Abstract Data Wires

Steps Your Law Firm Must Follow for Successful Data Migration to the Cloud


The pandemic took the world by storm, and businesses were forced into an accelerated digital transformation. As a result, workers and senior executives across various industries had to shift to remote work unexpectedly—and the legal profession was no different. Today, more and more lawyers are comfortable with remote, thanks to advanced technologies that permit them to work securely and remotely from anywhere.

The 2020 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, conducted by the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center, shows that the pandemic increased virtual law practices, particularly cloud-based technologies. The survey showed that there was increased use of videoconferencing tools by lawyers. 64% of the surveyed legal professionals said that their workforce was now using video tools to communicate with clients and colleagues.

The trade-off between remote work and cybersecurity risks

Cloud technology brings a suite of benefits to law firms. But with it come the risks of cybersecurity threats if not planned and managed properly.

The rapid shift to remote work using cloud-based technologies gave increased opportunities to hackers and online fraudsters. Therefore, it is mission-critical for law firms to protect their documents and data whether their employees work from home or the office.

According to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Formal Opinion 483:

“The potential for an ethical violation occurs when a lawyer does not undertake reasonable efforts to avoid data loss or to detect cyber-intrusion, and that lack of reasonable effort is the cause of the breach.” The opinion also states that “As a matter of preparation and best practices… lawyers should consider proactively developing an incident response plan with specific plans and procedures for responding to a data breach.”

Migrating your law practice management software to the cloud

Cloud-based collaboration tools keep information flowing and make remote working employees feel connected to their clients and colleagues despite the distance. Moving your law firm’s data to the cloud is no longer an option but a necessity.

Though experts are warning law firms about the increased cybersecurity risks, you can ensure a successful migration of your business data to the cloud with careful planning and caution.

As cloud technologies become a part of our new normal, CIOs must carefully consider some aspects around cloud adoption that will affect their IT investments and their organizational efficiency and productivity.

These trends will influence cloud adoption and data migration plans:

Cost optimization: It’s not always about the price!

Most of your law firm data and documents will be stored, processed, and shared on cloud-based applications in the coming years. Cost optimization will be a major driving force behind choosing cloud services. But what law firms need to bear in mind is that cheapest is not necessarily the best! You must consider aspects such as security—the cost of data breaches is enormous—so it is vital to choose a cloud service provider who can ensure the safety of the intensely confidential nature of legal documents. Employee productivity is another aspect CIOs must consider. Make your lawyers more billable and your staff more efficient by choosing technologies that actively save time, improve collaboration, and contribute to the bottom line.

Scarcity of cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) skills

With a rapid shift to cloud-based infrastructure, the demand for skilled professionals who can handle critical cloud operations is growing. Training resources and certifying them takes time. Invest now in developing or accessing top talent in cloud IaaS so you don’t face skill gaps or a talent crunch that can delay your data migration to the cloud.

Or partner with a cloud services provider who can provide you with best-in-class cloud services.

Steps to follow for smooth data migration to the cloud

A survey data by the ABA 2019 Legal Technology Survey shows that 58% of law firms already keep their data in the cloud. The rest may migrate in the near future. So what will it take to make your law firm thrive in a cloud-first world?

Here are some critical areas your law firm can look at to prepare for your cloud-based systems.

  1. Store and manage digital documents correctly: Law firms handle sensitive and confidential information every day. Records management is a crucial aspect of a smooth transition to the cloud. Before migrating your data to the cloud, ensure your cloud services support your existing document management policies and requirements.
  2. Control access to sensitive information: Clearly define who has access to sensitive data hosted on cloud applications. Not everyone needs editing rights to a document. Third-party users should only be able to view the documents but not change any information. Unauthorized access to legal information has serious non-compliance implications and can lead to penalties as well as a loss of trust and damage to the firm’s reputation.
  3. Make sure you meet regulatory compliances: Before you move all your business documents and data to the cloud, take the time to understand the regulatory requirements you need to meet. Ensure that your cloud services provider complies with regulatory norms such as those around the frequency of data backups, security protocols, and document retention periods.
  4. Enable remote working for legal teams: Remote or hybrid work models are here to stay. Adopt a robust practice management solution that reduces your staff’s dependence on desktops and enables them to work from anywhere. Vertex is experienced in cloud-hosting for most of the mainstream legal software programs, including PCLaw and are Certified LexisNexis PCLaw (Certified Silver Partner).

Security is the key to a successful cloud strategy

Security at the device and network level is essential for the success of your cloud strategy. Equally important is security in the setup of the cloud platform. Vertex installs and configures several layers of enterprise-level security so legal teams can work securely and collaborate effectively using custom configurations on private cloud platforms.

Talk to PACE Technical as your preferred IT managed services provider to fill in for any skills gaps in managing IaaS services.

PACE is a leading IT managed services provider for law firms. IT managed services are vertical-specific and must be industry-compliant. Vertex has extensive verticalized experience in providing secure and managed cloud environments for law firms.