5 common IT problems law firms face (and how to fix them)

The digital world has irrevocably changed the way businesses operate. Yet while technology is a central part of any good legal practice, it’s fair to say that many law firms struggle with their IT infrastructure on a regular basis. Computer crashes, slow internet speeds, software compatibility issues, and more can all have a negative impact on the operations of a law firm.

Fortunately, there are solutions to most common IT problems that many law firms face. By implementing the best practices outlined here, you can reduce the risk of encountering these issues and keep your firm running smoothly.

Problem: Legacy software

Legacy software is becoming a problem for law firms, most of whom use their legacy software to handle bookkeeping and accounting functions, as well as other administrative tasks. However, it becomes more difficult to maintain, which can result in major problems when you need to update your systems, or implement new features and updates.

It can also be difficult to upgrade these systems when they are in use, and there is always the risk that some of the data contained within the old system could be lost or altered if the new system is not properly backed up.

Solution: Cloud adoption

Cloud technology offers many benefits that make it easier to deploy new applications and services, such as accessing data stored in the cloud from multiple devices, from any location.

By moving your existing IT infrastructure to the cloud, you can reduce the risk of data loss and ensure that all systems are compatible with one another. This will help to simplify your IT environment and improve overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Problem: Low cyber security awareness

The consequences of a successful cyber attack can be huge. Law firms that fall victim to cybercriminals could lose millions of dollars in client funds, and their reputations could be damaged beyond repair. In addition, employees could be fired and clients could cancel their contracts.

Law firms that handle sensitive data need to implement security measures to protect their clients and employees. Some common data security issues include lack of employee training, a lack of cyber security practices, and not having current software updates.

Solution: Implement cyber security training and practises

When done properly, training can help companies reduce the likelihood of cyber-attacks by raising awareness about potential threats and helping employees recognise the signs that something is wrong.

Further, law firms need to take steps to protect themselves from cyber threats by ensuring they are up-to-date with antivirus software and other security measures in place, as well as keep all sensitive data stored on private servers that are not connected to the internet.

Problem: Data security issues

Data security is a growing concern for law firms, especially as more information is stored electronically and shared across the organisation. Lack of adequate security can lead to data loss, stolen property, and regulatory fines. The average cost of a data breach in Australia is $3.35 million per breach, an increase of 9.8% year on year.

Protecting your critical data with strong security measures should be one of your top priorities to ensure you do not fall victim to cybercriminals.

Solution: Implement access controls

Access controls are a vital part of a law firm’s data security strategy. They help ensure that only authorised users have access to sensitive information, and they can also be used to prevent unauthorised users from gaining access in the first place.

Access controls can be implemented in several ways, including password protection, multi-factor authentication, cyber security policies, and regular auditing.

Problem: Overwhelming amount of physical documents

One of the primary problems with paper-based practices is that it can be very inefficient. When documents are handwritten or typed by hand, there is a lot of work involved in creating them and distributing them to clients and colleagues. This creates a lot of overhead costs for firms that use physical documents. The time it takes to create and distribute documents also means that lawyers are not always available to meet with their clients when they need to.

Solution: Digitise physical documents

There are many benefits to moving to a digital workflow. First, it saves time by eliminating the need to manually search for and copy old documents. Second, it reduces errors by providing a secure platform for storage and sharing of case information. Third, it increases efficiency by allowing attorneys to work on cases simultaneously. When combined with an integrated document management system (DMS), which manages all paper documents at once in one location, lawyers can then easily access all case-related documents across different locations and devices.

Problem: Outdated infrastructure

An outdated infrastructure may cause performance issues, which can lead to lost revenue, unhappy employees and clients, and data loss. These issues lead to security breaches, system crashes, and increased costs due to maintenance.

Solution: Upgrade or replace hardware

By regularly upgrading or replacing outdated hardware, you'll ensure that your IT infrastructure is staying up-to-date and in good working order. Investing in a reliable and sustainable system will allow you to improve productivity and protect your data from damage.

When planning an infrastructure upgrade or replacement, make sure to consider what your organisation’s needs will be in the future. This will help you avoid upgrading again too soon.

Find the right IT solutions for your law firm

While there are many options available for your IT infrastructure, choosing the right one for your law firm is important. The right solution for your business will depend on what type of practice you have, and what you want to achieve with your IT.

The IT experts at Essential Tech specialise helping law firms optimise their existing IT infrastructure, migrating to new technology solutions, and can fully or co-manage your IT environment to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments.

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