Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Top Five Technology Trends That Will Change the Legal Industry [#Cloud]

Technology is quickly becoming an influential member of the practice

From the way legal teams prepare for trial to how they communicate with clients and other professionals, technology is quickly becoming an influential member of the practice. However, even in today's technology-driven world, not all firms can label themselves tech savvy. To help those firms integrate technology into their businesses, this article explores the top five technology trends presented by the American Bar Association's 2013 Tech Report to keep an eye on for the future of successful law firms and professionals.

Mobile Usage on the Rise: With 79 percent of small firms using smartphones for work purposes, and 45 percent using tablets, the recent mobility explosion has caused exponential growth in mobile usage in the legal industry. Mobile usage allows lawyers to be...well, mobile. With everything attorneys need from calendars to documents to emails at the tips of their fingers (or bottoms of their pockets), these devices now allow them to work on anything, anytime, anywhere.

Additionally, mobile devices are changing the way lawyers work on each case from start to finish. As Dallas-based lawyer Tom Mighell says in a 2013 Illinois Bar Journal article, "You can do client intake on an iPad and take notes on it when you're meeting, tally deadlines, review documents, review and take depositions, review transcripts, conduct jury selections [and] you have access to a number of trial presentation apps to help you present evidence in the courtroom." In other words, everything you need to be a successful lawyer can now live in the palm of your hand.

However, as mobile usage continues to grow in both large and small firms, so do the security concerns that surround each device, so make sure to establish mobile device security polices that determine how mobile devices can and should be used in the workplace.

Cloud Computing Set to Increase: Law firms are now gravitating toward cloud computing because it gives them the ability to access information and communicate anywhere, anytime - an advantage in a profession that requires employees to work outside of the office. In fact, 29 percent of solo and small firms reported using cloud computing, and nearly 15 percent of firms with more than 500 attorneys have reported utilizing some form of cloud computing as well. Law firms find the cloud beneficial because it doesn't require a large capital investment in hardware and infrastructure. However, security challenges regarding the cloud should always be top of mind for businesses.

Online Research Made Easy: In the past, lawyers had to physically spend hours in libraries conducting research; today is a completely different story. With many print resources going digital and the availability of e-books, more legal research can be conducted online - saving employees a significant amount of time.

Social Media: Networking has always been a big part of the legal profession, but the availability of numerous online communication channels will change the way attorneys connect with each other and with clients. Additionally, social media outlets act as free marketing tools, allowing small and large firms to spread the word out about their businesses to a larger audience, potentially bringing in more clients.

Additionally, courtroom coverage via social media and blogs will also change the legal industry, allowing attorneys and the public to follow trials online.

Data Protection and Business Continuity Planning: As technology use increases, so, too, does the need for data protection and business continuity planning. Law firms handle massive amounts of sensitive data, and any breach or loss of access can set a firm up for disaster. New technologies for Disaster Recovery, also called Recovery-as-a-Service, will help law firms implement a business continuity strategy with minimum complexity and time commitment. This gives firms peace of mind, while ensuring that valuable data and applications are protected and that employees can continue working even in face of an IT outage or natural disaster.

What do these trends mean for your legal practice? Attorneys must educate themselves about how to secure data, thwart security threats and avoid practice interruption in case a disaster strikes.  While technology provides great opportunities for the legal profession, it also brings risks that must be dealt with in order for firms to stay in compliance and maintain their business.

We've seen firsthand the impact that application downtime, be it due to a virus, a computer crash or a natural disaster, have on firms that are not fully prepared. As you look at the technology trends for law firms and plan your IT budget accordingly, make sure you also follow these five simple steps to ensure your staff will remain productive, even if there is an event that could potentially disrupt your technology environment:

  1. Create a disaster recovery plan: This could be as simple as a listing of all critical phone numbers and the contact information of all employees together with key processes to be followed in case the office needs to be evacuated.
  2. Protect your critical data: Running out of the office with tape backups or hard drives under your arm because the sprinklers suddenly came alive is not good protection. Implement a data protection solution that securely stores your data off-site.
  3. Ensure application continuity: Look for a solution that allows your employees to continue accessing key applications like your case management system, financials and CRM even if your office is unavailable.
  4. Test frequently: Ensure your disaster recovery procedures are current and actually work by testing them at least quarterly. Involve different areas of the company and test not only steps for restoring data, but for application and server virtualization as well.
  5. Make disaster recovery a priority: To ensure proper procedures and solutions will be implemented, make sure that disaster recovery is a top priority by partners and other senior staff. The cost of application downtime, which impacts billable hours and completing projects on time, is so great that making DR a priority should be top of mind.

As you begin using technology as an integral part of your practice, now is a good time to put your IT house in order and take proactive and preemptive steps towards avoiding practice interruption.

More Stories By Todd Scallan

Todd Scallan is the vice president of product and engineering at Axcient, where he is responsible for leading the development team and driving product for the Axcient platform. He has over 25 years of experience in a variety of senior-level product management, engineering and business development roles at companies including Interwoven, Segue Software and Black & White Software (acquired by Segue Software). Todd holds an MS in computing engineering, a BS in electrical engineering and has published numerous articles and papers on a range of computing topics.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...