One of the biggest challenges facing today’s lawyers is technology. The Internet has made it easy for clients to go online and get legal information without the use of a lawyer. Some clients come in for a consultation chock full of misinformation, which you then have to decipher and correct.
Unlike 20 years ago, the need for lawyers is narrowing due to free online legal resources, putting even more pressure on you to “sell” your service or reduce your fees. Technology has changed the world in many positive ways — even for lawyers — but in some ways, it has made the profession much more challenging
With all this technology has come additional laws regulating how lawyers can promote their practice. With more competition than ever and the need for self-promotion, it gets tricky to balance building your practice and using technology to get there.
The Advantages of Cloud Storage in the Legal Field
We live in the digital age, and most, if not all, of your clients will be communicating via, and storing information on, mobile devices that sync with cloud servers. A lot of daily life gets stored in the cloud and evidence is no exception.
Chances are they will be emailing you or sending you links to their information saved online. Having everything in digital form makes organizing, retrieving, and storing files a lot easier. The convenience factor alone is worth the extra security needed.
There are some advantages to storing all your legal files in the cloud rather than in your office. Everything in the cloud is backed up on external services, so if you have an office fire, all your files remain safe. Nothing is ever lost. It is also cheaper to store your network files online and easier to share with staff and co-counsel. Remote access from any device makes saving your data in the cloud even more appealing.
The Dangers of Evidence Stored Online
In some cases, digital evidence has to be stored online to bring it to court — things like videos and audio recordings. However, another concern for lawyers is that the laws surrounding digital evidence and what is admissible or dismissible can be confusing and cloudy. Digital evidence that has been inappropriately collected via hacking, theft, or from unreliable sources won’t make the grade when brought before a judge.
Even the courtrooms and digital forensic scientists are challenged to keep up with rapidly changing technology. Nothing is private in law enforcement, and your client’s texts, emails, and even computer files might come into play during a case.
Forensic experts can use mobile phones to track whereabouts using the GPS chip. Therefore, as a lawyer, you need to know all you can about technology and how it can be used against your client. Files stored online that are backed up by a third-party could be subpoenaed and provide the court with evidence that you didn’t know existed.
Outsourcing IT Security Services
Busy with legal briefs, client meetings, and court appearances, many lawyers don’t have the time or inclination to stay on top of emerging technologies. When privacy and security are germane to your practice, it is essential to know that you are staying on top of how information technology affects your industry.
Information technology encompasses a variety of different things, each with a distinct level of vulnerability. It often makes good sense to outsource your IT services to a trusted partner. You will want to select a company that can provide you with a comprehensive suite of services covering cybersecurity, disaster recovery, backups, document management, IT services including hardware and software, and even a support team for your staff.
As part of your outsourcing plan, you will probably want to include a cybersecurity analyst into the mix. They will thoroughly evaluate your current system along with your outsourced assets and look for threat intelligence, risk assessment and overall vulnerability of your information technology. They will then provide a comprehensive report with a plan to secure all areas with immediate and ongoing monitoring and maintenance plans.
The Cybersecurity Factor
One of the most dire threats to any legal practice is hacking and exposure of digital assets through theft. When it comes to technology, you cannot be too careful with your security. Your cybersecurity analyst will help identify the problem areas and suture them up. However, you will then need constant monitoring to prevent further breaches.
Outsourcing your IT, networking and support services is an excellent way to insulate you from liability, especially in cases of cybersecurity. Another added benefit is that it saves time and money. Rather than spend time hiring an IT manager and then training them, you can take that money and retain professionals who are bonded and insured, further protecting you and your reputation.
When self-managing your IT, network, and web services, you could miss a critical step that leaves you and your practice vulnerable. Outsourcing all IT services may be a very attractive option to secure your data, retain privacy, and protect yourself and your firm from harm.
Author Info: Noah Rue is a writer, a digital nomad, and a graduate of the lessons of life (primary) and also the University of Idaho. These days, Noah teaches English as a second language in lovely Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and moonlights as a content strategist for an American based marketing company.