Your Legal IT Checklist for an effective strategy in 2016
What every Legal Firm should be doing in 2016…
Now is the perfect time to take stock of your IT and work out your how you can adjust your IT strategy to get more out of it in 2016. Here our team of Strategy Consultants at NETprotocol share their tips on what law firms should be focusing on for 2016:
1. Pocket-sized danger
With the need to respect Data Protection and confidentiality, legal IT is under more pressure than most sectors to withstand malicious attacks and security breaches. However as mobile and remote working increases, so do the risks of audit, security, information management and access control. Smartphones are now portable computers and the potential for leaks is huge.
It may be time for you to consider a Mobile Security solution which combines features such as encryption, anti-malware and security into one seamless system.
2. “A stitch in time…”
Whether you have five or 5000 users, they all need to access their data quickly and safely. By scheduling upgrades and budgeting to replace individual servers, robust IT planning pays off. If in-house solutions are getting unwieldy, have you thought about virtual hosting? Or a hybrid mixture of on-premise and hosted technology? Be careful to consider how this will impact on or integrate with the rest of your infrastructure.
3. Aiming high
Cloud hosting is often far more efficient and secure than an on premise storage solution, yet received a bad press in 2015 when the iCloud accounts of some Hollywood actors were hacked. Ensuring your data is privately hosted in a UK based data centre which meets the bespoke compliance needs of Legal firms is strongly advised. Cloud hosting doesn’t need software renewals or annual hardware maintenance, and reduces storage costs and overheads making monthly costs more predictable. You buy as you use, offering a completely scalable and flexible solution.
If the thought of data migration into a new system is putting you off, don’t let it! It can be seamless, hassle-free and cheaper than you probably think when managed by the right partner.
4. “What if?”
It’s the one thing we don’t want to consider, but bad things do happen to good people. If there was a catastrophic systems failure or fire in your business, how quickly could you get your firm back on its feet? Without your data, there is no business. To be fully protected, you need the skills and technologies to cover both on-site back up to disk, with offsite replication or a fully hosted solution.
Have you considered a Business Continuity and Backup Solution which guarantees data integrity, unlimited snapshots, Block level replications and Native Deduplication? Sound too good to be true? There are Disaster Recovery solutions out there that back up data as often as every 15 minutes, and can instantly restore files from any point in time. Ensure your business is safeguarded for 2016.
5. Box smarter
Server, storage and network virtualisation optimises your hardware investment, increasing resilience and scalability to allow you to improve performance making your resources work harder and smarter. Can you not afford not to look into it? Here’s more…
6. Talking the talk
The legal sector is built on words, often in conversation. With WiFi often more available and reliable than mobile signals, and support costs for legacy PBX systems taking up a huge part of your budget (…and more when it finally packs up), you might want to consider Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Solutions are now unrecognisable from the first stuttering services. The market for VoIP services is set to clear $130 billion by 2020. Huge savings in time and money, together with vastly enhanced communication standards can be achieved using this 21st century alternative to the legacy telephone landline.
7. Don’t Dropbox the ball
The advent of applications like Dropbox has transformed business. No more burning documents to CDs, emailing huge file attachments or downloading to a USB drive that gets corrupted. We can now share our files with colleagues, clients or other third parties from anywhere. However, do you know where your precious files are hosted or who can access them?
Public cloud sharing is vulnerable to attack. Law firms need to investigate a secure file sharing system built for the legal sector, with data confidentiality and compliance at its heart.
Have you a pile of obsolete technology equipment piling up in a dark corner? When planning ahead, consider the implications for destroying any legacy equipment and erasing data within it securely. Data driven firms such as legal must dispose of such assets in compliance with the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (EU WEEE). Have you got lost space taken up with disused IT assets – or do you need to consider who will take care of your asset disposal when advancing your systems this year?
9. Plan ahead
Every IT team faces new challenges. Technology advances fast and keeping on top of your field is critical to getting the most out of your systems. Setting aside budget for external support is a smart move and will pay dividends. Whether it be daily, weekly or just 3 times a year when a crisis rears its ugly head, it is reassuring to know you can call on a team of specialist experts – someone who has been there, done that.
A flexible resource to draw upon – it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and is often much more cost effective then recruiting an extra person in-house. Selecting the right partner – preferably one with knowledge of the legal sector – will be critical to you maintaining optimum performance for 2016.
10. Streamlining your strategy
It’s often the case that a legal firm’s size outpaces its IT capacity, leaving it vulnerable and unable to pitch competitively when it comes to proving resilience to potential clients. Make 2016 the year to put in place a thought-through IT Strategy. Workarounds to accommodate out-of-date legacy systems take a huge amount of management and time. Seek professional advice from a fresh pair of eyes, on how to streamline IT solutions to meet challenges across the legal sector. You will likely find you can get even more out of your budget and time.
The Legal Sector’s Best Kept Secret….
NETprotocol has been looking after UK-wide legal firms for 15 years. Whether a small practice or a Fortune 500 firm, we understand your goals and design bespoke solutions which are cost effective, scalable and help you remain as competitive as possible. Through working with world-renowned IT partners such as HP, Intel Security, Proofpoint, Citrix and Microsoft to create the best technology combinations, our proposition assures full compliance with industry legislation overseen by professional bodies such as the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and other sector related organisations.
For more information on any of the above priorities for Legal IT firms, please contact our team on the details below: