The cloud, that is. In Ron Friedmann’s live blog post during LTNY 2015 bloggers breakfast, he captures the following conversation between legal IT gurus, Bob Ambrogi (Blogger and Former Editor), James Paterson (Lexis Nexis), Ari Kaplan (Legal Market Researcher and Writer) and Ryan Mclead (3 Geeks and a Blog):
How did the cloud play out in 2014 and what will happen in 2015?
Ryan: I am baffled we are still having this discussion. To be sure, there are security concerns; but this is true for any system. The cloud is now the infrastructure. “The only way to be profitable in this industry is to move to the cloud.”
James: Cloud wins on ease-of-use, especially in the small law firm market. As firms look for more security, many will look to companies what specialize in IT – which means the cloud.
Bob: We need to declare an end to discussing this. It’s here, get over it.
Ari: Interviewed corporate security officers recently. They do not speak with one voice. Depends where they come out on security versus convenience. James chimes in to say that corporate IT leaders are shifting rapidly to accept if not embrace the cloud.
All true and refreshing to hear such candid perspectives on technology that’s here to stay. But to be fair, can we really say that firms themselves are resisting cloud adoption? Or, is it the clients they serve dictating those decisions?
Some resistance to the cloud is for good reason. Two of the largest industry consumers of legal services, Financial and Healthcare, are held to regulatory requirements impeding cloud adoption to occur for various aspects of the business. Regulatory requirements may prohibit high profile or sensitive data to be stored in the cloud, regardless of how secure we prove it to be. Industries aside, practice areas such as M&A and IP are also held to extremely high data security standards. This is one reason hybrid solutions have become so popular. Firms will often migrate less sensitive areas of their infrastructure to the cloud, such as calendars, contacts, etc., while storing sensitive data on-prem.
Other clients may be putting serious pressure on firms to implement security initiatives for added protection, such as: encryption technologies, multi-factor authentication and ethical wall protection. The 2014 ILTA Technology Survey reports that initiatives like MDM (mobile device management) are up 12 points in the past two years, with encryption technologies, multi-factor authentication and ethical wall protection all showing an increase as well. Security awareness programs are also up 12 points, according to the survey.
With that said, I am encouraged by the momentum of cloud adoption that is taking place. Over the past 12 months, I’ve seen about 60-70% of our new engagements (mid to large-sized firms) moving in that direction. Not all firms are created equal which often present unique challenges or concerns when moving to the cloud – this alone is reason enough for lingering cloud adoption and education. This year, my focus for our ILTA Roadshows is addressing SharePoint Online Versus On-Prem and guiding firms on which option best suits their needs; the cloud is here to stay, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for every firm and every situation.
What else happened at LTNY
Matter Center was not unveiled at LTNY as many had expected leaving ILTA last year, and continues to be held close to Microsoft’s chest for now; more information is suspected to be revealed in April. You can learn more about where Matter Center stands today in our recent Peer to Peer article.
The acquisition of Equivio and what this means for SharePoint and Matter Center also remains quiet for now.
netdocuments was of particular interest given their recent $25MM influx of capital and three new strategic hires, Bobby Tindel (VP of Service Delivery), Ed Bergstrom (Director of Global Channel Sales) and Wayne Harris (SVP of Global Sales). We look forward to our ongoing relationship and improving our NetDocs app for SharePoint integration. Congratulations on your new roles, Bobby, Ed and Wayne!
Lexis Nexis promoted its new product, Newsdesk, from its October 2014 acquisition of Moreover Technologies, a leading global content delivery service and provider. With more than 250 million current news items, advanced filtering, email alert and newsletter functionality, analytics and more, the product preview was a success among attendees with added API functionality for SharePoint integration.
Handshake Software promoted its latest tool, Expertise Locator, which is an add-on application to the popular SP Bridge enterprise search solution; it was announced last month. Handshake’s Expertise Locator adds both competition and enhanced capabilities to popular products offered by Neudesic and Beezy, all providing intelligence into specific expertise in a firm.