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The Many Benefits Of Using The Cloud For Legal Practice Management
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More and more legal practices are switching their matter management from an on-premise system to the cloud. In fact, figures in the US show that the percentage of law firms there using the cloud jumped form 38% in 2016 to 52% by the end of 2017 which is a huge rise. Even so, with the many matter management software benefits in the cloud, one wonders why nearly half of lawyers are still using in-house equipment when it is so expensive.
With a local system you have to regularly update the hardware, you need a dedicated IT expert, there is the problem of training new employees, and you also have to make frequent backups. Furthermore, if your system goes down mid-morning you can be in trouble. Whereas you can work in the cloud and just pay a monthly fee per user which in many cases is going to cost a lot less than your on-premise system. The company providing the service takes care of all the hardware updates, so you are always using the latest technology, and it is backed up – frequently on several different support systems.
One of the huge matter management software benefits in the cloud is that you can access your information from anywhere. Instead of sitting in court waiting for your case to be called, you can be earning fees using your tablet or smartphone, so you become more productive. The same applies if for some reason you can't get into the office: you can work form home just as easily. And what happens if you live an hour's drive from your office and find that you have forgotten a document that is needed early the next morning? You are only human, after all, and we have all done that. When all your data and documents about a matter are in the cloud you can access them at 2 am if you want to.
Cloud based solutions are usually very quick and easy to get up and running. It can take weeks or even months to set up an on-premise system and have it fully running, whereas with a cloud-based system you don't even need to talk to a salesman: you can set it up outside office hours and be up and running straight away. In most cases they are very easy to learn, and you will usually get a free trial so that you can see how you get on with the platform. Moving data from an on-premise system or another platform is simple and straightforward. Furthermore, you are not locked into the system if you want to change providers at some point.
Another big advantage of a cloud-based solution is that there are no issues about compatibility with other software used on premise. You don't need one software for matter management, another for billing, and yet another for time tracking, as it is all integrated into one. You can enter your time on a case and the software will automatically add it to the correct claim form, and the claim form automatically posts it to he accounts. You can also view stats and reports, dictate straight to the case, and record expenses. The software will integrate with things like Outlook 365, Quickbooks, Dropbox, and so on.
Cloud computing systems will have many layers of protection in place to ensure that your data is safe from cyber attacks and also physical breaches. You can permit or deny access to your employees, and you can also see at any time who has had access to a document and what action, if any, they took. The majority of cloud solutions have multi-factor authentication in place to protect against unauthorised access even when people are accessing from different devices. Compliance with regulations, such as GDPR, is easier because the software provider will have all the necessary requirements in place. Furthermore, many of the cloud-based solutions have a client portal so that you can also share documents with your client.
In short, switching to the cloud will save you hours of non-billable time every month and provides you access to every piece of information about a matter all in one place.
Box: DPS Software is the largest legal cloud in the UK and has been providing matter management software benefits to the legal profession for over 30 years.
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