Jul 8, 2020

How Your Law Firm Can Leverage IT To Prepare For The Next Disruption

Despite virtually every business chasing disruptive technology, very few of us are prepared for actual disruption. Does your firm have a concrete plan for environmental, technological, economic, and societal shakeups? If not, your Managed IT service provider can prepare you for the next unexpected disruption.

Sudden shifts to remote work, unforeseen security attack vectors, and economic recessions cause chaos if you’re unprepared. In today’s digital-first ecosystem, your IT architecture is the lifeline of your business. When operations go down, your engagement, productivity, and revenue go down with it.

COVID-19, the 2008 recession, and the rise of law firm data breaches all taught us a lesson; we need to prepare for disruptions. Unfortunately, preparing for disruption isn’t like flipping a light switch; it’s more like building a breaker. You have to purchase the appropriate hardware (e.g., company laptops, tablets, etc.), integrate and install critical software (e.g., SaaS solutions, communication tools, etc.), and create security controls to protect your data, your workers, and your systems.

According to Gartner, 55% of businesses are integrating business and IT planning strategies to mitigate a sudden disruption. But the vast majority have yet to solidify those plans. For law firms, the risk of disruption goes far beyond risk mitigation. With law firms folding and shedding workers in record numbers, disruption mitigation can be a lifeline to viability.

Facilitating Remote Capabilities

“When disruptive, rapidly evolving events occur, organizations must already be in a position to capitalize upon the disruption”— Gartner

Remote work isn’t a trendy new work model; it’s a tangible disruption barrier. When on-site accidents, economic downturns, and global situations happen, being able to shift workloads digitally prevents your business from stalling. While a business continuity plan mitigates some of your disruption risks, you still need the right hardware and software solutions to enable out-of-office work.

Digital transformation cultivates disruption-proof ecosystems. The tenants of digital disruption involve changing the way you think about people, processes, and technology. Using emerging technology to drive value into your business helps you prepare for critical points. When systems fail, your robust tech stack should compensate by enabling you to tackle the new.

For law firms, working from personal computers opens up threat vectors, and internal network policies should mitigate threat risks. Case in point, around half of all employees click and download documents from emails with unknown senders.

We recommend that law firms provide:

  • Corporate Laptops
  • Webcams
  • Printers
  • Monitors

When disruption calls for remote access, you’ll have the hardware you need on-hand. Of course, you also need the right software. There are two big features we recommend.

  1. A standardized video sharing application
  2. A standardized file sharing application

The obvious choice for these two solutions is Microsoft Teams.  Since Teams has video conferencing and file sharing built-in, you can incorporate both needs into a single piece of software. You can collaborate, video conference, meet, strategize, and share from anywhere with Teams—which is huge during a crisis. For example, during this recent surge to remote work, businesses have 200 million meetings a day on the platform. It’s a great all-around tool to facilitate remote work.

You should also consider a standardized VOIP system or unified communication platform to create a more holistic and disaster-proof communication strategy. The idea is to invest in a standardized communication platform to facilitate document transfer, collaboration, and interaction. This creates an IT landscape that’s flexible and scalable without shedding liquidity on a variety of ad-hoc solutions.

Securing Your Network Against Opportunity-based Attacks

  • 26% of law firms have been breached.
  • The average time to identify and contain a breach is 279 days.
  • Cybersecurity is the number one risk for risk managers in the United States.

Hackers attack every 39 seconds. Given the sensitivity of legal data, preparing for opportunity-based cybersecurity attacks isn’t an organizational advantage; it’s an operational necessity. To mitigate these types of attacks, create an IT resource plan. For example, if you shift to remote work due to an on-site disaster, policies and systems must be in place to keep your data safe. Home Networks are 3.5x more likely to have malware.

To mitigate risk, leverage IT to implement the right emergency policies, reduce legacy system weaknesses, and increase your security posture. Remember, disruption can impact employee participation in traditional policies.

A good example of this is remote work. When employees work remotely, they may relax on security. 34% of data breaches involve employees. Disruption breeds security complacency. Your emergency plan deals with this roadblock directly.

Any disruption preparedness plan should have cybersecurity as a front-and-centre concern. Simple solutions like multi-factor authentication can prevent 99% of account hacks. But there are also more complex security policies to address. The right network security features, encryption capabilities, and email solutions reduce your risk in disruption scenarios.

Creating a Resilient IT Ecosystem

Embed flexibility into your IT ecosystem to prepare your firm for future disruptions. To do this, your firm needs to embrace digital transformation. Enabling remote work, creating hyper-resilient cybersecurity policies, and bridging the gap between functionality and future-ready require digital transformation buy-in.

But there are some immediate barriers. Most legal firms don’t have the in-house IT capabilities to implement these broad systems. Even if they do, the vast majority can’t afford to monitor and maintain Cloud resources against failures and attacks 24/7. The road to digital transformation can be anxiety-inducing and resource-heavy for law firms that struggle to deal with disruption.

We can help. Vertex offers outsourced IT support for law firms in the Toronto area. Our turn-key enterprise IT cloud solution prepares you for future disruptions. We create a secure and holistic Cloud ecosystem with built-in privacy. We also provide fully-managed IT services—from hardware to software and security—we build systems for today and disruption strategies for tomorrow.

Don’t let disaster disrupt your profitability, security, and financial viability. We’ll handle your IT needs. You focus on what really matters—your firm’s growth. Contact us to learn more.

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