Cloud computing offers a number of potential benefits for legal departments and GCs, particularly those that operate internationally. The technology promises a secure and centralized means of data storage that can be accessed by legal staff anywhere in the world. However, legal departments, and the legal industry in general, has been slow to adopt the technology due to concerns about security, privacy and lack of control. Despite these anxieties, some legal departments and law firms are beginning to take advantage of cloud technology. Reserving a consideration of security for another discussion, what are the key considerations for a law firm – benefits that can’t be provided by on-site alternatives?
Since data storage within the cloud is centralized, users are able to retrieve and store data independently in real-time. The centralization also takes server maintenance, security architecture and updates out of the equation as these tasks are generally left to the hosting provider. Additionally, since data transmissions to and from the cloud are typically encrypted, the need for complex network connections using VPNs or other security mechanisms is reduced. The combination of data transmission encryption along with secure password protection, allows users to access information from anywhere and from any device.
The centralized storage capabilities of the cloud are useful for facilitating cross-department collaboration within an organization. Cloud-based applications allow in-house teams to provide other departments with templates for basic contracts or agreements, as well as to assign tasks and automate workflows, saving time and simplifying more complex work processes. Such platforms also allow GCs to track the status of ongoing legal matters in a single dashboard, giving them more control than using manual tools. A central database makes it easier for legal teams to generate insights from their data, helping them take on a more strategic role within the organization.
Simple to scale
Due to their ability to rapidly adapt to changing technologies and the ability to change framework conditions, cloud solutions should have more flexibility and provide access to more current technology than on-site solutions. The capability to access a cloud system from virtually anywhere is particularly useful for larger companies where exchanges of data often cross international borders. Cloud solutions are also frequently designed to be modular, allowing for quick implementations and expansion without the need for complicated and expensive IT projects. Organizations can start with a small number of functions and expand at a later date as business needs require.