Across the legal sector there is a reluctance to adopt cloud data storage solutions on the basis of cost. Law firms generate and hold an incredible amount of data, and many cloud providers price storage based on how much is stored, where it is stored, and how much and how often it needs to be retrieved. In this environment, the costs can quickly escalate.
Whilst there are ways these data-retrieval costs can be brought down – by ensuring the right storage type from online, offline, nearline and archive, by removing minimum billable periods for short-term storage, and by paying for capacity used rather and total provisioned for example– in any cost-benefit analysis it pays to further consider not only the savings your law firm can make with cloud storage, but also the possibilities it offers for growth.
Here are 6 ways cloud storage can save your law firm money…
On-site costs: Just like all those paper-based files, digital documents take up a lot of space and often need to be kept for a long time. If your law firm relies on on-premise servers and storage systems to maintain its data archive, eventually you’re going to outgrow your server space and will need to invest in expensive upgrades to your hardware.
Cloud savings: One of the inherent strengths of the Cloud is its almost limitless capacity for scalability. As soon as you need more space, you simply get in touch with your provider and ask them to add it to your package. There will be an extra charge for this, but it won’t be anything like the cost of buying, housing and maintaining a new storage server.
On-site costs: How much time do your teams spend in the archive room searching out folders and documents, or retrieving data from servers to use on their laptops? All that time represents wasted hours, and lost earning potential.
Cloud savings: Cloud storage of all your case documents, client contracts, discovery files, financial records, transcripts and court documents means your data can be accessed by your teams at all times, on any device, in any location. This access translates into convenience and time-saved, every time. Solicitors are able to access the same files and software whether they are working from home or the office, and will have a consistent experience wherever they are.
On-site costs: Storing physical documents and files in the office means you need a bigger office, and this comes at a price – especially in city centre locations where real estate costs are high. Storing digital documents on your own servers is also expensive. Not only is there the initial cost of buying the server (and then upgrades when you reach capacity), there are the additional ongoing costs of keeping it operational. Electricity, cooling, maintenance, insurance, physical security and IT personnel are all expensive costs you’ll have to pay for the lifetime of the server.
Cloud savings: By digitising your archive and storing all your data in the Cloud, these ongoing costs are significantly reduced and are included in the price of your package. You’ll have expert technicians and dedicated IT personnel working around the clock to ensure your servers are working as they should be, that patches are being applied, and that all your data is secured, for a streamlined monthly cost.
4. Data security
On-site costs: Legal firms have perhaps more need than any other business to keep their data secure, and while storing it all on one in-house server might feel safe, the reality is quite the opposite. When all your data is stored on the hard drives of potentially hundreds of employee laptops or portable storage devices, the cost of ensuring these machines are all protected is costly. Individual machines all require firewalls, encryption and access restrictions, and you will need a team of IT professionals to make sure all devices are kept patched, updated and secure.
Cloud savings: Moving all your data to the Cloud is an important step in keeping it secure in the most cost-effective way possible. Cloud storage centralises data to reduce the risk of data loss and theft from devices, making it much easier to enact access management tools, restrict permissions and monitor authorisations. Most cloud storage solutions will come with a raft of in-built security measures, including next-gen firewalls, anti-malware, encryption and intrusion prevention tools, which are costly to buy per device and incredibly time-consuming to install and update when you have hundreds of devices to protect.
5. More uptime
On-site costs: If you have your own server, it requires heavy, ongoing maintenance and regular patching to keep it working optimally. On-site IT teams will no doubt try to minimise disruption when performing critical maintenance, but sometimes they will need to make repairs and updates in business hours, and this may mean nobody can do their jobs or access any files for the duration. Like most technology, on-premise storage servers are also vulnerable to other, unforeseeable problems that can impact the daily operations of the law firm and can be expensive to resolve.
Cloud savings: Cloud-based data is protected against the potentially catastrophic effects of on-premise hardware failure, such as a flood or fire in your server room. In the event there’s an issue in the data centre where your data is being stored, your virtual storage server is transferred to another machine, with no drop in access. By storing your data in the Cloud, you’re not only saving on maintenance and repair costs, you’re increasing billable hours by guaranteeing 99.9% uptime.
6. Automated processes
On-site costs: Legal firms sit on vast amounts of valuable data, but storing it on-site often means they don’t know where it is, what it is, how to access it or even what it’s worth. This means your firm could be missing out massively in terms of maximising the potential of your data.
Cloud savings: Cloud technology is an asset when it comes to data, though few legal firms have begun to explore its true power in this area. Centralising data in the Cloud means law firms can harness in-built analytics to capitalise on sophisticated search, AI and machine learning not only to streamline processes and better serve clients, but to spot market trends, anticipate the outcome of litigation and share knowledge. Machine learning, for example, can enable due diligence and free up whole teams of people previously assigned to the task. Chatbots can be used to answer routine questions from clients. Documents can be automatically created and distributed, and e-signatures received in a matter of minutes rather than days, slashing the time taken to complete contracts. It’s a coup for your firm, and a coup for your clients, who are given a friction-free experience. In this way, storing your law firm’s data in the Cloud is not only a tool for saving money, it’s a tool for growth and innovation.
Save money and grow your law firm with cloud data storage
Few other sectors generate and move around as much sensitive data as the legal sector. Having the right security, access and capacity is absolutely critical in order for you to be confident your data is safe. If your firm is holding back on taking the leap into cloud storage due to data-retrieval costs, give our team a call today – we’ll help you find the right solution to deliver cost-efficiency, security and resiliency for your law firm’s most valuable asset.