Weighing Outsourced IT for Your Law Firm in 2013 and Beyond
By: Edward J. Grubb on Friday, February 15, 2013

As you contemplate your strategy for information technology at your law firm for the next few years, you’ll be looking at three primary models: managing your technology with in-house staff, outsourcing your technology management to a qualified provider, or a combination of both.

Today, the concept of outsourcing will weigh heavy on one side of the scales. Gone are the days when information technology (IT) outsourcing was a decision wrought with FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), or worse. In 2013, outsourcing is a proven and accepted practice for the secure operation of IT, particularly at small- and medium-size law firms. However, like all complex deliberations, there’s a short path that will take you to the best decision.

So, what are the key factors that you should have on your list when assessing IT outsourcing? Here are the key subject areas and top points to consider in each area:

Your needs:

  • 24/7 support, or just Monday-Friday standard business hours
  • Latest and greatest software that your attorneys and staff rely on to do their jobs
  • IT expertise to either supplement in-house IT staff, or to fill the role completely
  • Scalable network, capable of accommodating new hires, in existing and new locations
  • Ability to gain and maintain a competitive advantage
  • Mobile access to applications and data on devices of choice
  • Continuous system uptime and reliability—even during a disaster
  • Predictable IT-related expenditures

The technologies:

  • Network management and monitoring, maintained 24 hours a day
  • Support for servers, desktops, laptops, and tablets and smartphones (including mobile device management for the security of BYOD—“bring your own device” phones)
  • Hosted line-of-business software
  • Backup, disaster preparedness and recovery processes
  • Security for data, networks and hardware
  • Cloud services—hosted applications, email and data storage

The vendors:

  • Are they compliant with industry standards such as SSAE-16 (a written third-party assessment of operational controls and procedures at service organizations)?
  • Are they respected by your peers and the industry in general?
  • Do they have experience serving the legal industry, and if so, for how long?
  • Do they have the staff available to meet your day-to-day and long-term needs?
  • Do they have in-depth cloud experience, and knowledge of cloud ethics opinions?
  • Do they have experience with applications commonly used by law firms such as Worldox®, iManage®, Needles®, Tabs3®, Time Matters®, Juris®, QuickBooks®, ProLaw®, and software for trusts & estates, tax, real estate and project management?

Consider this blog to be the outline for your outsourcing project. All of the above points, plus a few more that you would add specific to your requirements, are the building blocks you need to get started.

Edward J. Grubb is General Manager, Legal Managed Services, at mindSHIFT® Technologies. For 30 years, Ed has helped law firms to streamline their business operations and focus on their core business: the practice of law.

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For more information on legal IT services, contact mindSHIFT or call 877-227-5054.









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