Every law firm has two major challenges. One of them is the storage of the sheer volume of data their business creates and the other one is the protection of that data. The last few decades’ worth of technology has created a very solid solution for the first challenge. A small computer disk can hold terabytes of data inside an enclosed drive. If that seems like too much, the cloud has offered an off-site solution to the problem that eliminates hardware maintenance. Before these solutions came along, information could only be saved on paper that filled boxes and boxes.
Security is a much more complex challenge. Before, you could lock those boxes of papers in an office, turn on the burglar alarm and go home. Someone would have to physically go there and break into your office to steal that information, and it would be pretty noticeable when they walked out carrying boxes. Nowadays all someone needs is some knowledge of computers and software, and they can hack into that material from afar. They don’t even have to be in the same country much less in the same city or neighborhood. Therefore, the unintended consequence of a solution for one problem turned out to be the creation of another, yet much more serious problem: the loss of security. Now the technology has to be managed systematically and monitored very closely. That is why law firms need managed IT services.
Here are a few advantages of having a Managed Service Provider or MSP handle your IT needs.
Accessibility: As an attorney, you need to have the ability to access your files anytime and from anywhere. Let’s say you are in a court and suddenly you discover that an important document is needed. You should be able to retrieve that on-demand from any device you carry. Managed IT could have all the files available to you through in-cloud storage.
Security: Given the nature of information that law firms are entrusted with, security can’t be overemphasized. Breach of that information can ruin lives, sometimes irreparably. That means damage to your professional reputation as well as the bottom line. So how can managed services prevent that from happening? By being proactive. Your core business is to provide legal services to your clients. Worries about the security of your systems should be the last thing on your mind. MSPs are there to prevent viruses and any other suspicious activity that might bring your systems down. Their software applications are capable of alerts whenever something unusual is taking place inside your networks.
Government Regulations: Law firms deal with a lot of client information that is protected by law. For example, HIPAA has very stringent regulations protecting medical records. Laws provide for stiff penalties and fines if the security of those records is breached. Outdated software and hardware may expose those records to hackers because your in-house IT team is behind with updates.
Multiple Offices: Many law firms operate from more than one location. IT managed services can bring uniformity and the necessary coordination between multiple sites. Your in-house IT team may not have the ability to do that or the budget to maintain it. Also, some firms that work in coordination with other organizations may allow access to some of their systems. Your IT management company can ensure that other firm’s systems don’t create risks for your network because of lack of compatibility or security flaws.
Lack of Technical Experience: You know the law, but you can’t keep up with ever evolving technology. The new complexities emerging, such as Bring Your Own Device to work, must be implemented if businesses want to survive in a very competitive environment. It is also important for revenue growth due to the efficiencies it brings to your environment. As a law firm, it is in your best interest that you let an MSP take care of your IT needs.
Managing your Growth: Your law firm probably started with a couple of computers, printers, copiers and a fax machine. It was easy to take care of all your hardware. Also, during those good old days nobody was trying to hack into your computers. Your business is now growing. You have a staff of dozens and many desktops, servers, and software packages. Everyday it gets increasingly difficult to keep track of new technologies. So managed services is not an option. It has become a necessity for your revenue growth and business continuity.
Monitoring: One way to avoid critical breakdowns and security breaches is 24/7 monitoring. This is the surefire way to avoid and control security breaches, viruses and hacker attacks, but it isn’t something a small firm can do on its own. It requires the presence of 24/7 labor plus investment in exceptionally sophisticated software and as well as hardware. This sort of investment is not practical for smaller firms.
Disadvantages of In-house IT Management: The break-fix approach is not very practical for highly sensitive networks. For one, it is expensive. The old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ fits well here. In the long run it makes good financial sense to have someone who is proactively monitoring your systems day and night, preventing system breakdowns, especially with extremely sensitive information on your computers and servers. You do not want to wait for disaster to strike to fix the problem. Some of the damage may be irreparable. In addition, breakdowns are costly in terms of lost productivity and business disruption. MSPs specialize in BDR (Backup & Disaster Recovery), which is important for minimizing downtime and maintaining business continuity. The peace of mind that an MSP can provide will not come from someone on call or who works from 9 to 5.