You’ve survived the bomb cyclone, the massive winter storm that unleashed blizzard-like conditions across the East Coast last week. The unusual storm dropped snow from Virginia to Maine, battering areas with heavy snow and high winds. The effects reached all the way down to Florida, where chilly iguanas seized up in the cold and dropped from trees.
It wasn’t all freezing temperatures and blustery weather. In some places, the bomb cyclone was positively Rockwellian: Children got a day off of school, city parks were filled with snowmen, neighbors came together for sledding, hot cocoa, and snowball fights.
But no one was working. If you had an important matter to handle or were facing unforgiving deadlines—that is, if you were a lawyer or legal professional—the bad weather could have wreaked havoc to your schedule, particularly if you couldn’t get work done while the snow kept you from the office.
The bomb cyclone isn’t likely to be the last major weather event of the year, or even the winter. There are plenty of wildfires, hurricanes, and haboobs in 2018’s future. (It has also been raining in California, which is nearly a natural disaster out here.)
In this age of global warming and global weirding, if you can’t work during bad weather, you’re at a significant disadvantage. And if your computing, eDiscovery, and practice management are confined to on-premise solutions, you’re out of options if you can’t get to the office.
The good news is, if you’re socked in by bad weather, you don’t have to stop working—if you have the right technology. Thanks to the cloud, while the rest of the world is binge watching Netflix by the fire, you can continue doing your job without even pausing for a cup of hot chocolate. (Please, contain your excitement.)
The Cloud Does What On-Prem Tech Can't
Imagine not being able to check your email or take a phone call if you weren’t in the office. Of course, that’s how legal practice worked for decades: When you were out, you were out, whether you’d stepped outside for lunch or woken up with your home buried by a sudden snow storm. That didn’t mean a better work-life balance, though. Instead, it often meant staying in the office day and night.
Now, you can answer your phone from anywhere, check your email at any time. Cell phones and cloud services made that possible years ago.
Today, you can also conduct discovery, manage your practice, and even intake clients, whenever you need to, from wherever you are. There's no need to be tethered to your office desk, or to be shut out from your work when you're away.
Cloud technology makes that possible, because it’s available anywhere there’s an internet connection. Using Logikcull, for exmaple, you can conduct a document review from the comfort of your bed while it snows outside. Cloud-based practice management tools like Clio make it possible to keep your whole practice running no matter where you are.
Getting around snow days isn’t the only, or even the primary, benefit of the cloud. One of the cloud’s biggest benefits is in its efficiency and scalability, which allows you to accomplish more than ever before.
Discovery projects that were once vended out to third parties, for example, can now be handled in-house. That means cutting out third-party eDiscovery vendors, with their two- to three-day wait times for data processing and ingestion, their per-page costs for bates stamping, their additional per-page costs for imaging, their $250-an-hour project management fees. Discovery costs that would drive clients insane can now be greatly reduced, while the speed of review is dramatically increased.
In the clouds, projects can now begin in minutes, rather than days or weeks. And the right cloud platform can make reviewing documents as easy as searching on Google, allowing law firms to bring more discovery work in-house, increasing their billable hours.
When compared to on-premise solutions, as well, the cloud offers significant advantages. Even when on-premise software is already in place and thus “already paid for,” it carries a host of ongoing costs, such as the cost of updating and maintaining systems, the cost of data storage, and the cost of training lawyers and support staff on complex legacy software. And of course, on-prem software is confined to the premises. When the office is unavailable, you're out of luck.
The cloud, by contrast, is updated and maintained constantly. It benefits from dynamic distribution models to drastically reduce the cost of data storage. It employs simple, intuitive interfaces that make even complex software easy to use. And it doesn't require you to be in one place to benefit from it.
Then there is security. Cybersecurity experts warn that data is most at risk when it is in motion, and the typical eDiscovery process is one of near constant motion, the exchange of data from clients to lawyers to vendors and back around again, each transfer creating an opportunity for data to be compromised. Cloud based platforms eliminate much of that risk by creating a secure hub protected by bank-level security where your information is encrypted both in motion and at rest. Instead of shipping hard drives across the country, firms can invite clients to upload their data directly the their cloud-based discovery platform.
And then you can get to work, come rain, sleet, or snow.