These days, many legal firms are sitting between a difficult choice of whether to use cloud-based solutions or on-premise servers to host their business software, files, and emails. Definitely, the decision is not that simple! There are dozens of low-cost cloud solutions suitable for smaller law firms and solo practitioners. There is no denying that having trusted IT support for handling your legal department software solutions can increase productivity while reducing your law firm’s cost and security risks.
Larger firms may opt for their on-premise servers for convenience, greater control, and faster speeds for local users. A private cloud solution is also favourable for larger law firms because private clouds can be more secure and affordable than public cloud systems. With that said, no law firm can afford computer network security breaches or downtime.
If you are unsure which would be the right choice for your business, continue reading! Here’s a look at the various factors you need to consider in your decision making.
Number of employees
The number of employees you have at your workplace is the first and most important factor in deciding whether to go for a cloud solution or an on-premise server. Public cloud solutions are priced on a per-user basis, which is attractive for smaller businesses because it seems to be a cost-effective option. But public cloud software can become very expensive as the number of users increases.
On the other hand, larger law firms find that a private cloud solution or an on-premise server is the most cost-effective solution over the long run than public cloud solutions. This is especially true when you need to connect systems or when you want one of your applications to interact with other applications, or if you need to host multiple software systems on the same server.
Connectivity and usability
The best thing about cloud-based technology is that it enables total mobile accessibility; anyone, anytime and from anywhere, can access the systems and files. A high-speed internet connection is of utmost importance when using any type of cloud solution. Like with anything in the cloud, if your internet connection is slow, your employee productivity will suffer and can even worsen. If your internet is down, all of your everyday business activity will come to a screeching halt.
Security and privacy
Protecting client data is paramount for any law firm. For on-premise servers, you can install robust firewalls to ensure the highest level of protection and perform automatic offsite backups to safeguard against data loss. The possibility of data breach exists with both cloud and on-site servers; hence, you need to review your options with your IT partner and understand the potential concerns involved with each option.
However, most public cloud solutions provide a high level of security. But, security risks may persist since your data is hosted on the same server as other firms. The larger public cloud system is a much higher-profile target for hackers than your on-premise servers, so there is a much greater likelihood that a public cloud system will be targeted by hackers and possibly even breached.
Regardless of whether you select an on-premise or public cloud solution, it is crucial to minimise the amount of downtime you are exposed to in the case of a disaster. Therefore, automated offsite backups are indispensable. While your legal department software solutions or on-premise solutions allow you to set up an affordable and customised cloud-based backup system with a public cloud solution, options are limited. You have no control over the cloud service provider backing up your data with a public cloud solution.
Lastly, whichever option you choose, make sure your managed IT service company provides you with emergency technical support and monitors your system 24/7.
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