Is the Cloud Really Right for Your Legal Firm?

Is the Cloud Really Right for Your Legal Firm?

2121 1414 Christopher Clark

The difference between an in-house server and the Cloud for CMS.

To Cloud or not to Cloud? If you’re a lawyer thinking about taking your Case Management System (CMS) to the Cloud, that’s the million-dollar question. Unfortunately, the million-dollar answer is actually just a bunch of smaller thousand dollar answers. In other words, it’s complicated. Making the decision doesn’t have to be, though. And figuring out if the Cloud is really right for you doesn’t have to be, either.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret most people wouldn’t be caught dead saying. The Cloud is not for everyone. And, gasp, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Bringing your CMS to the Cloud can be great for your firm, but it could also be something you just don’t need for a number of reasons. In-house server VS Cloud depends on a number of different variables: the size of your firm, budget, access, control, etc. To answer some of your questions about whether or not your firm should take your CMS to the Cloud, zbrella is breaking down the pros and cons of the Cloud and an in-house server.

Variable In-House Server Cloud Solution
Budget Costs are upfront. Initial setup costs include investments in technical staff, equipment, software, hardware, infrastructure, and ongoing expenses. Depreciation cost of hardware increases every year. Costs are not upfront. No investment in purchasing and maintaining hardware. Fee-structure is typically pay-as-you-go, meaning you only pay for the storage and service you use.  
Control/Customization You have full control and customization over your server. This allows you to set up a system that meets your exact network needs, from local control to visibility, auditability, service and high performance levels. Hybrid Cloud solutions can offer security, scalability, and flexibility. However, most Cloud solutions do not offer the same level of customization as an in-house server and relies heavily on outside, third party providers.
Speed An Internet connection is not required to access data. Bandwidth is traditionally cheaper and oftentimes yields faster Internet speeds and greater performance. Requires a dependable Internet connection. If Internet is down via your third party provider, you lose access to your data. Connection can be faulty and user experience can suffer due to poor Internet speeds.
Size of Firm Can host any size from small through large. Can host small through large sized businesses but costs can often outweigh the benefits for small/medium sized businesses (SMBs) depending on their needs.
Flexibility Requires space in an office for rack space or a server room/closet. Cannot connect remotely. Workers can connect from anywhere, using any device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.)
Security Keeps critical data in-house and provides the ability to have no other third party have access to your data if you so choose.  However, data backup and management is entirely your responsibility. Third party Cloud services always have direct access to your data. If Internet fails as a result of either you or your third party Cloud provider, you no longer have access to your own data. Cloud providers assume the risk of data loss and provide backups for your data, but are not always reliable.

Deciding if the Cloud or an in-house server is right for your firm relies entirely on your unique set of circumstances. Budget is often at the top of every firm’s list. The costs for both an in-house server or the Cloud often match up. How much you pay in a certain amount of time is the only thing that really changes, making Cloud sometimes seem more attractive. Neither solution is better than the other. What they can offer your firm is what matters.

For zbrella Technology Consulting, I’m Christopher Clark, goodnight and good luck!

Christopher Clark

Christopher loves all things tech and science. As a writer who found his talents through the holy scriptures of J.R.R. Tolkien and Arthur C. Clark (no relation, unfortunately), his Orwellian nature has taken hi... Read More

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