Not all clouds are created equal, however. The two main choices of cloud technologies are the public, private and hybrid cloud.
The public cloud allows users via password protection to store, manipulate, delete, and back-up data including media, images, documents, video, and information. Standard cloud apps include Office 365, DropBox, Google Apps for Business, Adobe Online, HyperOffice, Slack, Salesforce, Amazon Web Services, and Azure.
The public cloud is cheap and easy for staff to access. However, recent indications have pointed to public cloud servers being prone to more sustained and constant attacks from cyberattackers than in previous years.
A public cloud service won’t generally allow you to run legal-firm-centric apps on them like Time Matters, PCLaw, ProLaw, Tabs3, and Worldox so a public cloud will not allow you to customise its functionality in the way you might want it to. This may cause productivity and efficiency issues as well as having the potential to annoy and irritate members of your staff.
A private cloud is different. Your own computers and network are housed within your provider’s premises and they are not connected to any other firm’s computers and network. You can add legal-firm-centric apps onto your private cloud much as you would add them to the devices connected to an IT network in your office. You can dictate the level of security on your private cloud, installing onto it your desired anti-virus software, firewalls, and user access restrictions.
Private clouds can cost a lot of money to set up. Unless there is a named IT lead with a budget and a plan, legal firms have been known to overspend on their private cloud system. You will have to pay your private cloud provider to maintain your system as well as pay them to add extra CPUs or RAM capacity if you want. You will have the same challenges dealing with software and app vendors than you did when you install them on a network within your office.
Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms.
We at Sprout promote the use of hybrid cloud as its primary benefit is agility. The need to adapt and change direction quickly is a core principle of legal business and you may want (or need) to combine public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises resources to gain the agility it needs for a competitive advantage. A recent IDG survey proved this, reporting that organisations with a hybrid cloud model cut IT costs by an average of 24 percent across the board.
Choosing the right hybrid cloud provider
As specialist legal IT service providers, our recommendation would always be to select a hybrid cloud primarily for security, functionality, and service level issues.
In partnership with our clients, we have built our own legal-firm-centric hybrid cloud service, SproutCloud. SproutCloud is a fully hosted IT service with a specific focus on compliance and security. Our legal IT professionals help clients to deploy SproutCloud to improve access, efficiency and productivity by working with you to plan strategy, compliance, connectivity, and process.
Our service is subject to continual development and improvement driven by a combination of careful monitoring of customer feedback and requests, developments in technology, and the changing requirements of modern legal firms. SproutCloud offers connectivity from any device in any location (signal-dependant) at any time. Connectivity is completely secure and private – data is not transmitted over the public internet as it moves from your office to the cloud and to any device logged into the system.
Clients also benefit from end-to-end ISO27001 accreditation (including both the data centre and service provider). SproutCloud offers full UK-based data processing and storage from a secure data centre.
Key SproutCloud benefits
SproutCloud allows you and your colleague to work anywhere and on any device using the legal-firm-centric apps and software you select. Each colleague, on log-in, benefits from their own personalised virtual desktop which they can configure as they please.
Cybersecurity has become an urgent issue for the legal sector and, because of our specialisms as a business and the experience and knowledge of our staff, SproutCloud allows you to source much of your cybersecurity to us at a much lower ongoing cost than employing a subject matter specialist in-house or as a contractor.
If your firm is spread over a number of different sites, we are certain that you have heard colleagues grumble about the speed and the clunkiness of apps like GoToMyPC or LogmeIn. SproutCloud is one company-wide server on which colleagues spread out geographically can share and collaborate.
SproutCloud removes much of your requirements to build and manage a dependable IT infrastructure – skills and knowledge that we’re certain you were not taught at law school and in which you still have very limited personal interest!
And, to answer a frequently asked question from many potential clients in the legal sector, SproutCloud does support Mac computers.
Be cyberaware with Sprout IT
With SproutCloud, legal firms benefit from the ability to take advantage of the flexibility offered by cloud computing but without the expense of having to buy or host dedicated servers for your firm. Additional significant savings are found for clients through not having to pay for the recovery of data or on physical repairs.
To speak with one of our team about protection for your solicitors’ practice or barristers’ chambers against the growing threat of targeted cyberattacks, please call Sprout IT today on 020 7036 8530 or email us.