In house IT or outsourced — which one is better for your law firm? As a law firm, you deal with clients on a daily basis. These clients trust you with their confidential data—data that you have to entrust to a team of experienced employees. These employees juggle multiple tasks—clients and cases, deadlines and documents, managing the law firm and ensuring seamless administrative efficiency. Most importantly, everything has to run with exceptional precision, simultaneously. That’s a lot, even for established companies. And to help them with it, they seek out IT solutions for law firms that can give them a competitive edge.
Tech and IT Solutions Your Law Firm: In House vs. Outsourced – Which One’s Better?
Here’s the thing, however—technology and IT can either be an advantage or a liability—depending on whether you’re able to find the right one for your law firm.
All IT solutions for law firms have the same objective—to bring down the risk associated with handling and storing sensitive data. This means ensuring that there are no data breaches, service outages, or downtime, and identifying vulnerabilities before they become actual problems.
What options do law firms have to ensure all this?
IT Solutions for Law Firms Option 1: In House IT Support
You might think on-premise solutions imply better control over your important and sensitive data.
As a law firm, you deal with tons of confidential material. The old-school thinking around IT support is resistant to seeking third-party solutions because they want to ensure the integrity of their workflows, client confidentiality and minimize potential breaches. That’s what makes on-premise solutions so appealing on the surface.
But this kind of control comes at a price. Literally.
For starters, in-house solutions will require in-house employees, equipment, payroll, overhead — all of the above. You’re carrying all of these expenses- and you’re responsible for telling your IT guy or IT support team what they need to do…But how are you supposed to know you need to do a diagnostics test on your servers and data back up applications to make sure they’re running at 100%? How much of your time are you spending googling “how to run a diagnostics test” “how do I know my data software is up to date?” “How to run the latest upgrade of software X?” Is that your office administrator’s job?
So there’s an upfront investment for on-site servers and a skilled team of IT personnel who can maintain and manage it, and then there’s a constant amount of brainpower you have to spend researching and managing your law firms’ IT needs yourself. Any troubleshooting, upgrades, and updates are also on you.
In more extreme cases, if your law firm is located in a disaster-prone area, you run the risk of losing everything in the event of flooding, earthquakes, or even a wildfire. If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place for your law firm, a simple power outage in the area means your law firm’s operations will come to a screeching halt.
The Ugly Truth About In-House IT Support: Your “IT Guy” Is 100% Reactive Support: The Most “Unsupportive” IT Support Possible.
Let’s say you have the budget for an in house “IT guy” — consider this: The service you’re getting from your IT guy on site — 100% reactive. It’s slack. Lazy. What’s this mean?
A printer breaks – one of your employees call him, and he shows up to fix your printer. Your internet goes down – another employee calls and he works on fixing that (and meanwhile you lose thousands of dollars in employee work because they can’t do their work because you’re internet’s down.)
These are all examples of the “IT Fire Trap” — like a firefighter showing up on the scene of a house up in flames, he’s there to put out the fire that’s already started.
But what if you didn’t have to have IT fires in the first place?
That’s where proactive support comes in. No more fires. No more calls because everything’s constantly breaking or not working. Enter your managed service provider.
Heal Your IT Support Headaches – Option #1: Outsourced IT Solutions for Law Firms via Managed Services
Possibly the single, most obvious benefit of outsourcing your law firm’s IT needs is that it will save you a lot of money, stress, and brainpower.
By shifting all your data storage and management to the cloud, as well as your IT systems, there’s no need for a law firm to invest in costly on-site servers that don’t complement your legal systems or hire in-house staff. You gain the same level of functionality and productivity, for a fraction of the amount that you would usually spend. This allows law firms to implement mission-critical applications, gain a leg up over the competition, at minimum cost.
More importantly, you and your team no longer have to worry about maintaining IT and technology and focus on the more strategic and creative side of running your law firm.
That’s not to say that outsourced IT solutions for law firms don’t have disadvantages either. For starters, your entire operations need to be anchored on a very reliable internet connection—otherwise, you don’t get access to any of the functionalities or data stored on the cloud.
And while providers are meticulous about ensuring security protocols and standards, the mere fact that all your critical data is stored on remotely means you’re more vulnerable to attacks and breaches.
Which brings us to the third option—a solution that brings together the best of both worlds for law firms.
IT Solutions for Law Firms – Should I Use The Cloud Or In-House Servers?
There is no cookie-cutter blanket answer to this question. Your law firm’s systems, workflow, size and number of locations will determine if cloud-based data storage or in house servers are the best option.
Considering the fact that most law firms already have on-premise systems in place—this typically makes shifting to a cloud-based, outsourced provider more difficult for them. Even if they wanted to gain the benefits of mobility, scalability, and cost-efficiency associated with outsourced IT solutions, it’s tricky to invest in something new when they already have a workable system in place. Sure, there’s a lot of room for improvement, but they don’t’ have the expertise or time to dedicate towards it.
Want to learn more? Check out Managed IT Support and Services for Law Firms.