When evaluating software for your firm, you may notice that there has been a big shift towards Cloud-based programs. You might ask yourself, am I sure I want my products to be hosted in the Cloud-based? This brief article will aim to provide an explanation of Cloud-based computing and clear up any misconceptions.
Why use Cloud-based products rather than locally installed products? There are three main benefits, most of our members find:
- Automated and thorough back-ups
- Possible cost and time savings
Let’s dive into each area a little more now.
Cloud-based products allow for greater access, as you can typically login from anywhere you have internet access. This is especially relevant in the Academy’s product, CounselPro™8. You can login from any phone, computer, tablet, or device with internet access and a web browser. There is also a mobile app that can be utilized for Androids or iPhones.
This type of access expands your hiring pool so that you’re not limited to who can drive into the office. With much of the workforce still working remotely either partially or in full, having access to essential systems and software allows you and your team to create a life centered around where you want to be, not where you have to be. This type of work style would be nearly impossible or practical while using locally installed systems.
Back-ups and Security
Cloud-based products typically have better backup systems than desktop versions. If you are storing all your data on a local server, this can result in disaster in cases of flooding, fires, or potential tampering from a disgruntled employee. Certainly, most servers will have a backup system in place, but there are many documented examples of local backup failures across every industry. Sure, if you have a local server, you could run an offsite backup or do a daily backup to a drive that you take from the office every day. But that is not foolproof and still provides possibilities for corruption.
Cloud-based practices will back up to secure, secondary systems so that there is always an intact copy of your data. In the case of CounselPro™8, you can expect an automatic backup every 5 minutes. This ensures that even in the direst circumstances, you should never lose more than 5 minutes of work.
Security of Cloud-based systems is always a question that gets asked. There is certainly a common misconception that locally saved data is more secure/less easily breached. This is typically untrue for the reasons noted above.
The data stored in CounselPro™8 is encrypted and undergoes regular security testing. Reputable software companies will employ bank-grade data encryption and will have many security audits in place to maintain the integrity of your data.
Cost and Time Savings
Finally, there are potential savings associated with Cloud-based products as your firm will not need to purchase a local server and provide backup services.
Cloud-based systems typically allow for easier maintenance of a product. When software has to be installed locally, on each user’s machine and the server, it means any time an update is released, every single PC needs to be accessed by IT and updated individually. This is a large time suck and could result in significant downtime as well as a large cost to pay an IT professional for help. That doesn’t include the likelihood that updates fail and required further time and troubleshooting.
With Cloud-based systems, there is typically no (or very little) downtime when it comes to updates. Most updates can be pushed out on the backend with no disruption to you or your firm. This allows Cloud-based programs to update on a dime if an integrated partner makes a change or a bug fix is needed.
As an example, with CounselPro™8, when our legal education team provides updated language to use as a result of a law change, we can quickly develop and push out the change to impacted users. Since CounselPro™8 is hosted in the Cloud, this allows us to update documents without ever interrupting your workflow.
If you’re still not convinced a Cloud-based system is the way to go, here are a few things all locally-run firms should have in place:
- Make sure that you have an ironclad backup system in place in case of any emergencies.
- Install and maintain a good anti-virus program
- Have a system and process to manage access of information.
- Create a plan b. What would you do if you were suddenly unable to access your server?
If you’d like to find out more about CounselPro™8 or any other Academy programs and services, make sure to talk with your Practice Building Coach or reach out to a Membership Consultant to learn more!
Technical Support Specialist
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128