Four Ways the Cloud Can Help Your In-house Legal Team

Data center with clouds in the middle of the aisle.

Let’s face it: the legal industry is not known for being at the cutting edge of technology. While consumers and others have flocked to cloud services, risk-averse legal pros have largely held back. Moreover, today’s corporate legal teams are losing budget and staff at the same time that litigation is exploding. It’s hard to spend precious time and energy learning a new technology when you have less money, fewer people, and more work. Nonetheless, in-house legal teams should consider seizing this moment to embrace the cloud to handle processes like holds and discovery.

Most of us use one or more cloud services across many areas of life, such as Google Docs, Facebook, or Netflix. Businesses, too, are increasingly turning to the cloud to power sales, finance, and other routine processes. In many cases, you can’t even buy on-premise software anymore as vendors have gone all-in on the cloud. Electronic discovery is no exception. Gartner reckons that 70% of companies will have in-house legal capabilities by 2023, compared with less than 20% last year. Those capabilities will almost certainly be served by the cloud. Let’s look at the ways moving to the cloud can help your legal team.

Take the load off IT

Supporting an on-premise system — meaning running your own hardware and software on-site — demands a lot of time and money. Servers must be configured, maintained, and monitored. Local computers must be updated with the latest versions of software. Security is a constant concern, requiring ongoing monitoring and patching. With IT departments already stretched thin and legal teams facing tight deadlines, nobody wins.

A cloud solution, however, often requires little-to-no internal IT support. The vendor continuously maintains, updates, and patches the service with minimal downtime or user interruption, making it more reliably accessible. Your IT team saves time and resources and the legal team regains control over litigation response and strategy.

Lower costs, more flexibility

Traditional legal solutions require a big upfront investment in equipment that starts depreciating as soon as you switch it on. If your needs grow, you’ll shell out even more for hardware. Then there are the regular — and costly — software upgrades and security fixes. With ZDiscovery, for example, you simply pay an annual subscription for software that is always the latest and greatest. You pay only for what you need, and can easily scale up your plan if litigation volumes increase. Teams that adopt Zapproved can reduce their costs by more than 65%.

Some companies believe they can build bespoke software themselves that fits their particular needs better and more cheaply. This is almost certainly not the case. It’s common to see these projects balloon into massive headaches that end up costing more than just buying an off-the-shelf solution. With the cloud, you don’t have to go all-in on a wholesale replacement of your existing systems. Start with what you know your team can handle, such as automating a time-consuming manual process, and expanding as your team and budget allow.

More peace of mind

On-prem systems mean backups must be carefully maintained in case of a failure or breach. This often requires hiring information security experts. With COVID-19 turbocharging digital transformation, demand for those roles has skyrocketed. Meanwhile, law firms and other professional services are the top targets for ransomware attacks, which means they had better be taking all necessary steps to prepare for an attempted data breach.

A cloud solution lets you share information with outside counsel while giving you complete control. The biggest cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud provide foundational technologies for various types of business software, allowing them to benefit from their world-class standards of privacy and data security. Zapproved’s additional security architecture layers on top of that and achieves the gold standard certification for security audits, known as AICPA SOC II, Type II. That certification means you can securely access your data through a web browser or dedicated app from any device with an authorized internet connection.

Software that just works, from anywhere

End users don’t care about technical distinctions like on-prem versus cloud. They just want tools that make their jobs easier. They want to be able to work anywhere, across devices. On-prem systems must be accessed at the physical location where the hardware is located. That approach works during normal times, but is a severe liability during events such as a pandemic, natural disaster, or other disruption. With the cloud, you can work from anywhere, and security and collaboration is built in.

It is said that change happens when the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change. Take a good look at the IT burden, cost, and risk of your traditional legal software and see if it’s time to make a change. To learn more about how the cloud can solve those pain points, check out this new webinar or these other resources.


Jennifer (Bantelman) Courchaine

Jennifer (Bantelman) Courchaine is a technologist focused on strategy, customer experience, workflow, and process improvement in legal tech. She has worked in software and technology for over 15 years, is a Certified e-Discovery Specialist, and holds an M.A. in Strategic Communication. She is currently Vice President of Customer Experience and Thought Leadership at Zapproved, where she ensures customers receive world class support and services, and that product feature functionality and technical capabilities are designed and implemented in ways that solve real world problems. Jennifer is a speaker and content contributor on a variety of technology, data preservation and ediscovery issues, and is the Co-Chair of the PREX Conference.

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