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Why Legal firms are the natural home of hybrid Cloud infrastructure


Although digital transformation amongst Legal firms has typically been comparatively slow compared to other sectors, the journey has picked up speed over the course of the last decade.

With digital Document Management (DMS) and Practise Management Systems (PMS) now delivered maturely on a SaaS or dedicated basis, and hybrid working now firmly establish in the wake of COVID-19, firms are utilising technology at scale, with a level of sophistication and integration that would have been unthinkable ten years ago.

In fact, in many ways, Legal IT teams are now leading the way in showing what can be accomplished with leading-edge hybrid Cloud infrastructure, tailored to both sector-specific challenges and regulations, and organisations' short- and long-term goals.

There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of hybrid working was a factor here, but even before we went into lockdown, forward-thinking firms were exploring virtual apps and desktops, and using technology to maximise fee-earner potential, so it may reasonably be argued that this is more the acceleration of an ongoing trend rather than the start of a completely new one. 

Thinking in wider terms, we live in an increasingly interconnected society, with increasingly high volumes of data created, transferred, and stored each day, in both our personal and professional lives. The Legal sector is no exception, not only in terms of generating new data, but digitising existing documents and client information – all of which is highly sensitive and must be handled with the utmost diligence.

While this growing volume of data offer numerous opportunities for cost savings and service improvements when next-gen technologies like AI and machine learning are introduced (more on that in a future blog!), but ensuring its absolute integrity is critical if firms are to maintain their clients' confidence in an increasingly turbulent cyber threat landscape. Cyber attacks rose significantly during COVID lockdown as work moved rapidly from office to home, and recent reports indicate this continues to rise, with some 70% of law firms being subject to cybercrime.

The deployment of hybrid Cloud infrastructure – in which on-premises hardware, public Cloud, and private Cloud solutions are securely integrated in whichever way best combines their respective advantages – is simply a logical answer to these challenges, and Legal firms' singular requirements around the handling and storage of clients' data. Furthermore, hybrid cloud offers best value when considering a high number of "Common Off The Shelf" (COTS) applications cannot be transformed for optimised use on public Cloud.

A next-generation hybrid Cloud infrastructure, designed in collaboration with a trusted technology partner will allow firms to ensure their governance and compliance requirements are fully met, with full control of how and where clients' data is stored, particularly regarding data that must be stored in a particular country, or on-premises. At the same time, secure integrations with public Cloud infrastructure will allow employees to continue accessing the different platforms they increasingly depend on to ensure clients' needs are met, and also help manage the ongoing cost of IT infrastructure.

Of course, this new breed of infrastructure will demand a new breed of cyber security, along with measures to ensure disaster recovery and business continuity, both to protect against the next wave of cyber-attacks, and to guarantee the continued integrity of clients' most sensitive data in the event of a breach. This will require a clear process for categorising assets and how they must be stored and utilised, taking effective governance into account, as touched on above, and likely involve the deployment of leading-edge solutions, such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) that are fully optimised for an increasingly dispersed workforce.

To find out more about developing a robust security ecosystem for your own hybrid Cloud, I recommend you read our white paper, Rethinking Data Security and Disaster Recovery in the Legal Sector, where I not only take a deep dive into the sector's unique technological challenges, but also the opportunities these can potentially open up.

Monitoring, management and testing are vital to maintaining a robust cyber security posture.

Read our comprehensive guide to understand how our Cyber Security eco-system can help protect your organisation from the latest cyber threats.

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