4 Ways to Strengthen Your Law Firm’s Technology
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has become an important part of law firm operations. A CRM system and a partner dashboard is no longer enough to be ahead of the curve, law firms are now forced to adopt cloud, mobile, and other new legal technology to tackle the challenges that face them today.
However, this is easier said than done. Most firms are short on time or lack a full-time IT leader to help them make wise investments. The result is that uneven technology adoption and declining productivity continues to cost law firms new clients, eroding profitability and putting additional stress and pressure on the firm’s leadership.
Here are 4 ways that a veteran MSP like LNS Solution can help law firms improve their technology.
Ensure Business and Technology Alignment
One of the first principles of deploying technology in a legal services environment, is to establish the right relationship between the two. Business and technology objectives should stay in lockstep, supporting other and toward a single goal, which is to provide maximum return on investment (ROI).
In the IT services field, we call this business-technology alignment. Most law firms tend to be conservative with their technology due to a lack of strategic leadership. Here are three areas that an MSP can help you with.
- Streamline legacy systems
This is a key area of improvement for law firms, as 40% continue to invest in outdated software. Even targeted modernizations that enable better remote work or implement a single cloud-based tools can have a dramatic impact on the efficiency of your firm.
- Automate where possible
When 76% of law firms say that their legal staff spends too much time on manual tasks, automation should be a top priority. Faster client onboarding and conflict checks are good examples of low-hanging fruit in this arena, while going further, document automation holds immense promise in the text-intensive legal workday.
- Implement a DR strategy
Law firms are exchanging confidential data across a variety of platforms. This exposes them to data loss risks, which makes a well-designed and maintained disaster recovery solutions a must for the modern law firm technology’s portfolio.
Foster a Culture of Cybersecurity Preparedness
Because law firms deal with sensitive and confidential client data, they are vulnerable to data security risks, and are prime targets of ransomware attacks. If the 2017 DLA Piper attack is anything to go by, ransomware can cost law firms hundreds of billable hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Data security risks have only intensified since the pandemic. According to 62% CISOs, using email on mobile, though essential, leads to increased data loss. In comparison to pre-pandemic levels, ransomware attacks have also increased exponentially – which makes American Bar Association’s the Ransomware Epidemic an apt precis of 2022’s threat landscape.
These risks, however, can be mitigated. The key is to continually prime your employees on digital security best practices, while working with an external partner to enhance your security posture. Below are some steps that the LNS Solutions team has found can make a critical difference in helping law firms safeguard themselves against security breaches:
- Standardize your data security policy
Law firms should focus on building a strong security culture. That means ensuring key elements of your policy, which includes guidelines on password management, incident reporting, access management, network security, and employee cyber hygiene, are not just disseminated to employees, but also getting enforced consistently.
- Deploy end-to-end encryption
Encryption is a fundamental step toward safeguarding sensitive data. By encrypting data at rest and transit, it helps curb the risk of eavesdropping attacks and helps you embrace cloud programs with greater confidence. The open-source AES-256 encryption standard provides very strong protection, making it a worthwhile starting point for a security-conscious firm.
- Strengthen vendor management
An unsecure software vendor, billing services firm, website developer, or cloud service provider can provide hackers with a backdoor into your systems, exposing you to potentially catastrophic data loss. Establish a baseline of preparedness for your vendors by asking them to explain their cybersecurity policy, then incorporate those cyber risk scenarios into your third-party agreements.
Empower Your Firm with Mobile Device Management
According to the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), mobility emerged as one of the key priorities in its recent survey that explored the impact of new legal technologies. Hybrid remote-onsite work policies are gaining traction, empowering remote employees with the right tools of the trade has become an unspoken expectation.
Here are some of the ways that mobility can enhance the operations at your law firm:
- Data Access - Providing anywhere-access to data enables employees to seamlessly accomplish tasks both from the office and at home.
- Increase Collaboration - Digital workspaces improve the productivity levels of remote employees and enable them to collaborate with other remote and in-office employees on synchronized files.
- Customer Satisfaction - Mobile devices, along with the right digital tools, helps your team better service clients, responding to their needs and questions faster than would be possible otherwise.
Law firms are willing to arm their employees with digital tools and mobile devices, doing so without adequate oversight can do more harm than good. To embrace mobility with confidence, law firms must consider mobile device management software.
A mobile device management (MDM) platform enables law firms to centrally orchestrate a fleet of remotely connected devices. Centralized management gives IT administrators oversight and control over mobile devices so they can maintain security policy compliance and make course corrections as needed. Deploying and configuring an MDM solutions is fraught with complex decisions, which is why most law firms look to a trusted managed IT services provider for help.
Plan a Technology Roadmap That Reflects Your Goals
In case of technology, change is the rule rather than the exception. New technologies emerge and open possibilities. Over time, cutting edge technologies will make those original investments obsolete. That’s why it is crucial to balance short-term priorities with long-term considerations by devising an IT roadmap and reviewing it periodically.
An IT roadmap is a plan that outlines a company’s technology initiatives for the long run, in the order of priority and their importance in the context of the business. It is developed after thorough considerations, and incorporates financial, technology, and business perspectives.
Law firms must have an IT roadmap too, with the following key outcomes as the end goal:
- Eliminate unexpected costs - One of the most important objectives of an IT roadmap is to plan long-term IT budgeting. This helps law firms to avoid cost overruns, while also helping them pursue new IT initiatives in an orderly way.
- Plan for your future - As law firms grow bigger, their technology needs will change too. They may need more comprehensive cybersecurity solutions, or advanced MDM capabilities if they switch to a hybrid working model. These requirements should not come as a surprise. That’s why your business goals must be aligned to your technology requirements.
- Meet risk/compliance needs - Legal firms are subject to numerous regulations and standards, which include the PCI-DSS (if they deal with financial data), HIPAA (if they handle medical claims), and American Bar Association Rule 1.6. While implementing new capabilities may be tempting, staying compliant is a key aspect of legal operations. Make sure that risk and compliance reporting needs are a part of your IT roadmap.
Tampa’s Legal IT Strategy, Support, and Security Partner
Law firms in the Tampa area have been relying on the LNS Solutions team for decades to provide responsive, reliable IT insight and support. We encourage any law firms that want to feel more confident about their technology to reach out to us at any time.