As I visit law firms, I frequently hear from trainers and IT professionals who say that their upper management and attorneys are “afraid to move to the cloud.” These trainers and IT folks are usually quite tech-savvy and understand that this resistance is holding the firm back (and also putting its clients at risk of a security breach) but they struggle to break through the mental barrier that others have put up.
I have a suggestion: Why not point out to them all the ways that they are already using the cloud in their personal lives? Such as…
- Phone storage: Remember “back in the day” when you’d lose your phone and discovered that you lost all of your contacts? Or when you moved into a new phone and you had to manually add all of your contacts? Those days are gone thanks to the cloud! Now, most phones encourage cloud-based storage for photos, contacts, apps and files. Not only is this handy when you move into a new phone, but people who use cloud backup almost never get that annoying “not enough memory” alert.
- Word processing: If you’re closing a document on your computer and opening it on your tablet or phone, you’re using the cloud. Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Pages all operate on the cloud. This handy storage method allows you to share and collaborate with others without constantly having to send attachments and worry that you’re not using the latest version. (This will help you segue directly into chats about document management systems! More on that below.)
- Subscription software: More and more of our favorite applications and software programs are moving to subscription-based fees rather than the annoying purchase-and-upgrade-and-purchase loop. This is possible thanks to the cloud, where the applications and all of your work are stored. Think: Photoshop, QuickBooks and many, many more.
- Calendar apps: If you expect to add something to your calendar on your phone and have it sync up with your computer calendar, you are likely using the cloud.
- Social media: All of the social media platforms are cloud-based.
- Mobile banking: I recently started paying for babysitters and a piano teacher with Venmo, which is just one of many emerging, cloud-based payment platforms. I no long have to remember cash for the sitter on my way home from a date with my lovely wife! I just zip the sitter a payment using my phone.
- File storage and sharing: Have you ever received a file via DropBox, or Hightail, or any number of similar platforms? Then you used the cloud.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you can access a service or program from more than one device, it is likely based in the cloud.
Now, why is this particularly important for law firms? I mean, aside from convenience and efficiency (which are, in and of themselves, good reasons to switch to the cloud)? The cloud is also more secure than your firm’s on-site server. Let’s make a wee “case study” of one way the cloud can make your law firm’s work more efficient and more secure: with your Document Management System (DMS).
The Cloud and Your Document Management System
Let’s go back to those “bad old days” when firms kept absolutely everything on a giant server that they locked in a closet, backing it up every night. We’ve all heard the horror stories: floods, fires and other acts of mayhem set those firms back days, weeks and months.
So, getting your docs off-site is smart. But that’s not enough. Here are a few more reasons to use the cloud:
- Security: The right cloud-based system can (and has to) provide much better protection against cybercriminals who want to exploit your important client documents, than having a server in-house.
- Continuous upgrades: Cloud-based systems are continuously upgraded so that you and your clients and their clients are always using the same version.
- Collaboration: A cloud-base system smooths the collaboration process, making teamwork more efficient (saving money and bumping the bottom line).
Savvy Training & Consulting is a training provider of various document management systems. If you have any questions at all, please contact me today at 303-800-5408 or Doug@SavvyTraining.com.