A Guide to Managed IT Services for Law Firms

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    There are many pressures involved in the legal profession in today’s economic climate. This is especially true when it comes to information technology within the legal industry — it’s constantly evolving, challenging conventional methods and broadening the competitor landscape. You, therefore, need to consider legal IT services in order to drive long-term growth. 

    In order to develop and grow, your law firm should be investing in reliable and efficient IT systems. They need to support the high standards of customer service and a vast range of operational activities. If you’re currently operating with outdated IT, you’re limiting your potential for growth and missing out on advancements in the future.

     

    What is an IT managed service? 

    Managed IT services are where a business, such as a law firm, outsource their technology management and services. It will involve areas such as technical support, security audits, training, virtual CIO services, proactive monitoring and others. When you have an in-house IT service, you’ll often find that you have several different members of staff with various responsibilities and skills. However, they may still not have enough knowledge or capacity to be able to support and provide a 24/7 service, and this is why so many law firms are now looking at managed IT services.

    Additionally, all law firms need to have a proactive approach when it comes to the monitoring of servers, network infrastructure such as firewalls, switches, routers, storage, etc., and workstations. Managed IT services for law firms will invest time and money to help develop technologies, general processes and support for numerous clients. You can even use managed IT services as a way to extend your already existing IT department.

     

    Why do law firms need IT managed services? 

    The need for managed IT services ranges from simple things such as forgotten passwords through to massive data losses and security breaches. When you’re thinking about your law firm, you need to think about partnering with a managed IT service provider who can handle your environment. Some of the areas that highlight the need for law firms to have managed IT services include:

    High downtime

    A red flag should be waving if situations often arise where you experience high levels of downtime. These can involve critical software not responding where users can’t access what they need to complete their work. Consequently, your clients will be directly affected by this and you could lose business!

    Underperforming systems & applications 

    It’s not uncommon for system and applications to underperform or crash, and if you often come across this in your law firm, operations could become interrupted. Managed IT services could help reduce this issue so business can carry on as usual. 

    Availability of IT support

    Law firms don’t always work traditional working hours and it’s known that some attorneys will take work home to get extra hours in. This means that having a 24/7 managed service is essential to in order to keep it running well. 

    Poor IT security

    For a law firm, data protection is vital and one of the most important areas of focus when it comes to IT. They want client data and case information to be kept safe and secure. It can be easy to fall behind with the best ways to do this, especially due to the ever-changing nature of cybersecurity. This is when managed IT services come into play. 

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    The advantages of a managed IT service

    So, it’s clear that law firms need a managed IT service to help prevent any IT issues, but what other advantages do they provide? 

    • Massive savings and predictable budgeting— Outsourcing your IT needs to a managed service can be much more cost-effective than retaining an in-house IT team. Once you make the decision to outsource your firm’s IT to a managed service, you’ll already know what you’re going to be paying and not be expected to pay more for unforeseen circumstances.  
    • All-encompassing expertise — Most in-house IT teams have their limitations and there can often be problems that arise that they’re not trained to deal with. However, using a managed IT service will open you up to a wider range of skilled staff who will be on hand to help sort any issues. 
    • Reliable and qualified technicians — It can take a long time to train a member of staff about the ins and outs of your IT requirements, especially when staff leave. With a managed IT service, you don’t need to put the time aside for training or worry about staff leaving or changing shifts. You’re also guaranteed to be provided with a well-trained, qualified team. 
    • Active IT experience — Because the digital world is forever changing, with new issues arising on a daily basis, a member of staff who has worked in-house may not experience newer issues as often. Therefore, they won’t be able to solve the problem as quickly as using a highly experienced managed IT service for law firms. 

     

    How to choose the right IT managed service provider

    There is a wide range of managed IT services for law firms, all with varying services and costs. You need to understand how a contract is going to work with your firm’s technological and financial needs. 

    There are usually three options for you to choose from: 

    • Bundled services — You choose from a programme or tier that includes all the services you require. You may find that bundled services sometimes include services that you’re never going to use. 
    • A la carte — You get a high level of customisation which allows you to pick and choose specific services. The flexibility is often what draws law firms into using this option. 
    • Fixed price — This is where you receive unlimited support for one fixed price. You may find that there are sometimes limitations to the ‘unlimited’ part, so it’s best to read the small print to find out exactly what’s included. 

    Once you know what sort of managed IT services package you are going to use you need to look more closely at the provider you’re considering. Have a look below at some of the things you should be looking for: 

    Legal industry experience

    You should aim to choose a managed It service provider that has already got experience in the legal industry. They need to understand how a law firm functions in order to be able to support them correctly. Ask for references of previous or current client they’re dealing with. 

    Investment in your success

    You should be getting more than just technical support from any managed It service you’re receiving. They should be invested in your long-term success, and do everything they can to deliver the services you need. 

    Staff and technology

    When choosing a managed IT service, it’s also vital that you consider the technical aptitude of their staff and technologies. You should be looking for software support expertise, technical and vendor certifications, vendor partnerships, monitoring tools, and industry-recognised software. Your provider should be able to provide the complete service that you require. 

     

    Researching the right managed IT services for you

    Finding managed IT services for your firm doesn’t need to be completed. It can be an extremely practical option for any law firm. Outsourcing the majority of your technology management and services — including active monitoring, technical support, security audits, virtual CIO, training and more — could help you to provide high-quality legal services. 

    Do your research before you choose a provider. It’s important for you to find the right tailored solution for you.

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    Troy Platts

    Troy has spent over 20 years helping organisations solve their data, storage and compute conundrums. He is a regular speaker at vendor events and spends any free time he has keeping abreast of advances in data platform technologies. He also makes a mean curry.

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