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TECHNOLOGY

Is COVID-19 ringing the death knell for on-premises servers?

By Doug Striker bio

Back in the bucolic day of early January 2020, Aderant published an article predicting that more law firms would begin moving out of their on-premises servers to the cloud.

Man, I wish we knew how many firms did that in March and April 2020 alone!

When COVID-19 hit and we were all forced, en masse, to exit the building and head home, many firms left their precious servers behind. The IT wizards (aka “server nannies”) who manage those “server nurseries” were forced to continue working in the office, risking their health and the health of the people they returned home to.

Not only that, but the IT wizards (they ARE actually wizards, not nannies, and they shouldn’t have to babysit servers) also had to move long-resistant firms and attorneys into work-from-home protocols, including lots of cloud-based services.

Made the move

BAM! Just like that, the cloud became the norm. Or at least, the end-goal.

For example, Savvy works with a firm of 300 attorneys, 553 employees, and they have been working with on-premises servers forever. They now are moving absolutely everything they do to the cloud. Of course, this takes time and training. Attorneys really hate learning new tricks, but they now realize that they are at the mercy of their own skill sets as they work from home!

In fact, Savvy is helping a bunch of existing and new clients move rapid-fire into cloud-based platforms, training people remotely (aka: via our cloud-based learning management system) to utilize the powerful tools at their disposal as they work from home. We’re even helping one firm with an upgrade from Office 2010/Windows 7 to Office 2019/Windows 10. Can you imagine? Updating systems as your entire workforce is working remotely? Yes, it can be done.

Security in the cloud

One of the main sources of resistance to moving to the cloud is security. Law firms understandably want to lock down all their client data and related work and they have perceived the cloud to be a security risk. But even that barrier to entry is diminishing.

A 2019 ABA survey found that 31% of lawyers believe cloud services can provide greater security than their respective firms; in addition, “lawyers are becoming more familiar with cloud technologies and are attracted by anytime, anywhere access, low cost of entry, predictable monthly expenses, and robust data backup.”

And the Aderant report states:

“…in our 2019 Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey, we found that one of the top challenges facing law firms—cybersecurity—dropped 16 points, from 33% to 17% in just one year. The study suggests firms are more comfortable with the subject matter, as cybersecurity fell from second to seventh place in the 2019 rankings of top challenges facing law firms.”

You’re probably already in the cloud

The truth is, even before COVID-19, many attorneys and their teams were probably already doing lots of things on the cloud without even realizing it. They perceived that their work was locked up tight in a server in a dark, locked closet in the precious, locked office… but they were probably checking email on their computer and on their phones (cloud).

As more firms move their systems to the cloud, they will discover that their scalability and efficiency are multiplied exponentially.

 


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