Like their counterparts in other industries, lawyers across the globe began working from home in 2020. The shift to remote work offered greater flexibility for employees, along with reduced overhead and increased profits for firms. But it also brought challenges that firms need to address moving forward. IT solutions for remote work support ongoing success.
Remote Work Challenges for Law Firms
For law firms, the challenges that accompany remote work fall into four major categories:
- Security and regulatory compliance – The legal industry deals with more than the usual quota of regulations, from state ethics panels to privacy laws such as CCPA, HIPAA and GDPR. At the same time, law firms of all sizes represent an attractive target for cyber criminals.
- Slower than usual internet – Employees working remotely spend much more time in front of a computer, working on documents and attending virtual meetings. Video calls eat up bandwidth. And with multiple family members using the internet, productivity can slow to a crawl.
- BYOD – Remote work increases the probability that employees will use personal laptops and mobile devices to conduct work. Every unregulated device that accesses the company network increases the risk of malware or data breach.
- Document access and storage – Lawyers deal with a huge volume of data, from client communications to important legal documents. They need secure, on-demand access to that information. Additionally, team members require the ability to collaborate on documents in real time over distance.
Security Best Practices
The sensitive nature of legal communications means security must take top priority. Begin implementing comprehensive cyber security with some basic mobile security best practices. For instance, address BYOD challenges with a mobile device management system. This will allow firms to determine what devices can access the network and what applications they can access.
In addition to mobile device management, be sure to use end-to-end encryption for all communication channels, including email, voice and messaging. File encryption, both in transit and at rest, will prove critical, as well. Add in multi-factor authentication, regular backups and security audits, and you have the beginnings of a security and compliance program.
Wise Technology Investments
One of the most common complaints from remote workers involves bandwidth. Used to enterprise-grade internet in the office, employees struggle to maintain productivity when using spotty residential service. Heavier than normal internet usage only adds to the problem.
Firms may need to provide employees with assistance in maintaining adequate home Wi-Fi and security tools. Additionally, firms that use on-premises case management software may need to reconfigure office networks to handle remote access smoothly and securely. Investing in the right tools up front will deliver savings by increasing security and productivity.
Cloud-based Document Management
For law firms that have not yet made the leap to the cloud, 2021 offers an ideal time to make the switch. With cloud-based document management and SaaS options, employees can work from anywhere without compromising security. Whether co-authoring documents over distance or catching up on email, cloud computing delivers 24/7/365 access to necessary files and tools.
Integration with Microsoft 365
Thousands of law firms already depend on Microsoft 365 applications for email, word processing, calendaring and other crucial work activities. And because Microsoft Teams operates in the cloud, employees can use it to collaborate seamlessly from anywhere.
Take productivity a step further by taking advantage of some of the many external integrations offered with Microsoft 365. For instance, top case management software packages integrate deeply with Teams and SharePoint. This allows firms to tailor Microsoft applications to their specific workflows.
Partner with Experts to Implement IT Solutions for Remote Work
2020 brought a seismic shift to remote work. Many experts predict that lawyers will continue to work remotely, at least part-time, even after the pandemic recedes. Consequently, law firms need to use proven IT solutions for remote work to ensure security and productivity moving forward.
The legal IT experts at eMazzanti bring the tools and experience you need to make informed technology purchases and implement solutions for success. We can tighten your data security and take the pain out of cloud migration and Microsoft 365 implementation. And for firms with limited in-house IT, we offer a variety of managed services options tailored to your needs.