Ensuring your internal IT resource has all the
necessary skills to support themodern IT
environment is essential; however, it isn’t easy.The
cloud offers scalability, as it is simple to add
resources and firms are able to cost per user per
monthwith no surprises.
What to look out for?
The recent LawSociety practice notes on‘Cloud
Computing’and‘Business Continuity’and the SRA’s
‘Silver Linings: Cloud Computing, LawFirms and
Risk’, together with our booklet‘Cloud and
Compliance:Your questions answered’, all provide a
very good reviewof what to look out for when
moving to a cloud provider.
This includes:
Does the provider use UK data centres and do
they reach the ISO27001 standard?
Does your provider understand your compliance
requirements andmeet or exceed themwith
their cloud offering?
Does the cloud service include DR and BC as
Is the cloud provider a specialist?They should
have a significant number of lawfirmclients with
available testimonials and themajority of their
revenues should come fromcloud contracts.
Is the cloud provider financially secure and how
long have they been trading?
Will the cloud provider meet your target service
levels? Always read the small print in their terms
and conditions.
Does the provider have experience of hosting
your case and practicemanagement and other
sector specific applications?
Firms who have been awarded conveyancing
quality scheme (CQS) accreditationmust also have a
provenDR/BC plan and procedures, where‘proven’
means being able to demonstrate to the regulators
that the planwill work. Failure to do so puts the firm
at risk of losing their CQS accreditation, whichmay
ultimately have serious consequences for
membership of lending panels.
During 2013/14 CQS stepped up the number of
desktop audits it carried out, withmany coming
mid-termand at short notice. Asmaintaining these
new standards can be challenging for many firms,
this is where the right hosted IT solution can help
mitigate IT risks.
Hosted service providers can deliver the
necessary back up, recovery and continuity support
by storing the lawfirm’s data, software and even
hardware in dedicated ultra-secure UK based data
Yet these providersmust themselves adhere to
the SRA’s principles, and thus CQS, if you are to
remain compliant. If you are considering a hosted
solution, ask if the partner meets all the SRA
requirements and get an independent opinion from
a recognised compliance expert such as Legal Eye.
Finally, be aware that risk changes and develops
over time and a regular reviewand test of your
systems is essential.
Technology Focus
Risk changes and
develops over time
What are the benefits to‘the cloud’?
Guaranteed network uptime delivers fee earner and secretary productivity.
Built-in business continuity means that if the worst does happen your staff can continue working almost
immediately from any internet-enabled device.
Cloud enables staff to work from anywhere, anytime and on any device, and has been proven to boost
staff productivity.
Cloud includes all your server hardware and Microsoft licensing so you can avoid the high unpredictable
financial costs associated with hardware and software upgrades and forget about high one-off capital
expenditure associated with IT spend.
What will firms save bymoving to the cloud?
The firm will be saving on running costs of servers and air conditioning as well as removing the need for
extra lines and services the firm had required for the servers, which they no longer have.
The life of desktop PCs are extended because they are replaced with thin client (usually with Citrix)
Firms will reduce costs associated with IT service management, staff and costs downtime.
New application rollouts or test environments can be delivered quickly and efficiently on demand.
The right cloud provider will meet all of your IT compliance needs as standard so that you can get on with
running the firm.
The roles of IT staff are enriched by the ability to focus on added-value services, rather than the day-to-
day running of your IT and practice management systems.
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