Law firms are unique. Their obligation to interact daily with outside forces (vendors, clients, the courts) while maintaining the highest security and compliance possible is a challenge. This is in addition to the time and mobility that's needed to get the job done no matter what.
When you've been in business for as long as we have, you start to understand a few universal truths. For the legal industry, certain points come up repeatedly. To lead your business to success, you need to know the hard facts and IT solutions for law firms. These seven facts and solutions will help you get there.
1. Loyalty can be risky
Many law firms choose to stay with the IT provider they’ve used for years because they know what to expect. But this loyalty can mean missing out on better service for your business.
Do your due diligence. Take a critical look at your current IT relationship and decide if you need to make a change.
2. Don’t waste money on perceived value
Some managed service providers (MSPs) are merely break/fix companies in disguise. You may think you’ve found a great deal on IT when really you’ll be paying for low quality service and additional fees for everything.
When it comes down to it, quality and credible MSPs aren’t cheap. In fact, the more expensive a contract, the better the MSP probably is. Before you partner with any MSP, take a hard look at what services they will and won’t be providing as part of your service-level agreement (SLA).
3. Understand the difference between a qualified MSP and a persuasive salesperson
We all know that persuasive salespeople can make anything sound good. It can be tough to determine whether you’re dealing with a smooth talker or an MSP that really is worth your time.
Real MSPs transfer risk from your law firm, separate proactive IT from reactive IT, work in a highly-defined process and follow an SLA-based service model. The following criteria are an effective way to figure out if an MSP is quality.
- Support team dedicated to your business. General teams can’t provide the best level of service because they don’t know your business inside and out.
- Historical evidence of SLA performance — both in response and resolution.
- Dedicated positions responsible for proactive planning (hint: if they have shared roles handling tech support, you aren’t going to see real planning).
- An internal model to hire talent based on attitude and aptitude. If they rely on external recruiters, beware.
- Audited and compliant services and data centers, both HIPAA and SSAE.
- High-tech office space. If they can’t manage their own office, how can they help you?
- Locally-based, no outsourced services. This includes onsite as well as remote support.
- Properly insured with standard general liability insurance. A Tech Error and Omission Policy is required.
- Established in the market. Just like the legal industry, experience is everything in IT.
Our handy IT provider checklist goes into further detail to help you choose the best MSP for your business.
4. Effective IT = more free time = more billable hours completed
Law firms can acutely measure the value of IT and the cost when it’s not working right. When IT disrupts the billing engine, even just 15 minutes of downtime could be a lot of lost money.
Quality IT ensures the hardware, software, line of business apps and everything else are optimized like they should be, even the programs that are personalized to your business. Problems that may take hours to figure out, like why your computer and printer can’t connect, can take an IT professional minutes to resolve.
5. Your internal IT team should not also audit your internal IT
Whoever is managing your IT cannot also audit it — at least not objectively. In fact, they could be doing more harm than good if they’re not able to see the faults in their operation.
Any quality IT provider should conduct an independent audit of their own managed services before offering to touch your technology. Not only will you close any vendor regulations loopholes, but qualified MSPs will provide experience in achieving compliance because they’ve already been there.
6. Hackers can trick you with a simple email address
Think about the different types of technology you use every day (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop). These are just some of the methods malicious players use to reach you:
They can spoof public WiFi connections so you think you’re connecting to Starbucks WiFi, when actually you’ve just connected to a hacker hotspot.
They can send deceiving emails that look legitimate on the surface, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see the address is slightly different.
They can create malicious links that look innocent enough, but when clicked on, secretly infect your device to track and capture the confidential information you type.
MSPs are your first line of defense. By implementing virus and spam protection across all technology in your business, you can avoid many of these hacker attacks. Qualified MSPs can also provide email encryption services and monitor the third-party apps your business uses as well as any patches.
7. Your technology should meet your work demands
Most attorneys work more than 40 hours a week and upwards of 60-80 hours at large firms according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As an attorney, you don’t operate by the traditional 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. workday because clients expect a response now, not later.
Effective IT gives you a way to communicate no matter where you are. Through virtual desktop software and the cloud you can access the same files, folders and apps you have on your computer at work. This easy access means you don’t have to carry a computer from work to home and back again every day. You can transition seamlessly to wherever your current work station is.
Like we said, law firms are unique. That exceptionalism requires an equally exceptional IT provider. With the right partner, you’ll solve many of the problems that plague other law firms, and you'll be well on your way to success.
Here's another hard fact: iVenture Solutions is an award-winning managed service provider delivering superior IT solutions to clients across Florida. As a leading-edge IT firm for small and medium-sized businesses, we provide a diverse range of services covering the entire scope of IT including maintenance, support, hosting and more. Through rapid response time, reduction of chaos and the right people, our expert team of IT professionals will fulfill your technology needs. At iVenture, we give you more time to do what matters most.