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Mobile working is a top priority for US law firms

Tablets, smartphones and BYOD policies gaining greater focus

29 August 2012

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Law firms are increasing their focus on mobile working, according to a recent survey of IT managers.

Tablets are a priority for the majority of respondents, with 79 per cent confirming that they are purchasing these devices.

Investments in smartphones are now almost evenly split between Blackberrys and iPhones.

Nearly three quarters of respondents provide IT support for staff tablet devices. However, only about a third have a formal tablet security policy in place or use cloud computing.

The International Legal Technology Association’s annual legal technology purchasing survey covered 114 law firms. About 88 per cent of respondents said they were based in the US and had purchasing responsibility.

Trends in mobile device management

Two thirds of respondents said their firms were purchasing iPads, while a further 13 per cent said they were testing a variety of tablets on a limited basis. Fifteen per cent said they did not plan to purchase tablets. Android and Blackberry tablets accounted for just two per cent of tablet purchases among the surveyed firms.

At present, only six per cent of responding firms provide tablets to lawyers firmwide and seven per cent provide them to employees on a case-by-case basis.

When asked about smartphone purchases, 49 per cent said they were buying BlackBerry devices, while 48 per cent are investing in iPhones. Only ten per cent have chosen devices using the Android platform.

Three quarters of the surveyed firms said they will provide IT support for employees who bring their own tablet devices to work, but will not reimburse their tablet data plans.

In addition, 61 per cent of respondents said their firms will not cover the cost of any apps purchased by staff, including apps which improve tablet security, connection and business usage.

Only 35 per cent of firms indicated they currently have a formal tablet security policy in place, but 42 per cent said they are currently establishing one.

A key component of mobile working is cloud computing, but just under a third said they are currently using or implementing a cloud solution. Thirty-eight per cent of respondents said they are actively researching it, while 27 per cent said they had no plans to invest in cloud computing.

The top three cloud applications/services for respondents are disaster recovery, storage/backup and email management.

Beyond security, respondents noted that their primary concerns with cloud computing include service reliability, control of data, performance/speed, cost, functionality and vendor longevity.

The full findings of the survey are available here

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