Whilst article 50 may not yet have been triggered, the impact of the Brexit referendum (mainly uncertainty) has been strongly felt by everyone and in particular the legal community. Those in trade, financial and regulatory law are working 80+ hour weeks in an attempt to help clients with the legal confusion brought about by the possible changes. Conversely transaction lawyers have seen their work go on hold, whilst clients step back and see how business settles. In law firms themselves, there are discussions about location. Some firms are asking if it would it be better to be situated in Ireland, for example, possibly leading to offices distributed across various locations. What is the impact of these increased workloads, and multiple locations, and can technology play a role in easing their delivery whilst remaining compliant and secure?
One possible solution may be cloud working. It delivers the ability to share documents across multiple locations, multiple devices and for staff to collaborate, boosting productivity. Like employees in other businesses, solicitors are under extreme pressure to be always-connected and to be able to access relevant and accurate information, wherever they may be. In particular, for solicitors, who bill not by the hour but in segments of six minutes, even the shortest time away from safe access to client information, reduces the ability to log billable hours; directly impacting their revenue.
Furthermore, in the legal profession a lot of work relates to small but crucial updates to legal documents. Therefore, being able to access the most current data is essential. It could mean the difference between losing a case or winning it. Even in less significant instances, updating the wrong version of a contract for example would lead to lost billable time, lost productivity and lost revenue.
The threat from Public Cloud
However, solicitors cannot risk breaking compliance laws by using the public cloud, no matter how convenient. If legal professionals did use public cloud file, sync and share providers like Box and Dropbox, the firms would no longer have control over where confidential data was stored. Not only does this give legal firms a lack of visibility as to where their data is (shadow IT) or who has access to it, but it can leave them facing heavy fines. Because the data is uploaded to the cloud, it’s impossible to know whether or not it’s being protected in the right way to maintain legal professional privilege and protect client data. For lawyers, client data has to be kept in a controlled environment and the last thing any legal professional wants is data to be leaked about its highly confidential cases.
What law firms need is the ease of sharing that a public cloud can offer, but with the security and control that it is unable to deliver. This means an on-premises solution that offers file sync and share capabilities but remains under the control of in-house IT, without storing any data in the public cloud. This private cloud needs to offer the ability to share data, as well as access it while on the go, and have the attributes of enterprise storage such as high performance, expanded capacity, and solid reliability.
Unified storage for the enterprise
Law firms need a unified solution, which delivers high performance and multi-site collaboration at LAN speed to support business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as mobile access. Today’s storage needs to offer organisations the ability to securely and seamlessly connect its mobile workforce to files stored within the corporate data centre. The enterprise can then combine security requirements with the ability to remotely access any corporate data (even from internal servers) and can handle growing capacity requirements.
It is important for legal firms to move beyond traditional file storage systems that fail to deliver the easy access and file sharing features essential for today’s connected workforce. Public cloud does not provide the security and privacy required. So, in order for legal firms to enjoy the advantages of connected working (ease, productivity, increased revenues) whilst remaining secure, compliant and private, the solution is a unified storage solution with private cloud integration – case closed!