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Survey: Law Departments Are Warming up to the Cloud

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on February 18, 2016 1:00 PM

Like it or not, the cloud is coming and it looks like its here to stay. According to a survey-slash-white-paper by AriKaplan Advisors, law firms and in-house legal departments are slowly but surely adopting more cloud based computing into their business models. Now at least 84 percent of respondents are open to the cloud.

This seems to be a significant jump from previous numbers that generally placed firm openness to the cloud at around 68 percent.

On a scale of One to Five

One of the highlights of the survey was the fact that more than a solid third of responding legal teams said that they use the cloud pretty heavily -- at a four or above on a standard "one to five" scale. About 80 percent they use the cloud at a rate of three or above. That number implies strongly that pretty much all corporate legal departments that responded use the cloud in some degree or manner.

What Are Law Departments Using the Cloud For? eBilling.

Making their clients' lives miserable. Just kidding -- we mean eBilling.

Of those legal departments that use the cloud, it seems the most widely used application is for cloud based eBilling. Sixy-Eight percent of responders checked "yes" to that. This was followed by "matter management" and "contract management" respectively.

Convenience Versus Security

No doubts that convenience is a motivating factor for legal departments to adopt the cloud. This has two edges, however: With increased access comes increased mobility and convenience -- at the price of security risks. In-house lawyers know this one well, and usually bite their nails to the quick whenever yet another device is linked to the company's cloud network.

In fact, one might even make the argument that convenience is in direct conflict with security. The reason something is secure is because it's hard to access -- even to those who have authorization to do so.

It Pays to Be Careful

One anonymous participant to the survey commented that his company saw virtues in the cloud and said the following: "The company is becoming more open to cloud solutions; it is not as scared from a security standpoint."

On the other hand, it does pay to be careful. Almost in the same breath, the same participant noted that his company was also pushing forward to develop an internal data center so it has made "the long term decision to keep data on the premises, rather than in the cloud."

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