Legal documents are foundational to any law firm — but with thousands upon thousands of documents to store, managing them all can be a challenge.
Most law firms have made the transition away from extensive (and expensive) physical storage of paper documents. On-premises document management systems (DMS) allowed law firms to begin storing documents digitally, however, these systems are no longer able to keep up with the speed of modern business.
Now, there’s a much more powerful, efficient, and flexible option for law firms to store their documents securely: the cloud.
Cloud document management systems offer a superior document storage option for digital files and client information, while also providing a robust set of productivity and collaboration tools.
In this article, we’ll share some of the benefits of cloud storage as well as key features a law firm should consider when evaluating cloud storage options.
The American Bar Association(ABA) cites anytime/anywhere access, low cost of entry, predictable monthly expenses, and robust security features as key factors pushing law firms to pursue cloud technology.
Cloud storage enables attorneys and other legal professionals to access files securely from anywhere and on desktop and mobile devices — without the need for a notoriously-unreliable VPN connection. This provides users with greater flexibility, including the ability to work remotely or get things done outside normal working hours.
Compared with on-premises solutions, the setup and ongoing costs of cloud storage platforms is much less expensive. Typically, law firms will only pay one-time implementation costs plus predictable monthly user fees for cloud storage. In contrast, an on-premises storage solution will incur high costs for system set up, hardware, software licenses, maintenance, and more.
In a similar vein, scaling an on-premises system to expand your data storage capacity can be difficult and costly. Cloud storage solutions, on the other hand, can easily scale to fit your firm’s needs.
Believe it or not, cloud storage solutions can actually be more secure than an on-premises system. Whereas on-premises systems rely on a law firm’s own IT resources, cloud service providers have a strong incentive to commit extensive resources to securing their customers’ data.
This means stronger security measures built into the platform, quicker response to emerging threats, and more agile bug fixes. It also means that updates can be automatically pushed to customers without the need for system downtime.
If you are concerned about how to handle local information residency requirements with the cloud, don’t worry. Cloud-based solutions can offer geo-aware content storage to keep you compliant while still giving you access to all the benefits the cloud has to offer.
Storing documents in the cloud also makes it easy for attorneys to share files and collaborate with colleagues and clients. Whereas on-premises systems may require you to export documents to a third-party storage solution or extranet in order to collaborate with external users, cloud computing makes it simple.
Be aware, however, that commercial cloud storage solutions such as Box, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Google Drive are not designed to meet the stringent security requirements of legal work.
When your firm is evaluating potential cloud computing solutions — including cloud-based document management systems — there are a few things you should keep in mind.
NetDocuments is the preferred secure cloud storage solution for law firms. But what our platform offers is so much more than storage.
Our legal-centric document and email management system delivers the best cloud storage solution for law firms with advanced security while increasing your firm’s productivity with an array of tools and features to keep you organized, align your team, enhance collaboration, and much more.
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