Jan 19, 2018

What Are the Benefits of Office 365 for Law Firms?

The mass appeal of Office 365 makes it the productivity suite of choice for corporate users, but does this mean it’s a suitable option for legal professionals too? After all, Canadian law firms face many important challenges in an online world, not least with regard to data security and compliance. Other factors include the need to streamline workflows and speed up case resolution times by having a clear line of sight into your documents and where they’re stored.

Office 365 offers a low-cost subscription-based solution (with data hosted in Canada), that’s flexible enough so that you can tailor it to the needs of your practice. Premium subscription packages offer the full range of desktop productivity applications and their web-based counterparts. Other core features include important collaboration tools, integrated messaging and video conferencing, and hosted Exchange email.

Facilitate Better Collaboration with Total Cloud Environments

Office 365 greatly expands upon the original Microsoft Office desktop productivity suite to include full, enterprise-grade cloud enablement. With web-based versions of all the main productivity applications, such as Word and Excel, it’s now possible for teams to coauthor the same documents in real time. Furthermore, you can use SharePoint Online to create private team portals, which act as centralized hubs for your team to access information such as case files, client correspondence and more.

Enterprise-Grade Security and Compliance

Rock-solid security is at the very heart of the Office 365 platform. With the Security and Compliance Center at your disposal, you’ll be able to take every step needed to ensure that your data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

For example, you can set up data loss prevention to guard against potential data breaches, either accidental or otherwise. Microsoft also offers full compliance with global privacy laws and various regional regulations, such as PIPEDA here in Canada, GDPR in Europe, and HIPAA in the US. Furthermore, you will retain full ownership and control over any data stored in Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage facility.

Enhanced eDiscovery Capabilities

Office 365 greatly simplifies electronic discovery while reducing costs and improving productivity. Just look at the Advanced eDiscovery tool (included in all E5 subscriptions), which lets you analyze unstructured data, perform more accurate document reviews, and work with data stored both online and offline. You’ll also be able to enjoy enhanced case management, full control over access rights, and the ability to preserve vital case information without getting in the way of productivity.

Familiar Office Environment

For over two decades, Microsoft Office has been the industry standard in desktop productivity. While Office 365 greatly expands the Office ecosystem, it does so while retaining an environment most of us are familiar with. That means there’s likely no need to retrain your employees. After all, chances are, they’ve already been using Word, Excel and Outlook for many years. And aside from many refinements and new features, the core interface has remained much the same. Add to the mix full online collaboration, and you have a truly team-enabled environment.

Better Document Management

Seemingly endless reams of documents are something that legal professionals used to deal with daily. Throw in fragmented data storage systems, and you’ve got a situation that’s practically impossible to keep control over. Chances are, it won’t be compliant with industry regulations either.

Although we recommend the Worldox document management software, Office 365 also provides a fantastic tool for law firms. Known as the Matter Center, this legal document management tool fully integrates with the wider Office 365 suite. Matter Center provides legal professionals with a briefcase in the cloud, complete with powerful document search capabilities and secured permission and access controls.

Vertex helps law firms in the Toronto area get more out of modern technology without making it a costly hassle. Call us today for a free, no-obligation network security assessment.

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