Why IT Support is Important for Practice Management

advanced technology for modern lawyers
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Technology is a double-edged sword. Applied correctly, it can drive huge gains in efficiency. Implement it thoughtlessly, though, and it can needlessly complicate workflow.

For this reason, many legal firms have resisted wide-scale adoption of tech processes. Virtually all law firms have computers, but tasks like articling have largely remained in place.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that these tasks are time-consuming and expensive. As such, savvy law firms are beginning to employ tech fixes that automate/streamline many lower-level chores. Often, these firms bring in a managed IT services firm to make these changes. Every year, providing IT services for the law firms is becoming increasingly common.

Legal businesses should focus on delivering positive outcomes for clients. The less time wasted on network management issues, the easier this becomes. Below, we’ll discuss why legal practices are turning to managed IT service firms for their tech needs.

Security Issues

More than 25 years after its debut, the World Wide Web is still a scary place. Every hour of every day, hackers comb the net, looking for targets. Legal servers are chock full of privileged information – as such, they are high-value targets for cybercriminals.

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The security of a legal firm’s server depends on how savvy their IT person is. Sadly, in a world where cybercriminals are continually learning new tricks, these defenses are often outdated.

The results are startling but predictable. According to the 2019 Global State of SMB Cybersecurity report, 76% of respondents reported a breach in the past year. From theft of data to full-on ransomware attacks, these incursions came with massive economic consequences.

On average, businesses lose $200,000 in these attacks. Many smaller firms, unable to recover from such a massive hit, fold within six months.

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To avoid damage to their finances and reputation, law firms have begun to bring in managed IT services firms. These companies boast a wealth of IT talent that includes cybersecurity. Aware of the latest cybersecurity developments, they can implement defenses that keep their clients safe.

Managing Remote Workers

Thanks to COVID-19, 2020 has become a massive experiment in remote working. Unsurprisingly, some law firms have struggled, as accommodating distributed teams come with its own set of issues.

Cybersecurity tops the list, as home networks offer minimal resistance to hackers. Project management comes a close second, as managers can’t keep tabs on their staff like they can in the office.

During these strange times, managed IT services firms are uniquely qualified to resolve these issues, as they have been dealing with them long before WFH became a thing. They can recommend and implement solutions like VPNs, project management software (e.g., Slack), and much more.

Rather than figure out solutions on-the-fly, managed IT services firms implement solutions that work.

Efficient Division of Labor

The more employees focus on core competencies, the stronger firms are. A firm’s in-house IT person should focus on making their systems more robust and efficient. Every minute they spend resetting passwords does not contribute to that goal.

A managed IT services firm can free in-house tech staff from these burdens. When outsourcers deal with help-desk issues, IT people can work on loftier tasks, like coding a website that will bring in more clients.

Regulatory Compliance

The legal profession is held to a high standard, and rightfully so. That said, having a web presence adds a layer of compliance that can distract from a law firm’s mission.

For starters, there’s FISMA, which governs information privacy standards related to interacts with the federal government. If a firm deals with healthcare cases, they’ll have to comply with HIPAA. And then, there are payment issues. Law firms that accept credit cards must abide by PCI DSS regulations.

Under the weight of 60-80 hour work weeks, details can slip through the cracks. Firms that get caught transgressing these regulations can suffer an embarrassing reputation hit. That’s why increasing numbers of law firms are outsourcing regulatory compliance to managed IT services firms.

Rather than they divide their attention further, these legal practices get IT outsourcers to ensure they are up to code.

Leave Tech Issues to the Experts

Law practices are most effective when they focus on their craft. Yet, they cannot ignore the necessity of remaining connected in a 21st-century economy. By bringing in outside experts, legal firms can shore up their digital presence while focusing on their strengths.

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