some tough questions and don’t fear reaching out to others for advice. Just remember to take a step back and think about the role each party plays and what their position and biases towards certain changes would be.

 

When it Comes to Data Security, Ignorance is Bliss

Keeping your data safe can be a complex process and often overwhelming to deal with. Unfortunately it’s also a necessity to ensuring you meet the ethical obligations you have to your clients data.

Many of the attorney’s I speak to willingly choose to ignore tough discussions around data security.

These threats are real and Law Firm’s are at the top of any hackers list of viable businesses to breach.

From weak passwords, to lack of contingency plans, I’ve questioned how some Law Firm’s continue to do business in 2016.

With the recent string of hacks that have happened to Law Firms, the BAR Association is coming down hard on data security.

It is no longer OK to shy away from tough conversations about the security of your clients data. Your reputation as an Attorney depends on it.

Besides, the peace of mind you get by knowing that your data is backed up, safe and secure is priceless. It’s like having a concrete house in tornado country.

 

 

Attorneys Near Retirement Love Cloud Computing

I’ve been surprised by the number of attorneys who are at the tail end of their careers that were not only willing, but at the forefront of adopting our private cloud technology. The trend made much more sense to me after I was able to connect the dots on why this was happening.

Many attorneys that are winding down their business still want to practice law in some capacity, but they don’t want it to affect their lifestyle choices. The Abacus Private Cloud has provided an intangible lifestyle benefit that wasn’t immediately apparent to me or my colleagues at the very beginning stages of APC.

Today we’re seeing more attorneys working from home, more attorneys traveling for leisure, and more attorneys spending time outside of the office than we ever have before. All because they can now access their data from anywhere, anytime without the hiccups of prior technology that attempted to make similar results possible.

 

Moving into the Cloud is Like Moving into a New Home

And just like moving into a new home, there’s a lot that needs to come together before you can settle in.

The most sensitive part about moving to a Private Cloud hasn’t been the moving of client data, but it’s been the email migration process. It was a surprise to us, but it’s something that we’re now fully aware of and prepared for. Email is the heart and soul of a business, and due to its sensitive nature, we’ve had to take additional measures in smoothening this process out.

Moving into a virtual environment is truly like moving from one house to another. You’re all but uprooting your entire home and moving it to another physical location. This requires finesse, patience and great communication.

Think of the Private Cloud as a fully managed home that has a landscaper, gardener, cleaning services, and etc. Once you’re done with your move, all you’ll need to focus on is practicing law.

Pro-Tip: To make the transition as smooth as possible, assign one person as a project manager and communicate all potential obstacles to your onboarding team in advance so everyone can prepare for it. The more information you give, the better the team can plan and prepare for the move.

 

Rapid Growth Requires a Scalable Solution

Many of our newest Abacus Private Cloud customers are;

Because our team manages the resources your practice requires, we can quickly scale those resources up or down to the needs of the firm. Additionally, all of your data is stored in one central location so the physical location you connect from becomes irrelevant. All that’s required on your part is a device that can connect to the Internet, and a steady Internet connection.

Pro-Tip: Test the speed of your Internet connection to make sure it suffices for a Private Cloud solution. You click this Internet Speed Testing website to run a free speed test. You’ll need 1 Mbps upload and download speed per concurrent user for a good experience. Most firms think they need an expensive Fiber connection which is absolutely not the case at all. For a 10 user firm you’d only need 10 Mbps Up and 10Mbps Down in speed. If you use VoIP Phones make sure you add some padding.

It’s an Old Concept but an Entirely New and Different Approach

The idea of having a virtual environment is certainly not new. But what most people don’t understand is that this technology is not the same as using GoToMyPC, LogMeIn and etc. Although there are similarities, it’s still not the same as connecting to your server via a VPN either.

The easiest thing to compare this to is the old mainframe computers from the 70’s and 80’s. The device you’re using to connect to your Private Cloud environment becomes a dumb terminal. None of the processing and storing of the data happens on your local device.

I’m finding that most of my time is spent educating and helping firms wrap their head around what this technology is and how it actually works. It’s a very new and progressive concept to most, but usually about ten minutes into a conversation, I get quite a few “ah-ha” moments and many follow up questions. I have no doubt that this is the direction that technology is headed.

 

Cloud Computing is the Future of Legal Technology

Although the legal industry is historically known for being slow to adopt technology, this is one technology that’s been taking off pretty quickly. It’s an exciting time not just for the legal industry, but other industries that handle sensitive data as well. The tangible and intangible benefits to implementing Abacus Private Cloud and other DaaS (Desktop as a Service) solutions is incredibly high and limited only right now to the speed of your Internet connection. Unless you’re located in a remote part of the country, Internet connectivity is rarely an issue.

I’m excited to be in a position that has a direct effect on the future landscape of technology. Each conversation I have seems to be more exciting than the last one which is why I enjoy my role as a contributor. I truly believe that the earliest adopters of this technology will have a major advantage over their competition in the way they acquire new clients, and in the shift of lifestyle they’ll see both personally and professionally.

 

 

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