How To Practice Law From Anywhere

virtual-law-firm

A big motivator and driving force for many business professionals is to ultimately find the right work/life balance. For me that would mean having the opportunity to travel more, learn about other cultures and try new foods. For you that could be sitting on a beach getting work done while your family enjoys themselves near the ocean.

The reason the ideal circumstances above have never happened is because of the need we have to maintain some sort of a connectivity with our jobs. In your case, how could you go on vacation when any minute a client might contact you about an upcoming trial? Wouldn’t it be nice if you were able to take your entire office with you where ever you go, with out having to worry about anything slipping through the cracks?

The concept of a virtual environment is certainly not new, but until recently it required quite a bit of work to accomplish.

VPN’s (Virtual Private Networks) and web based applications like GoToMyPC were great early solutions, but as our attention spans have shortened and our patience for latency has become close to zero, something had to give.

Enter the Private Cloud. It’s like having a slice of the Internet dedicated just to you. Instead of buying a server and hosting it locally, you’re leasing one from a carrier that builds out a server for you in a major data-center, installs all of the applications you need on it, and loads it with any existing data you’d like to transfer on to it. This is not to be confused with cloud based storage applications like DropBox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive and etc. What you’re paying for is not cloud based storage, it’s an entire infrastructure and operating system that turns the device you’re using into a terminal.

Benefits of a Private Cloud

  • Mobility: You’re no longer bound to your local network. Access all of your data from anywhere, anytime using any device. All you need is an Internet connection. Extremely helpful if you travel a lot, or have team members that work offsite.
  • Peace of Mind: You’ll never have to worry about your data being backed up, or losing information because you dropped your laptop.
  • Scalability: You pay for what you use. Are you adding an employee? Put in a request to add another user. Letting someone go? Reduce the number of users you have. You won’t have to predict your hardware needs for the next 5 years and investing capital money into a server and local network.
  • Security: Is your data safer on your laptop, or your server tucked away in a closet in the office; or is it safer in a high grade data center facility with both physical and virtual security? In some industries like Insurance, or Legal Services; data security requirements are extremely tough to meet but are possible through a Private Cloud solution.
  • Legacy Applications: One big wish list item for some organizations was having the ability to use legacy and older software that’s on their local computers in a cloud environment. The Private Cloud would essentially let you do that. Remember that you’re getting a virtual server with an operating system installed on it, not just storage.
  • Data Ownership: A big issue that comes up with the Public Cloud is data ownership. One of the key benefits of choosing a Private Cloud (and make sure you read the terms of services) is being the sole owner of your data, even if you’re using someone else’s hardware.

The Con’s of a Private Cloud

  • Need For a Reliable Internet Connection: The biggest drawback of going to a Private Cloud is that you’ll need an internet connection to access your system. That’s not to say you can’t copy files over to your local desktop before heading somewhere that won’t have a connection, but it’s still a hassle. This is not a major factor here in the United States as you can readily access the internet from just about any device, or at the coffee shop down the street. But for international users and especially those in a developing country, it’s critical to ensure you have a reliable way to access the internet.
  • Monthly Cost: The topic of cost is very subjective when it comes to Private Cloud systems. Some argue that it’s more expensive, other’s say it’s less expensive in the long run. Ultimately I feel like it really depends on what your goals are and what your business model looks like. If being mobile can generate you additional billable hours that will more than cover the cost of a Private Cloud, than the decision is simple. If the flexibility will help you with your life style, or the security of your data will give you peace of mind, then again the answer is simple. All of this though comes at a premium, but a premium that’s an operating cost vs. the heavy investment via a capital expense.

There are a ton of resources available for you to read on Private Cloud computing and it’s benefits. But as I’ve mentioned before, the purpose of this site is to help break those benefits down into simple, layman’s terms where people can actually use and benefit from the information they read. I’d love to hear back from you and find out more about what has held you back from making a jump into the cloud.

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