Arkansas law firms are modernizing their IT infrastructure at ever-increasing rates. To ensure you are not left behind, consider legal IT consultation to bring your practice up to speed with the latest hardware, software, and security solutions.
Law offices have a reputation for being traditional, and the analog methods of years past seem as irreplaceable as they are impeccable. But these days, every business needs some level of tech savvy. Potential clients demand quick, convenient service, and your practice will eventually need to utilize technology in some capacity to keep up with competition.
But, how do you keep your law firm up to date without risking the privacy of your clients’ confidential information? Furthermore, how do you ensure your online storage is in compliance with local and federal statutes without adding a ton of work to your already busy schedule? Simple, with the help of a dedicated legal technology consultant.
Managed IT services allow you to outsource all your IT needs to legal tech specialists. Not only will they handle tech support and data security, but they will also train you on the latest legal software, introduce you to new hardware, and guide you through the ethics of legal practice in the digital age.
But, before you hand over your data and passwords, be sure that your legal technology consultant is the real deal. Here is what to look for.
First and Foremost: Look for a Legal Specialization
IT consultants come in all shapes and sizes, but the one your firm needs should be specialized in legal technology.
The legal sector is unique when it comes to properly storing data, creating documents, and even sending emails. Most businesses may be able to do these things at work and home without worrying about being infiltrated, but because of the nature of legal work and confidentiality, lawyers must take extra precautions.
Also, you need a consultant that specializes in the legal tech tools that will make your practice competitive and efficient. Basic IT consultants will be able to fix your computer, but they will not know anything about the best legal programs and hardware upgrades for your firm.
To ensure your consultant or computer support company is legit, ask to see legal industry certifications that allow them to offer training for various programs. Also, make sure they produce references.
How They Should Interact with You and Your Staff
One of the major benefits of managed IT services is that much of it happens in the background. Your data remains secure and your digital operations are optimized without you having to do a thing.
While this is important, your IT consultant should also take a hands-on approach to your technological needs. This includes…
- Educating you on legal IT managed services and cloud computing best practices: Your new cloud storage security might be airtight from the tech end, but your staff needs to know how to keep your data safe from human error. Sensitive data can leak from something as simple as sending an email from McDonald’s. And you are not the only one that is vulnerable. Hackers will try to steal information and money from your clients, too. If you are not informed enough to protect your clients, they will blame you if something goes wrong.
- Ample face-to-face time with all employees: Those who do not understand technology cannot be trained via technology. Your IT consultant should be at your firm to implement new software, train staff, keep track of product licensing, and perform routine security checks.
- Introducing new software: In the already fast-paced world of legal work, there is little time to shop for legal software, learn how to use it, and then train your staff. Leave this to your legal IT specialist. They will introduce you to different programs, help you test and select the right one for your practice, and then guide you through the training process. Once you are proficient, you will be able to automate documents and billing, manage cases, organize contracts, and more.
- Introducing new hardware: While desktop computers have all the general capabilities of smart devices, they may not be secure or suited for the modern demands of business (e.g. data synchronization) or the demands of your clients (e.g. video conferencing). Consulting firms that offer hardware as a service, or HaaS, will bring fully-loaded hardware directly to you and manage its security and performance.
- Tech Support: Lawyers speak a language all their own, which is why people need you to decipher contracts and agreements. But computers have a language too, and if you do not have someone on hand to who speaks it, you are as much at risk as someone who blindly signs contracts. If you have a tech issue, your consultant should be there to quickly diagnose and resolve it.
What They Should Do Behind the Scenes
The most important services your legal technology consultant provides are the ones that happen under the radar. These services are crucial because they determine the security of your clients’ information and your legal compliance with your contracts. Make sure your consultant offers the following services:
- Compliance and License Management: When you use legal software, you need to license it and sign a contract that stipulates how it will be used and by whom. Failing to comply with the terms of the contract and licensing agreements can lead to penalties and legal action. Keeping track of these details can be tedious, especially because each employee is responsible for their compliance. An IT specialist will take care of all the paperwork, filing any updates regarding compliance. They should also regularly check with employees to make sure they are not breaching any terms.
- Data Backup: If an accident or a crash occurs, are you sure you will still have access to your data? Loading your sensitive data onto external hard drives does not count, since they only last 3-5 years on average. Your IT consultant will migrate your data to the cloud, where it will be stored in at least three separate data centers across the nation at any given time. This means that even a MASSIVE storage failure will not put your data at risk.
- Data Security: This is one of the biggest concerns for lawyers. Only a legal IT consultant will know how to ensure your data’s safety from attack, and that your data complies with data centers’ rules, as well as state and federal laws on what data can be accessed for what reasons. Because you are bound to confidentiality, this is vital to your integrity and the future of your practice.
- Hardware Virtualization: Being tied down to hardware is a thing of the past, but most law firms are still slowed down by hardware-dependent software. Your computer support company will virtualize your hardware, allowing you to use the software you need in a safer, faster, and more cost-effective way. Plus, once your hardware is virtualized, you will be able to access your data and programs from anywhere.
Scale is a managed IT services firm that specializes in legal technology. Our years of experience working with Arkansas law firms has made us uniquely adept at providing legal IT solutions that make a difference in the courtroom and on the bottom line. Contact Scale today for a personal consultation.