IT Support for Law Firms: The 6 Main Requirements

Every industry has its unique technology requirements and considerations, and the legal field is no different. As such, IT support for law firms needs to be tailored to the specific challenges legal businesses face. 

Here we explore the 6 main IT considerations that law firms need to address. We also share our advice on what to look for when choosing an IT service provider to support your firm.

What IT support does your law firm require?

Given the sensitive nature of your work, trust and reputation are particularly crucial to the success of your law firm. 

Acknowledging this, your top IT priority should be ensuring your important systems and data are sufficiently protected against potential attacks. You should also be focused on moving away from outdated systems and processes, and toward more efficient and secure solutions.

The top 6 IT challenges for law firms

How your firm operates, as well as the environment it operates in, creates several important considerations for your IT support. Significant expertise and careful planning are required when developing support services that are tailored to the exact needs of your firm.

Managing cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a big challenge for every small business, but law firms need to be particularly conscious of ensuring they have sufficient protections in place. Cybercriminals understand that, while most firms collect and hold highly sensitive data, their security measures tend to be weaker or outdated. 

This makes them high-value targets, and some experts believe cyberattacks on Australian law firms are now a daily occurrence.

There are a range of measures your firm should have in place to prevent breaches, or at least minimise their damage. This includes a suite of technical interventions, like managing access through passwords and other controls, and keeping your applications and anti-virus software updated. 

It also includes regular education and awareness activities, designed to equip your team with the knowledge and skills to identify and prevent potential attacks.

Regulatory compliance

Working within the legal field, you understand better than most how important it is to meet your regulatory obligations!

More than just attracting hefty fines, breaching your legal requirements can cause irreparable damage to your firm’s reputation. As many regulations are designed to protect your business and clients, breaches can also leave you exposed to increased operational risk.

From an IT perspective, the Australian Privacy Principles are particularly relevant, as they outline the data security standards your business needs to meet. 

While these are quite stringent, they are also principles-based, which means you can design information management practices that suit your business. You can also choose the systems and processes that best fit your requirements, which is something an experienced IT service provider can advise on.

Digitisation of records

You collect a significant amount of data on each client, and it generally needs to be held for several years. 

Traditionally, this has been in the form of physical documents, but there is an increasing push for firms to go digital. Digitising documentation can increase both the security and availability of the information, but it must be managed carefully and supported by the right tools.

Choosing an IT partner with significant experience managing digitisation and migration projects should help streamline this process. They will be able to advise on ways to avoid confusion and double-ups during the transition period

They will also be able to implement an integrated document management system to make data storing and searching as easy as possible.

Legacy software and systems

It is highly likely that physical records are not the only outdated approach your business is hanging onto. 

Law firms are particularly prone to persisting with legacy software and systems, regardless of how difficult they are to use. Often, such systems are also unsupported, which means they are more susceptible to cyberattacks and less compatible with new tools and technologies.

With replacement the only real option, many law firms are choosing to take the leap and migrate to the Cloud. In addition to improving system and data accessibility, this increases security and centralises the management of maintenance and updates. 

The initial investment required to implement the new tools and processes should also be offset by the ongoing cost savings and reduced operational risk.

Supporting remote working

Research suggests that, since the global pandemic, small law firms are embracing work-from-home arrangements at much higher rates. Unfortunately, remote working does present some IT challenges.

Most significantly, your systems need to be set up to allow team members to remotely access everything they need to do their job. Specialist tools may also be required to support communication and encourage collaboration when your team is geographically dispersed. Additional measures will also be required to ensure that your team members are the only ones who can remotely access your important systems and data.

Minimising downtime

When you are working within strict time limits, the last thing you need is to be held up by system outages. This is particularly true in the legal field, where missing a deadline can have significant consequences – both financially and legally. Delays due to technical issues are also an especially bad look when you are billing by the hour.

Acknowledging this, system stability should be a major consideration when choosing and implementing new tools and technologies. Regular system monitoring and maintenance should also be carried out to minimise the risk of unplanned outages.

Need help meeting your firm’s IT support requirements?

For more information on IT in the legal field, or to discuss your business’s requirements, contact the OneCloud team today

We have extensive experience providing IT support for law firms and can make sure your systems are secure, efficient, and compliant. We also offer a wide range of managed IT services and can tailor a package to suit your specific needs.