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Law firms have two primary motivations when implementing new information technology (IT). To help them analyze diverse and extensive amounts of data, and to increase efficiencies and cost savings, while protecting their clients’ confidential information.
Attorneys today must sift through an ever-growing volume of information on a regular basis. However, even with the extensive adoption of IT by other industries, the modern legal practice is falling behind. In order to keep up with the increasing use of IT, and to compete in today’s marketplace, legal firms and attorneys should implement the following IT practices.
As new as cloud computing is, it has greatly enhanced business capabilities for many industries. By adopting cloud-computing technology, law firms can save money on expensive paper, save time shuffling through papers, and contribute to protecting the environment. Informed and educated firms are embracing cloud computing in an attempt to go paperless. With cloud computing, they can create, store, and share files without the stack loads of paperwork.
Cloud computing uses a virtual storage system that lets legal staff log into a secure IT cloud environment from any location or device, and at any time. When designated to do so, they can view, edit, and modify documents securely in real time, without using a corporate network or device.
In addition, cloud computing provides enhanced security for documents containing sensitive information. Lawyers can easily be held liable for a breach of confidentiality, which makes the cloud a great option as it’s much more secure than using paper documents.
The cloud also offers flexible access in the event of a disaster. Law firms do a lot of their work in various locations; cloud computing ensures that employees can continue their work, even if a storm shuts down the office.
Email and Data Encryption
Encryption is an electronic process that protects data; most attorneys understand and rely on encryption to ensure their clients’ information is secure and only available to designated persons. With encryption, the decryption key must be entered to access, read, or use the data.
While encryption can be used to protect data at rest, such as on laptops, desktops, portable media, and servers, encryption can also be used to protect data in motion, such as over wireless networks, emails, and the Internet.
Law firms have legal and ethical duties to protect sensitive or personal information relating to their clients. Encryption is key in the process of keeping this information safe and secure.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
With BYOD employers ask, allow, or require their employees to use their own personal electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for the purpose of doing business. For the employer, this greatly reduces the cost of providing electronic equipment, and increases productivity and employee satisfaction by allowing for flexible work environments. The employee can work from home, the office, on public transit, essentially any location they’d like to work from. Attorneys who use their own devices for work purposes will also be more accessible when they’re not in the office, which greatly improves communication capabilities.
By adopting the information technologies listed above, law firms can gain a competitive advantage, and reduce overhead costs, while protecting client information to a much greater degree than ever before.