Tips and Tricks – Microsoft Word Track Changes and Document Comparison

Recently, the Afinety University Webinar Series looked at “tips and tricks” regarding the track changes and document comparison features in Microsoft Word. Led by Diana Baker, Afinety’s Macro Developer and Trainer, the webinar covered best practices when tracking changes, options for markup and displaying changes, printing with or without markup, and features when comparing or combining documents in MS Word. Diana’s background in the legal field allowed for great insight and practical tips that can be easily applied when working with legal documents.  Here’s an overview of a few of the key features, but you’ll want to watch the webinar for a full walkthrough.

Getting Started with Track Changes

For quick access to turning the track changes feature on or off, there is a shortcut key, “CTRL+ Shift + E”.

One of the most common complaints about track changes is many say they are unable to see changes that have been made, especially when using an upgraded version of Microsoft Word. When opening a document that contains tracked changes, the default Display for Review is set to “simple markup”. Simple markup displays a red line in the left margin, letting the author know something has changed within that paragraph, although it doesn’t show the specific changes. In order to see the specific changes, it’s really as simple as clicking the drop-down in the Display for Review field and selecting the “All Markup” option.

Track Changes with Multiple Authors

If a document has been modified by multiple people, changes will display in a different color based on which author made the changes. Selecting the option, “show revisions in balloons”, displays the name of the author together with the author’s respective changes. Users can easily display the document showing a specific author’s changes using the “Specific People” option in the Show Markup settings.

Advanced Options

The Track Changes Options dialog box contains various options that control what edits show in the document, what shows in Balloons and a choice to have the Reviewing Pane on or off.  The color and format of inserted and deleted text can also be changed in the Advanced Options.

Protecting Track Changes When Collaborating on a Document with Others

In order to make sure Track Changes is kept on when collaborating on a Word document, the document can be locked with a password.  This will prevent others from turning Track Changes off.

Warn Before Printing, Saving or Sending

Since Word allows users to view a document in original or no markup mode, in which case it does not display tracked changes, it is not uncommon for users to be unaware of the fact that they are tracking changes or that changes have not been accepted or rejected.  Alerts can also be set up when starting to save or send a document that contains tracked changes.

Printing with Track Changes On or Off

Users have the option to print with or without tracked changes on their document.  Set the Display for Review to “No Mark” to print the document as if all changes have been accepted.  Set the Display for Review to “All Markup” to print the document with the Tracked Changes.

Differentiating Between Comparing and Combining a Document

The difference between the compare and combine features has to do with the two documents being worked on. For example, the “Compare” feature would be used to compare two files that do not have track changes turned on.  The “Compare” feature will note changes between the two files as “tracked changes.”  The original document is compared to a revised version of the document.

The “Combine” feature would be used to compare two documents that do contain tracked changes.  As an example, let’s say you made some changes to a document and tracked those changes.  Then, the document is sent to another person, and that person makes changes and tracked them.  There are now two versions of the document, each with their own tracked changes.  The “Combine” feature would be used to view a document that combines all tracked changes.

Comparing a Word Doc to a PDF

Comparing a Word Document to a PDF can have some challenges. This is partly due to the styles in a particular document. Word takes the PDF and puts it into an editable Word document. The resulting comparison of the original Word document and PDF that was converted to Word, will show all styles in the original Word document as formatting changes.

For additional tips and tricks on the software programs you use most, register for an upcoming webinar.

5 Red Flags in your Cloud Partner

Now that you’ve asked all of the right questions of your prospective cloud partners (Questions to Ask – Part 1, Questions to Ask – Part 2), you’re ready to go back to your leadership team and make recommendations, right?! As you comb through your partner’s answers, here are some red flags that may indicate they’re not the right partner for your organization:

  1. They ask you to sign a long-term contract without termination for convenience. 

    A reputable cloud provider should include a reasonable exit clause, sometimes called “termination for convenience.” This clause stipulates that your organization can terminate the contract at any time for any reason if you are unsatisfied.

  1. They have limited or no experience working with legal practices. 

    Legal organizations have unique needs and require specialized support and services. Cloud providers that haven’t worked in legal likely do not have experience working with your applications, such as ProLaw or iManage. They have experience supporting customers but may not understand the urgent response times needed by firms. They also may not sign Business Associate Agreements (BAA).

  1. They are a young company. 

    A new cloud provider may be able to meet all your needs, but without having a background in hosting for organizations similar to yours, it’s best to proceed with caution. It becomes even more important for you to understand how many team members the organization is made up of, how they manage their infrastructure, what support is provided, etc. Small, start-up cloud providers present risk in employee turnover and inexperience.

  1. They don’t have references similar to your practice. 

    References are extremely valuable when choosing a cloud provider. They give you a good look at what it will be like to be a client of the provider. If the cloud provider has any hesitation in providing client references or testimonials, you may need to reconsider.

  1. They don’t ask about your desired business outcomes. 

    Cloud providers should be focusing on what you want to get out of your IT infrastructure, ultimately asking what your desirable business outcomes are. Your cloud experience will be most successful when you and your service partner understand the overarching goals of the practice.

Choosing a cloud partner may be the most important decision your organization makes this year. The security of your data, the experience of your users, and the productivity of your firm depends on it. Choose wisely.

Choosing a Cloud Partner? These Are the Questions to Ask.

Choosing a cloud partner is the single most important decision you’ll make in your cloud journey. The cloud provider has the ability to make or break the project, the user experience, and the overall success of the cloud services.

Based on our over two decades of cloud experience, we’ve compiled an extensive list of questions your law firm should ask when evaluating cloud partners.  This week, we’ll explore the first set of questions. Be sure to check back next week for the second set of questions, and watch for our list of red flags to watch for as you evaluate cloud partners.

  1. What other legal services firms do you provide cloud services for? 

    Law firms have unique needs and compliance requirements, making it important to find a cloud provider with experience helping organizations navigate complex technology challenges and increasing regulations.

  2. Do you have experience supporting firms of our similar size and specialty? 

    What’s going to happen to your IT environment and the support provided if team members take vacation or sick time, or the company experiences turnover? Your cloud provider’s team should be made up of multiple group members so that you know you will always be covered. It’s also important to understand the cloud provider’s commitment to staff continuity, and what efforts they make to retain team members.If you work with a smaller cloud provider, make sure they have partners who specialize in areas you need further assistance in. The partner may be able to manage certain aspects of your environment.

  3. How long has your company been providing cloud services? 

    The rapid adoption of the cloud has resulted in an uptick of technology providers offering varying degrees of cloud services. Take the time to understand how long they have been in existence and specifically how long they have been providing cloud services.While the cloud may feel new, some providers have been serving clients for decades.  Experienced cloud providers will have a deeper understanding of the technology required to offer the levels of performance and availability your practice needs.

  4. How is your company different than other cloud providers? 

    Some cloud providers are just a service at the end of the wire while others focus on building a relationship with you, understanding your challenges, and achieving your desired outcomes.Ask the cloud provider what makes them stand out. Are they legal focused? Can they host all of your applications, not just your email? Will they advise you on what telecom solutions you should use? Do they offer telecom support?

  5. How does your security protocol keep our clients’ data secure? 

    Your cloud partner should provide core security services that include identity-based security and encryption. In the legal world security is incredibly important, so make sure they reach or exceed that level.

  6. Provide your company’s disaster recovery and business continuity plan. 

    Discuss how the hosting provider will continue supporting your environment in the event that a natural disaster takes down data center operations. This plan should include backup processes that include daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly backups and their corresponding retention policies. Experienced cloud providers even provide continuous snapshots throughout the day at intervals of 15-30 minutes, providing even greater coverage in the event of a disaster. A provider should assist in recovery due to major power outages or natural disasters. Make sure they will help you maintain redundant systems and manage automatic failovers (cutover to a secondary server should the first one fail).

  7. How are storage, server or compute resources scaled? 

    The legal landscape changes rapidly, and a cloud provider should have the flexibility to adapt just as quickly. As your practice grows and changes, your storage, server, and processor needs will also change. How quickly can your cloud provider accommodate? What are the associated costs? Hosting fees are typically calculated based on the number of users and consumption of resources. This monthly fee structure provides budget predictability and stability.Cloud providers can mitigate this cost and enhance performance by offering tiered storage solutions that archive data based on its recovery and availability needs. Check if your cloud provider offers tiered storage as a way to curb storage costs.

Asking these questions will give you a really good feel for how the cloud provider will serve you now and into the future. Next week, we’re going to explore seven more questions — focusing on the right questions to ask so that you can ensure your project is a success.

Law Firms Expect to do More Work Remotely

 

With all 50 states having at least partially emerged from the COVID-19 lockdown, business owners are doing everything within their capacity to re-establish some semblance of normalcy and get back to their winning ways. However, given the length of the shutdown – which in several cases was in place for well over two months – what were originally unusual processes have taken root as routine.

One such industry is legal, as success with work-from-home models has some firms wondering when – or if – they’ll go back to the office now that they are mostly free to return.

In a late-May survey of over 200 law firm executives and leaders, nearly three-quarters of respondents said they anticipated not needing as much office space moving forward, given many of their employees or partners were performing well by working remotely, Thomson Reuters reported. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 said they expected to need as much as 25% less square footage than they did prior to the pandemic.

“Nearly three-quarters of respondents anticipate not needing as much office space.”

Sherry Cushman, executive managing director and leader of a prominent legal sector advisory group, told Reuters that numerous commercial office transactions were tabled due to the shutdown.

“Any [real estate] deals that were in the works, if the breaks could be put on, firms put them on hold,” Cushman explained.

Slow period for new client volume
Although some industries increased revenues in the wake of COVID-19 due to the nature of their products and services (e.g. big box retailers, grocery, paper and plastic suppliers, etc.) the vast majority have seen sales slip. Law firms have felt some of those adverse effects, which may also explain why commercial real estate deals were scuttled or suspended. For instance, in April, demand for legal services fell by a median of approximately 5%, Reuters found, based on a poll of 60 law firms. In a fifth of such cases, demand fell by as at least 20%. Indeed, a separate survey done by Martindale-Avvo revealed 81% of law firms saw revenues dip in line with the shutdown that stemmed from COVID-19 and health officials’ attempts to “flatten the curve.”

Martindale-Avvo President Diana Schulz doesn’t believe this dip in business will be long-lasting, however.

“The one thing about the legal system is, a lot of these matters can’t wait too long,” Schulz told ABA Journal. “So I do think the legal industry will recover faster than some other industries.”

Attorneys, legal assistants and paralegals’ ability to pivot from a primarily office-based environment to one entirely from home has enabled many firms to maintain productivity on case volume and workload. Leveraging cloud-based document management software and networking have further assisted them in these efforts.

Additionally, as projected by McKinsey & Company, it’s highly likely that litigation and business restructuring workloads will grow in the post COVID-19 world, services with which many law firms either offer or specialize in.

How can attorneys at law break out of the restarting gate strong? McKinsey offers a few suggestions:

Key in on clients
While clients should always come first and foremost, it’s particularly important in times like these. Partners should prioritize connecting, listening and responding to their clients on an ongoing basis and letting them know you’re able to help them however and wherever they need. This can help to deepen trust and strengthen lawyer-client relationships.

Make relevant information more personal
It’s an information age and people are bombarded with it from every which way. You need to ensure what you present is not only germane to their interests or goals but in a format that they best respond to.

Trim, don’t cut, the fat
Firms have emerged from the shutdown with new perspective on what services to maintain and which to eliminate. Instead of removing them entirely, look for opportunities to reallocate and build new capabilities.

Afinety has the software solutions and network support that can help your firm succeed as a more responsive, agile law firm, whether your employees work locally or 100% remotely. Contact us today to learn more.

Organizing Your Files in the Cloud

 

Cloud technology makes it easy and convenient to back up your files online. Rather than sift through stacks and boxes of physical papers and photos, you can now access all your files digitally in one place. To get the most utility from your cloud, make sure you take the time to organize your cloud so it can best serve your needs. Keeping your files neatly organized in an easy-to-navigate format will ensure you can locate exactly the file you’re looking for exactly when you need it. The following tips can serve as a starting point in your organizational efforts.

Create a system for naming your folders

Develop your own or decide on an existing system for naming your folders. TechSoup recommends using a simple system that you will easily remember, such as Date_Type_FolderName, where “Type” refers to either personal, work or other files. So, if you have a folder full of photos from a given legal case, you could label the folder October2018_[Case Name]. Keeping your folders organized like this will help you easily navigate through your cloud. You can simply scroll down chronologically to find the exact document or photo you’re looking for.

Create your folders and start moving files

It helps to create the folders before you start moving your files over so you have somewhere to put them and can avoid the clutter of random bits and pieces that all belong in different places. Once you’ve created and labeled your folders according to your naming system, you can start dragging and dropping files into their respective folders.

Tag your files

Every file on a system has a certain set of attributes like author name and date last modified called file properties. Another type of file property is called a tag. Designed for user customization, tags are a good way to make searching easier because they function as searchable keywords, according to TechRepublic. Use words and phrases that make sense to you when tagging your files. It helps to assign more than one tag to a file so you can search it up using multiple keyword terms. Consider tags like #evidence #finance or #testimony.

Create and use subfolders

Creating main folders may not be enough to tame the clutter of your files in the cloud. Organize files within your folders into subfolders, or even group your main folders into larger ones to make the navigation process easier. Make sure you use the same naming system from before so nothing gets confused in the added steps. It is also best to have the same subfolders in all your main folders. Consistency in organization makes navigation much easier.

messy officeAlthough transitioning to the cloud may seem intimidating, it will make your office cleaner, more comfortable, and more efficient.

It’s important to clear out the old before you implement the new. Consider taking the following two steps before you even begin setting up your cloud environment:

1. Declutter. Get rid of any files that have been sitting around untouched and which you no longer need.

2. Purge. Agile Law suggests adopting the “one touch” rule for this step. Pick up a file or document and decide whether to keep it, destroy it or store it, and then, most importantly, act on that decision. Don’t just set the file down just to deal with later. You should only have files that are open and active. Keeping closed files mixed in with open ones just creates more work as you sort through files to find the one that you need. Those closed files which you choose not to destroy can be stored in a folder like 2017_Archive.

Depending on how many files have compiled over the months or years it’s taken you to switch over to cloud storage, organizing can seem intimidating. However, as long as you make a little bit of progress each day, you will slowly but steadily work your way through the clutter and create the perfect organization structure for your needs. Learn about cloud storage and the Afinety Cloud Platform, designed specifically for lawyers.

Streamline Your Law Firm with Email and Document Management

iManage Your Law Practice Emails And Documents Efficiently

Are you considering a document management system for your firm?  Look no further.  With iManage Work 10.2 from iManage, paper mayhem can be seamlessly transformed into smart, agile and efficient document and email management.

Even in an increasingly paperless era, the world still goes through reams of it, topping 400 million tons in the typical year, according to the Environmental Paper Network. Law firms are chief among the paper-pushers, producing contracts, briefs, notes, motions, memoranda and pleadings in any given afternoon.

Without the proper planning and preparation, all that paper – whether printed out or logged online – can easily get lost, misplaced or thrown out, physically or electronically.

But with iManage Work 10.2 from iManage, paper mayhem can be seamlessly transformed into smart, agile and efficient document and email management.

Introduced in the summer of 2018, iManageWork 10.2 is the very latest document and email management program software that features all the applications that users have come to rely upon. However, the latest iteration boasts a plethora of functionalities that make it even more user-friendly and comprehensive than its previous versions.

Partnering with a long-time certified iManage partner, like Afinety, will ensure that your firm’s integration and training are included.  In addition, iManage Work 10 runs seamlessly in the cloud and integrates beautifully with the Afinety Cloud Platform and Office 365.

Here are just a handful of the key benefits you’ll find with iManage Work 10.2 email and document management system:

iManage Compatibility Across Multiple Platforms

These days, it isn’t whether legal professionals have an internet-enabled or mobile device, it’s how many, given that an estimated 81% of Americans say they own a smartphone, according to estimates from the Pew Research Center. No device is more widespread than the iPhone, with close to two-thirds of Americans owning a product manufactured by Apple, CNBC News reported.

iManage Work 10.2 is ideal for Apple users because it now features product support for the various Apple systems the document and email management program can be downloaded on, like the iPad, Macbook or iMac. It also makes file sharing and interaction more seamless with the addition of iManage Drive. This new option makes it easier for users to drag and drop files in the appropriate folders or delete them if they are no longer needed.

“Over 80 of the U.S.’ largest law firms have experienced a computer breach.”

Enhanced Security With iManage Work 10.2

According to CNA Insurance, of the United States’ 100 largest law firms, over 80 of them have been victimized by a computer hacker. The cost of these breaches average more than $5 million, when including crisis management services, legal counsel, credit monitoring and forensic investigations.

But with the enterprise-grade security enhancements found in iManage Work 10.2, cyberscammers have met their match. They include robust encryption capabilities and intelligent cloud compatibility, so you can maintain and adjust the security settings remotely.

Moving your entire network to the Afinety Cloud Platform will boost your security even further.  ACP runs on the largest cloud provider in the works, Amazon Web Services, featuring state of the art security, encryption, certifications, replication, multifactor authentication.  It also includes Office 365 for each of your firm’s users, plus unlimited support!

iManage Work 10.2 Updates and Uploads Automatically

Cyberattackers are constantly honing their strategies designed to outsmart internet security protections. The best way to steer clear of these threats is by updating to the latest patches when they become available. The problem is many people fail to download them in a timely fashion.

Procrastination is no longer an issue with iManage Work 10.2, as updates are installed just as soon as they’re released. This will provide an extra layer of security and protection from would-be data hackers.

Law firms are as busy as ever, with 70% expecting to hire first-year associates over the next 12 months, according to a Robert Half Legal poll. With iManage Work 10.2, you won’t miss a beat, helping you more effectively multitask without compromising quality or security. In short, this document and email management program will allow your offices to work smarter, not harder.

Contact Afinety today to find out how iManage and the Afinety Cloud Platform will increase your firm’s security and productivity.

How Law Firms Can Go Paperless

Benefits Of A Paperless Office

Experts and industry analysts have been touting the benefits of a paperless office for some years. While part of this movement has been driven by the shift toward environmentally friendly practices, digitizing workflow produces a multitude of additional benefits. Law offices can save time, money and improve security through making the switch from paper to digital, to say nothing of reducing carbon footprint.

While the idea of digitization can sound intimidating, especially with an older law firm, the process doesn’t have to be a painful. Going paperless has been attempted and refined by various legal enterprises over the years. Firms today can learn from past examples, as well as more properly understand the documented benefits of a digital office workflow.

Preparing To Go Paperless

The American Bar Association recommended that law offices, no matter how eager, not simply launch into the digitization process. While newer firms can establish a digital workflow on day one, older firms likely have many physical files on location. These contain confidential information on active and past clients. Before the paperless environment can be fully realized, these documents must be scanned into the network.
Digital documents can exist in a multitude of places, including on a computer, a server, a flash drive or in the cloud. When legal firms begin the digitization process, they should already have a chosen data receptacle in mind.

Organization methods should also be determined before a legal firm begins to go paperless. One of the largest drives behind the move to digital is increased productivity, but that won’t happen if various lawyers and legal assistants are all filing data in different locations without consulting one another. Before scanning begins, have a meeting and outline the categorization methods that will be utilized.

Once this is done, a naming structure should also be determined. Law firms want to be professional and orderly so having a system where any employee can quickly find the information needed is a benefit. If one attorney is naming case files as “client documents” while another labels them “case documents,” the potential for confusion greatly increases.

Lastly, a secure paper disposal process should also be in place once the files have been scanned. Legal documents contain confidential information and should be properly shredded before being placed in recycling bins. Law offices looking to be especially careful can place shredded documents into multiple recycling stations to reduce the risk of the papers being reassembled.

Afinety takes law practices digital on the cloud_Afinety Cloud PlatformFile digitization should be treated with the same care as traditional paper organization.

Redesigning Office Space To Reduce Costs

Once a law firm begins the digitization process, it must understand just how transformed the workplace environment will be. It won’t be a simple matter of replacing the filing cabinets with server racks. Depending on the data storage solution, the file archives space can be completely repurposed into offices, an employee rec area or some other functional room.
Copier machines and printers will also be downsized. Without paper, the need for these machines drops dramatically. Legal firms can absorb the savings of reduced equipment needs, maintenance costs and supply ordering.

Going paperless may be an investment, but it’s one that generates value quickly. According to Nitro, 28 percent of businesses report a full ROI within 6 months. This number climbs to 84 percent after the first year and a half.

“Cloud solutions save the most room and can assist in file organization.”

Digitizing Fully With A Cloud Solution

As stated earlier, there are several options for data storage when digitizing office workflow. A cloud solution arguably represents the best option, especially for law firms worried about cybersecurity and technical support. Cloud providers help monitor their software against unauthorized access, keeping confidential data secure.
Cloud solutions, especially those tailored for the legal industry, can also assist in organization and interface for file storage.

How To Spot Phishing In A Legal Firm

Alert: Phishing Methods That Law Practices Need To Know

Everyone has experienced phishing in some way, whether through a phone call from an obscure agency, a letter claiming its recipient won a contest he or she didn’t enter or an urgent email either offering a fortune or threatening legal action. Phishing is one of the oldest scams in existence, and this is what makes it so dangerous.

With powerful new ransomware being developed by cybercriminals, some may believe that all cyberattacks are increasingly sophisticated, but this is only partly true. Phishing today is more cunning than it was years ago, but it still operates on the same simple principle: trick the user into a response. With legal firms handling so much confidential data, they cannot afford to ease up on phishing. Firms don’t need to be hit with ransomware like WannaCry to suffer a breach.

Phishing Is Evolving

Phishing isn’t what it was even five years ago. The days of the Nigerian Prince are largely over. These cyberattacks depended on malicious attachments to infiltrate a secure network. Thanks to providers like Google and Microsoft, however, these emails were increasingly filtered to spam folders. The suspicious attachment, especially from an unknown source, was easy to detect.

In order for phishing to work, the recipient first needs to see it. Recent Proofpoint research has uncovered a switch in phishing tactics. Phishing emails are now far less likely to use the filter-catching attachments, opting instead for emails with dangerous hyperlinks and attached archives like compressed Javascript files. This change is designed to beat the automatic filters and deliver the message into a regular inbox where it has a much higher chance of being read.

This change also allows phishing to deliver far more than ransomware and malware. Adware, banking trojans and generalized information theft are now possible through these malicious messages.

Phishing can be used to deliver a host of unfriendly software into a network, or to steal confidential employee information_fraud alert image_Afinety, Inc.Phishing can be used to deliver a host of unfriendly software into a network, or to steal confidential employee information.

Why Comprehensive Employee Training Matters

One of the most dangerous aspects of phishing is that every employee is at risk. Cybercriminals can target executives, assistants and everyday employees once they have the right email address. It only takes a breach at one level to potentially expose an entire network.

Take this real world example: an HR officer preparing the office W2s. This officer receives an urgent email from the CEO (or at least from a very similar email address), stating that there’s been a problem and HR must email the W2s back right away, so that they might be fixed. The tone of the email implies that the problem is severe and that immediate action must be taken. Given that it’s the boss, why hesitate?

In this instance, personal identifying information of not just the HR rep but the entire staff has been exposed. Life-crippling data like Social Security Numbers are now in malicious hands that can use the information for a variety of nefarious deeds.

Phishing can also retrieve passwords, usernames and a host of other information that can enable network access. Many legal firms operate on older systems, ones created before the principle of least privilege, software construction designed to limit employee access to only the files they need, was widely implemented. This means that an assistant might have full access to case files and other sensitive data.

“Most successful phishing attacks are designed to look like emails the recipient is expecting.”

The Telltale Signs Of Phishing

According to Verizon’s 2017 data breach report, roughly a third of phishing emails are opened. Organizations cannot be dismissive of any kind of cyberattack that has this level of success. While phishing has evolved, the benefit is that it has retained certain common characteristics. This makes the malicious messages easy to spot, so long as an individual knows what to look for.

A Wombat security report claimed that the most successful phishing attacks were, unsurprisingly, designed to look like emails the recipient was expecting. That HR example was one such instance. This practice, known as spear phishing, is designed to camouflage into the regular inbox traffic. However, the email – while similar – will always be at least slightly different.

Be weary of suspicious domain names. For example: LawCEO@Firm.com may be real but LawCEO@Firm.com.co is likely malicious.

Instruct staff and partners to never click on an embedded link from an unknown source, even if the email looks legitimate. Employees should also be weary of any correspondence containing multiple spelling or punctuation mistakes. Hackers rarely have the same commitment to standards that corporations do.

Lastly, train all staff to beware of any messages with intimidating or overly urgent tones. Phishing schemes are designed to make a person act first and think later. It is not uncommon for these malicious messages to threaten legal action or firing in an attempt to force an immediate response. Employees should be advised to contact a supervisor if they ever feel threatened before responding to an email.

You've Been Hacked image_phishing_Afinety, Inc.Phishing tones are typically charged, whether ecstatic or enraged. They are trying to discourage rational thought.

How A Cloud Solution Helps

Unfortunately, many legal firms do not have the budget to retain a full time information security specialist to monitor for phishing schemes and keep employees up to date on cybersecurity trends. Many do not even have the resources to fully meet all cybersecurity needs.

In an increasingly dangerous technological landscape, legal firms can feel like little fish in a very large pond. However, passing off data solutions to a trusted cloud provider can help. Cloud companies typically have much more in the way of resources to help prevent data breaches. Companies like Microsoft annually invest $1 billion in cybersecurity research, according to Reuters.

At Afinety, we take all aspects of cybersecurity seriously. Our cloud platform has been tailored to the legal industry, making sure all of your needs are met. As phishing and other cyberattacks continue to evolve, so will our product. Contact Afinety today to learn exactly how our experts and software can help your firm.

How law firms can benefit from managed services

 

Setting up and maintaining an internal IT infrastructure can be a challenge for any law firm. Lawyers, aides and other personnel are busy with critical tasks, leaving little time to focus on their IT development. Legal practices should look to leverage managed services for their IT needs. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest ways that managed services can benefit your law firm:

1. Skilled personnel

Legal practices come in a variety of sizes. For the small to medium-sized ones, it can be difficult to attract a qualified in-house IT expert, based on resources and opportunities for advancement. This can result in hiring personnel who don’t have the experience or skills necessary to suit your business IT needs.

Managed service providers have experts on hand who are well-versed in the latest technology and trends. They are constantly looking ahead to stay on pace with industry changes and ensure that you can take advantage of valuable hardware and software assets. This will save considerable costs and time associated with recruiting, training and employing an internal IT workforce.

MSPs have skilled personnel to provide round the clock support_AfinetyMSPs have skilled personnel to provide round the clock support.

2. Diverse contract options

Every law firm is different, and your solution should reflect this. Managed service providers offer a variety of services and contract options to choose from that will fit your unique requirements. Bundled services might be perfect, whereas a la carte options might be better to pick out specific functions. As Law Technology Today contributor Eric Hoffmaster noted, providers might also have a fixed-price contract, offering unlimited support for a set price. You can take advantage of monitoring and remote guidance 24/7/365.

Many decision-makers worry about buying a solution that doesn’t have the full suite of assets for their needs, or paying for features they don’t need. By teaming up with a managed services provider, you will have a number of services and tailoring options available. Solutions can be customized based on your users and functionality expectations. It also helps to have a vendor who is experienced with serving your industry. The managed services provider should have a proven track record of success in the legal sector, demonstrating that they uphold compliance requirements and can deliver on their promises.

“Managed services don’t have to replace internal IT. “

3. Less reliance on internal IT

For legal practices that have internal IT personnel, they can still take advantage of managed services. IT departments receive numerous calls and tickets per day, making it difficult to address all issues quickly. By offloading some of this burden onto a managed service provider, internal IT personnel can handle other tasks and explore other avenues for growth. As CIO’s Thor Olavsrud noted, managed services don’t have to replace internal IT. They can instead complement internal IT capabilities to focus on more strategic projects and save costs.

An MSP manages servers and hardware on their end, reducing your overall investment in this area. A good vendor will also look to configure your solutions appropriately and provide around-the-clock support for any situation. Law firms can experiment with the latest technologies and mobile capabilities with the help of an MSP while giving time back to internal IT personnel.

For small law firms, it’s particularly difficult to set up and maintain IT infrastructure, especially if you don’t have a dedicated IT staff member. Partnering with an MSP like Afinety that tailors solutions to your firm and understands the legal industry can benefit you in a number of ways. With a proven record of 99.999 percent uptime, we ensure that you’re able to access important files and business assets anywhere at anytime. Our 24/7/365 support and monitoring will provide peace of mind that we’re here to help and are constantly watching for any unusual behavior that could impact your firm. Contact Afinety today for more information on how partnering with us can bolster your IT capabilities.

Beyond Belief: 3 myths about the cloud that need to go away

Why Law Practice Cloud Myths Are Not True

Technology has been advancing quite rapidly in the past few years. For a lot of businesses, it can be difficult to keep up with it all. This is especially true of the cloud, an innovation that can be confusing for many people. Due to this, quite a number of myths and misconceptions have been spread about what the cloud is and what it can do.

Most of these are flat-out wrong, and are keeping companies from making the switch to a technology that could revolutionize their operations. To help dispel these rumors, we’ve put together the top three myths about the cloud that just need to go away.

Myth #1: It’s not secure

This is by far one of the most common myths about the cloud. Somewhere along the line, somebody spread the rumor that not keeping your data in-house meant that it was up for grabs by the nearest hackers. Obviously, this isn’t the case.

“In-house operations are often anything but secure.”

To begin, in-house operations are often anything but secure. Many employees struggle with basic security concepts, such as falling for phishing scams, which can leave your entire network in a vulnerable state. Cloud providers, on the other hand, are intensely focused on security and don’t fall for these dirty tricks. The cybersecurity measures put in place by these vendors are incredibly complex, which is why it isn’t surprising that Transparency Market Research predicted the global cloud security market will increase from $4.5 billion in 2014 to $11.8 billion in 2022.

Myth #2: It’s not reliable

On a similar note, a lot of companies feel that keeping IT operations in-house means they can better mitigate the risks associated with a disaster. Again, this is far from true. Cloud providers generally have all kinds of systems in place to ensure uptime, ranging from backup generators to temperature monitoring systems to avoid overheating. In fact, a study from CloudHarmony found that the amount of downtime for all of Amazon Web Service’s cloud products during the entirety of 2015 totaled a measly two and a half hours.

What’s more, keeping your data in the cloud is kind of a disaster recovery plan in and of itself. Information stored in a cloud-based platform can be accessed anywhere at anytime, which means employees still have access to mission-critical data if the office is severely damaged.

Disaster recovery is a big part of the cloud_ image _ AfinetyA disaster is when your company needs access to important data the most.

Myth #3: It’s a fad

Another myth about the cloud is that it’s just a passing fad. Of course, a cursory look at the number of companies relying on this technology could quickly dispel this rumor, but a more interesting piece of information is the number of organizations that stick with it. According to a study conducted by 451 Research on behalf of Microsoft, a whopping 95 percent of those observed said they wanted to continue working with their hosting and cloud vendor in the future.

If the cloud was a fad or some trend that would blow over, companies wouldn’t be scrambling to continue paying for the service. Clearly, these organizations are getting something out of the deal here, which means that the cloud has some serious advantages to offer modern businesses of all sizes.