Why our heads (and files) are in “the cloud”
“Work smarter, not harder” is a well known truism that is critical for time management for lawyers. Using cloud based computing services ensures you abide by this golden nugget of advice. Utilizing a cloud based computing service not only simplifies common day-to-day tasks, it will help you and your staff have 24 hour remote access, security, privacy, and protection from the entire spectrum of potential issues sometimes experienced with non-cloud based services.
The concept of the cloud is relatively straight forward: it places your office’s data based infrastructure into a centralized, off-site location. Typically a cloud service provider maintains the data-storage, data-processors, and physical platforms in their centralized location. Using the cloud eliminates the traditional need of relying on a physical server sitting on the floor of a closet in your office. No longer need you worry about taking up space, updating, adding memory, or damaged files. The cloud maintains your client files, emails, and programs such as Dissomaster, Attorney’s Briefcase, and other research based software in full. The entire file is encrypted and secured to protect privacy and confidentiality as well.
Using the cloud also protects your files and records from potential destruction of the unexpected variety. For instance, in December 2006, the building housing ‘s office burned to the ground unexpectedly. Including the server and paper files, the fire destroyed nearly everything in the office, sans a few pieces of iron artwork. As a result, all files needed to be recopied both in paper and electronic. With the cloud, your files and data is protected from such a disaster.
Perhaps the biggest appeal of the cloud is the ease of access. You and your staff are able to access all of the files and programs remotely from any computer, tablet, or phone with internet access. I often see other attorneys using a dolly to haul multiple bankers boxes into Court. I bring my iPad that, when connected to the internet, I have the entire file of my client at my fingertips. It is convenient when I can view the entire file while at counsel’s table to find any pleading, correspondence, discovery response, or any other paper in the case.
Additionally, using the cloud based service allows you unbridled access from your home, which eliminates the need to haul binders and hefty boxes with you. Driving to the office for files is a thing of the past with files in the cloud. Instead, you can sit in the comfort of your home, open your laptop, and access the file immediately after logging-in to your account; instant gratification for you and your clients.
As well as the cloud’s convenience, another major advantage is its simplicity of use. Depending on your program, the cloud most often operates in an exact same manner as a Windows desktop, mirroring the exact same functions. If you have trouble, your cloud service provider has the ability to screen-share or enter the cloud to diagnose and fix the problem in a matter of minutes. No longer do you need a person to come to your office and no longer will you be without your technological services for an extended period of time.
An essential concern, the cloud allows you various amounts of storage of your files. Depending on your provider, storage size can range from 10 gigabytes to 1 terabyte with costs on a sliding scale. Put in context, 1 terabyte is 2 million photos or 220 million pages of text.
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, so it is extremely frustrating when it fails to work as expected. For small firms and large firms alike, cloud based services are critical to operate efficiently and securely. The famous Ronco infomercials from the 2000s introduced the tagline “set it and forget it”, which applies similarly to the cloud. Once your files are transitioned to the cloud, your service provider will oversee all aspects of the service for you.
While calling an idea the “wave of the future” is a tired cliché, if you do not currently utilize a cloud based computing service for your law office, you are already living in the past.