Why Legal Firms Are Switching To Cloud Computing

 What’s Driving Law Firms’ Need For The Cloud

While many sectors have been quick to embrace cloud computing, law offices have traditionally lagged behind. Part of this has to do with regulation concerns governing case data and another aspect is the lack of technical expertise not infrequently present within a law firm. However, according to a recent article from Big Law Business, legal firms are finally starting to make the shift away from in-house data centers.

This move is being prompted not just by the advantages of cloud computing but by shifting international laws and data regulations. Larger legal offices that deal with clients from around the world are finding it easier to rely on cloud technology.

Help With GDPR Adoption

A large factor driving this change is the deployment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the European Union. This law was written to better protect user privacy rights within an increasingly digital world, setting clear definitions as to what information can and cannot be discretely collected and used without the user’s informed consent.

While much of these new regulations link back to the growing prevalence of social networks, even basic communications like email and instant messenger fall under GDPR review. As such, many tech companies that service international clients, including cloud service providers, have updated their solutions to be in full compliance of the GDPR. By making the switch to the cloud, legal firms save themselves the time and energy that would be needed to ensure their data infrastructures follow the new EU law.

Reduced Storage Needs

Another large benefit of cloud solutions is the reduced need for space. Traditional filing systems included filing cabinets and, typically, an off-premise third party storage provider. This infrastructure, while solid, was easily impacted by lost or missing information, in addition to piling up sizeable annual costs – even for smaller legal firms.

Switching to a cloud solution relegates the majority of data, especially archived cases, to digital only, freeing up space and eliminating third party storage costs.

Even on-premise, digital storage requires devoting a room to servers and other hardware_Afinety, Inc.Even on-premise digital storage involves devoting a room to servers and other hardware.

Secure Data That Is Readily Available

However, space saving is not the primary reason to digitize confidential information. As the American Bar Association pointed out, cloud platforms offer a variety of benefits including improved mobility and, more importantly, data security. The vast majority of cloud solutions are designed to be transparent, letting administrators keep an eye on each aspect of the system. This reduces the time needed to detect malicious data breaches, allowing the cloud security to crack down on the problem before it is severe.

Most cloud software builds in automated responses, working to close breaches as soon as they’re detected. Storing data on the cloud also allows it to be encrypted and stored behind multiple levels of authentication, including at least one password. In addition, cloud infrastructures tend to utilize the principle of least privilege. This means that the average user has their permissions restricted to only the files they need. Doing this lowers the risk of accidental change and makes it so that, if a cybercriminal gains access to an account, the whole system does not have a chance of being compromised.

As digital laws continue to shift in response to the GDPR and other regulations, expect even more legal firms to adopt cloud platforms. A modern world calls for innovative solutions.

Cybersecurity Costs: Why Legal Firms Should Adopt Cloud Solutions


Every week brings a new headline about cybersecurity, or rather the data breach that has occurred because company X was hacked by cyberattack Y. Ransomware, malware, distributed denial of service, phishing – each week it’s a new culprit and a different victim. The news can be intimidating. Many of the companies being hardest hit have resources and reputations.

This creates the idea that cyberattacks are all powerful, disruptive forces that can strike anywhere at any time, rather like lightning in a storm. However, just like lightning, cyberattacks have safeguards. They can be guarded against by taking precautionary steps, many legal firms are simply dragging their feet when it comes to putting up the metaphorical lightning rod.

The Current State Of Law Firm Cybersecurity

Data from a LogicForce report confirms that many legal firms are not doing enough when it comes to matters of cybersecurity. Unlike certain industries, law offices have specific standards set on data governance and information security. The penalties for violating said regulations are severe, including loss of license and income.
Nevertheless, the LogicForce report found that only 5 percent of law firms were compliant with their own cybersecurity and data retention policies. In fact, the overwhelming majority – 77 percent – hadn’t even formed concrete cybersecurity protocols.

This slowness when handling such vital matters is not only dangerous but potentially costly.  Studies found that SMBs are paying roughly $117,000 per data breach incident. Larger companies can expect each cyberattack to cost over $1 million.

LogicForce data concluded that cybercriminals have no rhyme or reason when it comes to determining which firms they target. Large or small, wealthy or new – every law firm is at risk and cannot afford to delay cybersecurity policies. Cybercrime is not like its traditional counterpart. The infiltration does not need to be designed to a specific building blueprint or staff makeup. Part of what makes cybersecurity such a pressing issue is a hacker’s ability to target multiple businesses in different industries and locations simultaneously.

While every law firm LogicForce surveyed was targeted for classified client data, only 60 percent were even aware they’d been breached. Cybercrime does damage over time. The longer a malicious third party has access to data, the more files they can access. Organizations that can detect a breach within its first day can drastically limit the damage being done.

Cybercriminals can target multiple servers and networks simultaneously_Afinety, Inc.Cybercriminals can target multiple servers and networks simultaneously.

How Cloud Solutions Can Help

Many legal firms can feel powerless when it comes to cybersecurity. It can feel like this specialized new form of protection demands either mass resources or a talented and trained IT staff. However, law offices do not need to combat cybercrime on their own.
Part of the reason cloud solutions like Afinety Cloud Platform have become popular is due to their increased cybersecurity abilities.  Multifactor authentication, data encryption and email protection are ways in which firm can protect themselves from breaches.  Many cloud solutions are designed with detection tools to watch for attempted data breaches. For example, Afinety’s anti-intrusion service successfully blocked a total of 6,931 breach attempts and 1,152 would-be virus attacks on our clients’ networks all within the month of April of this year!

Law offices clearly need help with their cybersecurity efforts and cloud solutions can provide that crucial aid.

5 Tips For Developing A Paperless Law Firm


Efficiently, Securely And Successfully Operate A Paperless Law Practice

Most of the work we do today is done on the computer, but that doesn’t mean paper has gone away. Many organizations still rely on paper for internal processes, external contracts and billing procedures.

Shifting to a paperless office is not only good for the environment, but also for business. Cloud-based, digital solutions can improve productivity, control costs, and reduce office redundancies.

Here are six ways to transition your law office away from paper:

1. Convert Existing Paper Documents Into Digital

It’s hard to go digital if most of your existing documents are in paper form. Therefore, one of the first steps toward a truly paperless office is to digitize those existing assets. Depending on the amount of documents currently housed at your offices, you may decide to take on this task yourself, or outsource it to a vendor. Similarly, you can encourage your staff to digitize their personal documents via an app. There are a number of apps that can use a smartphone’s built-in camera to capture crisp, clear images of documents.

2. Invest In Collaboration Solutions

One of the primary benefits of a paperless office is the boost in productive collaboration that you can expect to see. Cloud-based collaboration solutions make it easy for personnel to access and edit documents from any device, at any time. In fact, some solutions make it possible to “check out” documents so that multiple stakeholders can work on the project without worrying about overwriting each others’ work. When considering collaboration suites, choose a solution with ample security protection.

The cloud securely makes your documents available from any authorized device_Afinety, IncThe cloud makes your documents available from any authorized device.

3. Store Everything In A Secure Cloud

When your law office handles confidential information, it’s your responsibility to make sure it stays that way. Cloud solutions can provide multiple levels of security, ensuring that the only people who see your documents are those with the authority to do so.

Security is especially important during the transport of documents. A cloud solution eliminates many of the threats inherent in transporting paper documents because the data never actually moves from the cloud. A secure cloud will ensure that your confidential information remains closed off from prying eyes.

4. Incentivize Paperless Productivity

Creating a paperless law office requires the buy-in of all stakeholders. To incentivize the shift toward digital documentation, you’ll need to ensure that your digital solutions are capable of not only replacing paper, but also developing increased technology. To be sure, the environmental impact of paper is an important reason for making the switch, but your firm should see other benefits as well.

As you transition away from paper to cloud solutions, make sure everyone understands why the office is making the switch. Transparent lines of communication will help everyone get on the same (digital) page.

5. Consider E-Billing And E-Signatures

Contracts and bills are two areas where paper still remains a part of the modern law office. And yet, many intuitive cloud solutions exist for these important aspects of the business. Plus, many professionals prefer the benefits offered by paperless solutions. In fact, a survey from Bill.com found that 78 percent of millennial business owners prefer paperless bills over the traditional method.

When all of these processes have shifted to a digital medium, you’re office will be in a better position to track all kinds of new metrics, allowing for further improvements down the line. Though it’s hard to track signature requests in paper form, doing so for e-signatures takes a matter of seconds.

Cloud solutions can eliminate the need for excessive paper documentation at any law office. To lean more about how to leverage the cloud at at your firm, visit Afinety.com today.

How Cloud Platforms Reduce The Cost Of e-Discovery For Law Practices


In today’s digital world, e-discovery is more important than ever before. The process of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information is integral to the modern concept of litigation. It can also be an expensive process, requiring complex technologies. Removing these processes to the cloud reduces expenses and may even produce significant process efficiencies.

Components Of e-Discovery Impacted By Cloud Technology

As more of our lives take place in digital realms, the importance of clear e-discovery processes grows. Law firms that adopt cloud technologies are better positioned to solve the complex issues involved in the process, compared to those that rely on more traditional processes. The cloud allows law firms to expand their efforts, gaining efficiencies and improving productivity.

But it’s not all about speed. Cloud technology can augment each distinct component of the e-discovery process. First, let’s consider what concepts come under the purview of e-discovery. As noted by the American Bar Association, e-discovery incorporates the following processes:

  • Information governance – Policies surrounding the life cycle of electronically stored data.
  • Identification – Determining which pieces of data are relevant.
  • Preservation – Protecting said data from deletion.
  • Collection – Gathering digital evidence for review.
  • Processing – Preparing the data for analysis by an attorney.
  • Review – Using software such as Computer Assisted Review or Technology Assisted Review to determine which pieces of information are relevant to the case.
  • Analysis – Evaluating the digital information for content and context.
  • Production – Producing relevant information, in adherence to standard procedures and rules.
  • Presentation – Displaying the data during a trial or deposition.

Cloud computing technology is useful because individuals and organizations produce massive volumes of data on a regular basis. All of that information, including relevant metadata, would be a monumental task for anyone. A manual process would grind proceedings to a halt. Cloud technology produces more efficiency while remaining secure.

Cloud technology brings enhanced computer power and cost savings_Afinety Inc.Cloud technology brings enhanced computer power and cost savings.

Advantages Of The Cloud

Looking at the above list, it’s easy to see that varied processes of e-discovery are neither straightforward nor simple. Even with the help of a computer, an incredible amount of work is necessary to produce reliable results. That’s the first thing cloud computing solves.

Let’s say you were attempting an e-discovery task at your personal computer. Due to the limited amount of RAM, CPU power and storage space, this task would take a long time to complete, eating into your resources. By switching to a cloud solution, you immediately gain access to additional memory and computing power. Best of all, you don’t have to install any bulky hardware at your offices. Considering how fast technology evolves these days, you would have to constantly maintain and upgrade on-site server infrastructure. Not so with the cloud. A cloud provider will scale with you, forever. That way, your team can focus on important work without getting bogged down in technical difficulties.

Another benefit of cloud services is added protection against failed hard drives. Mechanical storage devices have a finite lifespan, and even solid-state drives will break down after thousands of uses. However, if you utilize a cloud solution, you’ll know your data is always preserved. The redundancies inherent in cloud technology mean your information will always be available from any authorized device.

Saving On Costs With The Cloud

Not only does the cloud offer amazing e-discovery benefits, but it can also be more affordable than an on-site data center. Installing hardware on premises will inevitably lead to costs. Buying hardware and hiring staff to install and maintain it isn’t cheap. In fact, the American Bar Association recently published an analysis explaining the cost differences of utilizing the cloud, compared to on-site servers.

According to ABA, the upfront costs of system installation, which includes the cost of servers, storage and backups, is roughly $372,000. Other ongoing costs, such as the data center location, necessary real estate, IT support staff and e-discovery staff total roughly $1,715,040 over a three-year period. Over that same time, ABA estimated that a cloud service would cost about 36 percent less than an in-house solution.

On top of these savings, law firms can see a number of other intangible benefits, such as the robust technical experience and knowledge that cloud service providers can bring to the table.

Afinety has been helping law firms succeed for many years. The Afinety Cloud Platform utilizes Amazon Web Services, one of the world’s most used and adaptable cloud systems. Visit Afinety.com today to learn more.

Mobile Cloud Access Is A Unique, Growing Business Segment For Law Offices


Global Mobile Cloud Statistics

According report by the international market research and consultation company MarketsandMarkets, the global mobile cloud market will grow to $46.90 billion by 2019, up from $9.43 billion in 2014.

The market is being driven by the ease in developing efficient cloud-based apps and user demands for those apps and their accompanying functionality. The apps have allowed for increased productivity and greater convenience by those that use them.

Other forces spurring the market growth are better network connections, the increased use of the advanced HTML5 technology, growing needs for centralized data management and smartphone usage.

Smartphones are the most widely utilized tool in the mobile realm, and according the Mobile Advertising Forecasts 2017 from Zenith, 77 percent of all internet usage in the United States is done on these devices. Surveys of 51 other countries were also taken and globally, the average mobile internet use is expected to rise to 76 percent in 2018, a three point jump from this year’s average.

The ascension of the mobile cloud market coupled with global mobile internet use means that within the immediate future, more businesses will be allowing for mobile cloud access, and more employees will be taking advantage of those systems to work.

mobile cloud creating wins because of global mobile scalability and synchronization_Afinety Cloud PlatformThe mobile cloud marker is growing annually along with the amount of people that use the internet from their phones primarily, making this a great time for law firms to invest in mobile cloud integration.

Data Synchronization And Scalability Make Mobile Cloud A Winner

Look for features from your cloud provider such encryption, monitoring, and security certifications.”

Mobile cloud functionality allows customers to work from anywhere that has an internet connection. This can serve as a situational alternative to or outright replace the traditional in-office desk for some employees. It also sets no time limits or geographic restrictions on when and how work can be completed.

On in-office computers, work within cloud applications is generally done in a single, on-going session on the network and security measures should be in place, such as current anti-virus and advanced firewall protection. However, in the case of mobile devices, individuals have their own preferences in today’s current “bring your own device” environment.  This means that extra security precautions should in in place to avoid data breach or other malicious activity.

A cloud network offers security for the entire firm, whether users are accessing data onsite or remotely with a laptop, iPad or other mobile device.  Look for features from your cloud provider such encryption, monitoring, and security certifications, like ISO 27001, which is an international framework of policies and procedures that includes all legal, physical and technical controls for risk management.  In addition, features such as 3 or 4 level multi-factor authentication provide an additional layer of security, especially when users are working remotely.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a method of security to prove users’ identities before access is granted to the network.  Users must successfully present several separate pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism.  Most people are familiar with 2-factor authentication – username and password or PIN.   MFA takes this security a step further by requiring one or two more pieces of information to authenticate the user’s identity.  Examples of this would be a message sent to their mobile device, or the use of a USB stick with a token.

The scalability of mobile cloud technology is also something that draws many customers to the model, as its scope and functionality can change along with the customer’s needs.

Afinety has been helping law firm’s succeed for many years.  The Afinety Cloud Platform utilizes Amazon Web Services, one of the world’s most used and adaptable cloud systems.  Contact us today for more information.

Why Cloud Services Are Now Ubiquitous For Most Law Firms


Law firms who are unsure over the integration of a cloud platform into their working practices face the risk of failing to meet their client’s digital expectations. Over the last few years, more and more companies have invested in a digital transformation, and lawyers must make certain that their IT infrastructure meets the needs of a connected society.

The Cloud Is Now Mainstream

An annual survey of 270 chief information officers and data center managers by Computing found that cloud technology is effectively ubiquitous in every organization. According to the Computing Cloud and Infrastructure Review 2017, cloud adoption is increasing, with 70 percent of companies making the first moves to an effective cloud strategy in their working practices.

Three years ago, 52 percent of people interviewed for Computing’s annual survey said that they used no cloud services at all. Fast forward to 2017 and that figure has dropped to 8 percent. In the last 12 months, around 7 percent of companies have “discovered” the cloud, the report said. In addition, 71 percent of respondents said that their use of cloud services would increase in the next year.

71 percent of companies will increase cloud services in next 12 months.

With that in mind, company size plays a large role in determining a cloud strategy.

Small-to-medium sized companies—those with between 50 and 99 employees, according to the report—were already invested in cloud migration; around 76 percent had integrated an initial cloud strategy, while 3 percent were cloud-only. At the other end of the scale, larger organizations were more likely to adopt a “cloud-first” mentality, the report said, citing the speed and agility of cloud services as reasons why these entities had a cloud-centric focus

“All of this shows that cloud is now thoroughly mainstream, with the naysayers dwindling to an ever-smaller minority,” wrote Computing’s John Leonard. “Most are using cloud as an add-on rather than a replacement. For most it is a case of mixing on-site and public cloud technology.”

Cloud Platform Decisions Are A Team Effort

The revelation that the so-called naysayers are becoming harder to find is not that much of a surprise. The cloud has been seen as long-term disrupter of workplace practices, especially for industry sectors that value the convenience of using shared pools of configurable resources.

The benefits of migrating to cloud for document-centric organizations such as law firms, for example, can include increased collaboration, speed of delivery and access to insights or critical data. For smaller firms, the cloud can be a useful tool to reduce IT infrastructure costs, while an increasing number of advocates, which includes members of the American Bar Association, will point to the fact that a cloud-first strategy will (inevitably) allow legal teams to be more agile.

Internal decision-making was cited as one challenge to overcome, with 44 percent of all strategic cloud platform decisions being made by IT directors or their equivalent. When you consider that a transition to the cloud will affect every part of an organization, then it follows that deciding which cloud services provider to choose should involve more than just the IT department.The vast majority of leaders in every business sector are more than aware of the potential of the cloud, although the Computing report did note that the plethora of cloud-related definitions can often seem daunting to those companies taking their first steps away from legacy IT infrastructure.

“The size of an organization certainly has an impact on who makes the decisions,” the authors of the Computing report said. “The CIO is far more likely to be leading in organizations numbering in excess of 5,000 employees—probably because they are more likely to have one in the first place. The smaller the organization is the greater likelihood there is of cloud platform decision making being more of a team pursuit.”

The fact of the matter is that the cloud is not only here to stay but will continue to play an increased role in how companies approach their daily working practices. As cloud services continue to evolve, the need to integrate a solution that meets and exceeds both company and client expectations will be critical. To find out more about how Afinety can put your law firm on the path to meeting client expectations and digital needs, contact us today.

Overcoming Modern Cloud Challenges [Video]


How Law Practices Can Manage Today’s Cloud Challenges

Challenges associated with the cloud today are not the same as what they were a decade ago. Security has advanced to the point where it’s better than the majority of in-house capabilities. Other challenges have dissipated as organizations have gained more experience working with the technology.

While businesses are starting to realize cloud benefits, four out of five companies aren’t getting the most out of their cloud investments, according to a Fugue survey. Organizations must pivot their focus to combating modern cloud challenges and using it effectively.

Many cloud challenges now revolve around inadequate planning, processes and people. To make sure the cloud brings value, create a comprehensive plan and implement the right procedures for agile operation. To find out more about overcoming modern cloud challenges, stay tuned with Afinety.

Why More Organizations Are Moving Critical Workloads To The Cloud

3 Reasons Why Law Firms Choose The Cloud

The cloud has invariably disrupted a variety of industries and processes to become one of the most important tools for modern business users. Initial concerns and challenges held back a number of companies from adopting this technology, but this is no longer the case. More organizations are moving critical workloads to the cloud for a number of reasons:

1. Better Security

Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services have focused a lot of time and investment in improving the security capabilities to suit enterprise use. In many cases, the protection measures are above what typical in-house teams might be able to support. Two-factor authentication and encryption are the biggest cloud safeguards, ensuring that no unauthorized parties can view sensitive information at rest or in transit.

Afinety Cloud SecurityThe cloud has become significantly more secure.

Even heavily regulated sectors like health care and financial institutes are starting to become more open to cloud adoption. Ed McCallister, CIO at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told TechTarget that cloud vendors are following the same security standards that medical institutions would adhere to in their own data centers. The investments that cloud providers have made, along with stringent service-level agreements are putting health care IT professionals at ease and allowing them to focus more on other tasks.

“Cloud platforms have become significantly easier to manage.”

2. Increased Familiarity

When the cloud became a buzzword in everyone’s minds, some organizations were hesitant to adopt it due to the lack of experience and skills necessary to manage it. As a result, many businesses start out with smaller projects and work their way up. Over the years, cloud platforms have become significantly easier to manage, especially with the help of an experienced IT provider.  Plus, professionals have some experience with cloud-based services and products.

As organizations become more comfortable with the cloud, they are starting to move their entire networks. AWS head of enterprise strategy Stephen Orban told Computerworld that while it’s typically tougher to move big legacy workloads, IT departments are no longer going into these efforts blind, and that will make a huge difference. Increased familiarity with the cloud is helping to build muscle memory and enabling IT staff to make faster, better decisions related to migration strategies.

3. Significant Benefits

Now that security and experience concerns have largely been addressed, organizations including law firms, are starting to realize the true benefits that the cloud can bring. The ability to securely access critical business resources at any time, anywhere from any device opens significant opportunities. According to Trackvia, 59 percent of companies using the cloud expect to see productivity benefits. Organizations believe that cloud platforms will enable them to be more productive and flexible within their processes, and so far, much of the research shows that the technology does bring these advantages as well as many others.

The cloud affords better collaboration, enabling businesses to improve their processes and execute faster. Cloud-based applications also establish data integrity and provide actionable insights with real-time reporting. With the cloud, organizations can save a significant amount of time parsing through data sets, bolster worker satisfaction and improve efficiency across the board. Companies will also see considerable cost savings, as the cloud cuts expenses per employee while reducing travel, transportation and utility costs. These benefits are becoming too good for leaders to ignore, pushing them to move workloads into the cloud.

The cloud has become a necessity for modern business users. With significant security improvements and increased familiarity with the technology, organizations are finding that now is the perfect time to migrate their network and start reaping the benefits. For more information on moving your network to the cloud, contact Afinety today.

Law Firm Cybersecurity White Paper_Afinety

How To Find The Right Cloud Solution [Video]

Find The Right Cloud Solution For Your Law Practice

The legal sector are increasingly realizing the benefits that cloud environments can offer. However, each platform is different and can impact how organizations operate. By following a few easy steps, you can find the right cloud solution for your law firm.

First, you’ll need to understand the different types of available cloud environments and services. These options provide unique benefits and support a variety of features.  You can use this knowledge to make more educated decisions and provision it correctly.

It will also be important to ensure that your provider has a track record serving businesses in your industry. This ensures that they will understand your pain points and can configure your cloud to fit your needs. To learn more about finding the right cloud solution for legal practices, visit Afinety today.

How law firms can ensure confidentiality in the cloud [Video]

How The Cloud Provides Law Practice Confidentiality

Law firm clients expect their attorneys to maintain confidentiality when processing, storing and transmitting data within cloud environments. Legal professionals can uphold these demands in a few easy ways.

Federal and industry regulations contain specific steps to secure information. Personally identifiable data must be protected with sophisticated security strategies like encryption and two-factor authentication. Using these tools together will help ensure that unauthorized users cannot access sensitive files.

Cloud providers are constantly improving their protection measures to meet safety and governance needs. At Afinety, we configure the cloud environment to mitigate law firm pain points and meet your confidentiality standards. Stay tuned with Afinety to learn more about how law firms can utilize the cloud.