Migrating to the cloud seems to be the best option now in order to secure your law firm’s future. However, moving can be uncomfortable especially if you’re not sure what exactly is this meteorological term turned into a technological service all about.
A rising number of large and established legal firms in Australia are shifting to cloud-based solutions. Moving almost all data and other resources to the cloud seems to be the trend nowadays. Reasons cited are the monumental benefits promoting convenience like the ease of use, 24/7 accessibility, IT cost reduction, and improved productivity.
Cloud-based softwares, like Google Drive and Dropbox, boasts about the ability for anyone in your firm to access files without the need for downloading applications or eating up a large amount of space on your computer since these can be accessed simply by logging into a web browser.
Cloud-based solutions are indeed revolutionizing how legal firms conduct their business. It allows lawyers and legal professionals to work more effectively, efficiently anywhere at any time. Another pivotal advantage of cloud-based solutions making it suitable for legal firms is its compatibility with existing legal software thus making it possible to access and mirror your firm’s office–virtually.
Understanding the Cloud
If you still don’t have a good grasp of what cloud is all about, think about Gmail. You can access your Gmail account simply by using the internet. Your Gmail is an application that runs in your browser, allowing you to log into your mailbox. You use the tool without the need to store it on your disk drives or your phone’s internal storage. The messages and attachments are being saved somewhere else, meaning, it is not stored on an internally located server.
The data are being stored in massive server farms located in different parts of the world. These servers, each having a different function, are connected through a real-time communication network. Now, let’s look at the different terms associated with the cloud:
When talking about Public Cloud, a good thing to remember is that there’s no exclusivity. The cloud computing resources in this environment can be accessed by others as well. From the hardware, software, and data storage services you consume, the Public Cloud has a specific menu of services and is not easily customisable. However, Public Cloud is very cost-effective.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS, also referred as Web-based or hosted software, is a service where you simply need to access an application using the Internet. With Software as a Service, you don’t need to install and maintain a software thus freeing you from complex technical management. The service provider of a SaaS ultimately manages the application including its availability and security.
Private Cloud or Infrastructure/Platform-as-a-Service (IaaS or PaaS)
Unlike Public Cloud, the Private Cloud differs primarily for its flexibility. Your firm can pick specific features, customise it according to your preferred availability, security, and performance requirements. In a Private Cloud setting, the service provider owns the servers and network components but you have more control when it comes to system specifications.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) deals with the physical hardware within the managed solutions space, the infrastructure component. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) on the other hand, is a service that offers a full platform.
In STaaS, a firm rents space in their storage infrastructure to another. Storage as a service is more popular in small or mid-sized firms as it’s cheaper than owning a storage infrastructure. In this model, the provider allows storage space rental on a cost-per-gigabyte-stored and cost-per-data-transfer basis.
Now, here’s a comprehensive list of current available cloud-based software for legal firms in Australia.
* PracticePanther Legal Software. Case/contact/document management, calendaring, docketing, time-tracking, billing, invoicing, and accounting.
* AbacusLaw Software. Court date calculator, rule-based calendaring, data security, time-tracking, email management.
* Clio Software. Case and document management, billing and invoicing, accounting, task reporting.
* MyCase Software. Time-tracking, case/contact management, docketing, electronic billing, custom communication templates, case filling, expense tracking, and dedicated client portal.
* TimeSolv Legal Software. Time-tracking, billing solution, case/document management, document automation.
* BQE Core Legal. Integrated accounting, time-tracking, billing, invoicing, customisable report templates.
* Smokeball Software. Case/contact management, calendaring, time-tracking, billing, accounting, automated legal forms, task-management, email management.
* Kurent by Tabs3. Billing and invoicing, trust account management, time-tracking, payment collection, data analysis.
* GrowPath Software. Case and document management, matter trackers, market measurement tools, ROI measurement tool.
* ProTempus Software. Contact/case/document management, trust accounting.