Technology today is all about doing more with less, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the legal industry. This sector’s market in the United States has been valued by the Legal Executive Institute to be worth around $437 billion, and with so much money invested, administrators in this field are doing everything they can to streamline the legal process. But what kind of technologies are law firms adopting?
“The cloud has quite a lot of benefits for those working within law.”
The cloud and e-discovery
Like in every other industry, the cloud has quite a lot of benefits for those working within law. Although this technology has a wide range of uses, perhaps the most relevant for legal firms is its ability to quickly and efficiently implement e-discovery applications.
When legal proceedings begin, lawyers start what is called the discovery process. As the name entails, this is where employees at the law firm comb through hundreds or thousands of documents in order to uncover any wrongdoing and to get to the heart of the matter. This is often an extremely inefficient way to handle discovery, and can very easily result in a worker missing a crucial piece of evidence.
E-discovery applications work to cut through this process by using specific searching algorithms to find what the lawyers are looking for. Computers are infinitely better than humans at searching large amounts of data, which is why many law firms have opted to include this technology in their arsenals. However, when choosing to work with e-discovery applications, these organizations have to make a choice between on-premises computing or accessing this technology through the cloud.
Even though e-discovery is revolutionizing the legal industry, it has also increased the risk of a data breach. These documents are often extremely private and contain personal data that a hacker could later use for personal gain. This need to keep information secret certainly isn’t specific to law, but it’s something that is keeping many firms out of the cloud.
However, as many experts have noted, the cloud really isn’t as unsafe as many believe it to be. In fact, Big Law Business contributors Daniel Garrie and Yoav M. Griver stressed that on-premises computing systems can be hacked just as easily as the cloud. Considering the initial costs associated with setting up an in-house computing solution, avoiding the cloud because of a false sense of danger is a mistake.
Contract management software
Another technology a lot of law firms are seeing the benefits of is contract management software. This is a platform through which administrators can easily view the progress of each contract they have created. Modifications can be made quickly and easily to unsigned contracts, allowing everyone with access to the system the opportunity to read and comment on the exact same document. Lawyers can even view how well signers are following up on their obligations on existing contracts.
That said, perhaps the most interesting part of this technology is its ability to manage digital signatures. One of the biggest issues holding legal firms back from adopting more advanced solutions is the fact that a physical ink signature is seen to hold more weight in court than a digital one. This viewpoint is rapidly changing, however, thanks in part to contract management software.
The bring-your-own-device trend is sweeping just about every industry, whether company administrators know about it or not. In fact, a Gartner study found that around 37 percent of people currently using their own gadget for work purposes don’t currently have permission. Considering how people often don’t protect their mobile devices, this is an absolute nightmare for the IT department.
In fact, quite a lot of organizations have had to deal with hackers due to the increased use of personal gadgets for work purposes. A study conducted by IDG Research Services discovered that just under three-quarters of respondents saw a data breach event as a result of poor cybersecurity measures concerning mobile devices.
That said, BYOD has some amazing benefits for legal firms. Lawyers often meet with clients outside of the office, and carrying around important documents is cumbersome and can result in lost or stolen client information. What’s more, other staffers who aren’t lawyers are seeing similar advantages. While this is good in terms of flexibility and mobility of the workers, it’s also putting a major strain on the IT team. Employees should be able to use their own devices to access company data, but only after having implementing certain safety guidelines.
This is why any organization wishing to ensure the security of company records should contact an ISG Technology BYOD specialist. Our experts have years of experience with this trend, and we know what it takes to keep a law firm’s data safe.