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Best practice for moving to the cloud

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Cloud computing is proliferating the legal sector as firms see the benefits of having greater agility, effective business continuity procedures in place, and the ability to offer staff more flexibility around how and where they work. But how should firms approach a move to the cloud and what do they need to consider?

Approach

When considering a move to the cloud it is important to take time to understand your current position and assess where you want to be in future. You need to find the best approach for your firm and to understand the options available to you. Don't assume that a big bang is the only approach. Every firm is different and a gradual move from on-premise to a hybrid cloud, where offsite cloud resources are used to enhance, upgrade or extend your existing onsite IT resources, could offer a staged approach to a fully hosted solution.

Often firms consider a move to the cloud when changing or upgrading their case management or practice management solution. With a cloud-based delivery there is no investment required for additional servers to accommodate your solution. With the cloud you only pay for the storage you need and can easily scale to meet your future needs. It also has the advantage of having disaster recovery and business continuity built in.

Change Management

As with any project, it is vital to educate people within the organisation about the need for change, how this can be achieved and the benefits it will bring to the organisation. Get board-level buy-in from the outset and identify advocates within the business. Don't underestimate the work required on both sides. Projects take time and resource and your firm requires a clear project manager.

Choosing a Vendor

When it comes to choosing a vendor, listen to the experiences of other firms. Get testimonials and references, and speak to your case management provider too for their recommendations. You should choose a vendor who can demonstrate successful cloud project management. It's also important that they understand the legal sector, know the software that you are using and are aware of the roles and responsibilities within a legal firm.

Don't neglect security and data protection, gain a clear explanation from the vendor of how they approach these issues. Check and compare SLA's, especially relating to uptime and support response times. As a law firm, you must also make sure you are using a compliant service that meets regulatory requirements.

And finally...

Don't forget the importance of UAT (User Acceptance Testing). It's vital to making sure your project is successful and that you achieve your ROI. Testing is all important.

About the Author:


With over 10 years of experience of IT infrastructure and datacentre solution management, Andrew leads the highly-skilled team of technical consultants and analysts at Converge Technology Specialists. His wealth of knowledge has proved invaluable to clients in terms of network design, harnessing ‘best of breed’ technology and creating infrastructure roadmaps that are aligned with business strategy. Operating solely in the legal sector, Andrew is well-placed to advise on the technical nuances attributed to law firms with particular expertise in application performance improvements linked to infrastructure. Often asked to speak at sector-leading events, Andrew has recently focussed on the growing threat of cybercrime and the risks posed to law firms, offering practical guidance and advice on how to mitigate against the likelihood of attack.

Converge Technology Specialists
As the only Cloud Computing Provider dedicated to UK law firms, Converge Technology Specialists have over 10 years’ experience advising law firms on how to align their IT roadmap with the firm’s overarching business strategy. Delivering a suite of hosted and managed infrastructure services, including Hosted Desktop, IaaS, DRaaS and Infrastructure Support, Converge Technology Specialists work closely with firms to facilitate key business goals including improved productivity, mitigating the risks of cyber-crime and achieving growth.

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