9 Ways to Use the Cloud to Work More Productively and Efficiently
One of the biggest benefits for law firms in using the cloud (i.e., a network of remote servers owned and managed by a third-party) is it enables them to store and access their applications and data over the internet via a monthly subscription, instead of having to buy and manage their own computer equipment in-house. But there are a lot of benefits for their employees, too, including the ability to:
- Take Their Law Office With Them Wherever They Go. Unlike traditional IT infrastructures which require a law firm’s employees to physically be in the office to do their work or dial in to the firm’s network using a virtual private network or terminal service, the cloud enables employees to work anytime, anywhere, and on any device. If needed, they can even start working on one device and switch to a different device mid-stream.
- Collaborate With Others in Real-Time. At some point, most law firms need to collaborate on legal documents with multiple people across the country or around the world. Instead of having to email everyone a copy of a document to review, have them download the attachment, make edits, and send it back (leaving the law firm to merge all the changes together), a law firm’s employees can simply use the cloud to share a single workspace with everyone—regardless of their location. That way, everyone can simultaneously open, work on, and make edits in the same application in real-time, as well as communicate and share files, information, photos, etc., with one another. This saves considerable time and effort when working on documents, and enables everyone to complete projects faster than traditional methods.
- Digitally Access, Store, and Manage Documents, Photos, and More. Most people are familiar with cloud storage providers such as Dropbox or Google Drive. But what many law firms and their employees don’t know or realize is the more places they store documents and data, the harder it is to protect and secure them. Fortunately, the cloud provides law firms and their employees with a single, central, and secure location to digitally access, store, and manage all their documents and data, including large files (such as audio, video, and others, which would otherwise take up a lot of valuable space on a desktop computer or mobile device). More importantly, employees never have to download documents to several different devices, replicate them, and try to keep all the data in them up to date, which can be time consuming and create security issues.
- E-file Documents. A law firm’s employees can use the cloud to quickly and easily access legal documents, and upload and submit them online to any court that accepts e-filings.
- Integrate Their Professional Calendars and Tasks. The cloud allows employees to quickly integrate their professional calendars and tasks. Plus, since many calendar applications sync with the cloud, employees can input information on one device, and access the same information on a different device. This helps employees keep track of important court dates and filing deadlines, and quickly see, at a glance, what needs to get done and by when no matter where they are or on what device they’re working.
- Print Documents. With the cloud, employees can print documents wherever they go. This is because if there’s a printer nearby, the cloud will automatically recognize it and make it an employee’s default printer, so he or she can easily print documents.
- Automatically Backup and Sync Documents and Photos. Whenever a law firm’s employees use the cloud, all their documents and data are automatically backed up daily at an off-site, enterprise-class data center.
- Quickly Recover Their Data, If Needed. If a disaster strikes (such as an employee’s computer crashes, gets stolen, or is destroyed, or there is a flood, fire, theft, etc.), the only thing an employee has to do to get back up and running quickly is get another device and log into the cloud. The reason? All the employee’s applications, documents, and data aren’t stored on the device—they’re stored in the cloud instead (where the employee always has access to the latest version).
- Efficiently Connect to Third-Party Cloud Services. By using AirDesk Legal and the cloud, a law firm’s employees can efficiently and securely connect to and exchange documents and data with third-party cloud systems anytime, anywhere, and from any device. For example, as soon as a lawyer logs into the AirDesk Legal system and opens a browser, he or she can visit third-party websites such as a court house and pull down one or more document into AirDesk. Then, the lawyer can quickly and efficiently send his or her documents to and/or file them with the court through AirDesk. Thanks to this approach, a lawyer’s legal documents only ever pass between the AirDesk cloud and the court house—a lawyer never has to download them to a local desktop computer or mobile device to do that. It also means a law firm’s employees don’t have to worry about whether they’ll have enough bandwidth or not to send a large document or file to a third party.