Cloud computing – Still the legal world’s hottest tech topic

The cloud will become a staple weapon in the average legal firm’s arsenal, but it may take a little time

As is the case in most other industries, the cloud has been a hot topic in the legal world for some time now. Service providers talk regularly of the ways they think they can help law firms, and some even cater specifically for this demographic.

The benefits that sold the cloud to millions of businesses across the world – think cost-effective data storage, scalability and flexibility – are more than relevant to the legal world, and could even be game-changing for some firms. For some reason, though, there is still plenty of cloud uncertainty in the industry.

A survey carried out by Legal IT Professionals shows that many law firms are on the fence when it comes to cloud computing. The news site spoke to 438 legal workers, asking the question ‘If your law firm’s management asked for your advice regarding moving key applications to the cloud, would you be in favour of this strategy?’

The results were interesting to say the least, with 46 per cent opposing and 45 per cent in favour. The remaining nine per cent said they had no opinion. Why, then, is this dividing line so clear?

Like any major business decision, moving to the cloud requires a lot of research, preparation and scrutinising – it’s not crazy to suggest that some firms will feel that they simply don’t have the time for this. As clients become increasingly cost-conscious after the recession, businesses are being stretched as it is; adding another project, to some, would seem like a bad idea.

There are two things that should be realised at this point. First, with the right help, the initial changeover doesn’t need to be painful in the slightest; if the provider doesn’t strive to make things easy for its client then it’s the wrong provider. Secondly, the time and money saved in the long term make it completely justifiable anyway.

This isn’t to suggest it’s all down to users to change these stats, either. The study showed that some firms just don’t know how to get started with the cloud, suggesting that many are interested but are being held back by a lack of information. If providers want to sell their products and services in this huge, global market, they must ensure the benefits and processes are both clear and transparent.