How Your Law Firm Can Get the Most out of Microsoft 365: Step One

Posted on December 1, 2020 by Keith Vallely


For most modern law firms and corporate legal departments, access to critical information can determine the success or failure of a project or a matter.  The relevant information regarding a case needs to be available to the key knowledge workers on the matter, whether they are at home, on the road, or in the office.  It also needs to be easy to access, and totally secure.  And it would be great if the worker could access those files from any device, computer desktop or mobile.  Law firms face tough security requirements by way of their chosen profession, as well as from compliance laws and security standards driven by their clients. Law firms also need to be more cognizant of their technology expenses as profitability during challenging times such as these can turn quickly. Many institutions, including law firms, are finding that overlapping technology spending is no longer a luxury worth affording.  Microsoft 365 has crystallized these challenges by making it easier to choose a single platform to resolve all these challenging issues, and lower technology infrastructure costs at the same time.  Firms are finding it harder to justify the spend, and more difficult to maintain and support multiple tech solutions for interrelated tech functionality.  Law Firms are now starting to realize that the cloud as an infrastructure solution, especially as provided by Microsoft is the future.  The question for most firms is no longer if they will utilize Microsoft 365, but how much of it will they utilize?

The First Step – Microsoft Exchange (Email)

In 2017, when Office 365 was exploding, and the largest corporations were moving in en masse to it, law firms took a more conservative ‘wait and see’ attitude towards the platform.  By 2018, the debates surrounding the security of the Microsoft Cloud had given way to the rush of firms dumping ‘in house’ Microsoft Exchange servers for Microsoft 365 Exchange Online.  The benefits were immediate and immense.  No more hard drives that are filled up, no more updates, no more expensive hardware, and finally, no more IT maintenance.  Less work, less cost, and more reliability without any change to how users work, was the value proposition.  Nearly every firm we talk to has Exchange Online now.  I cannot recall the last time I spoke to a firm that did not. What this means is that the fundamental big picture question of dloud based security in general had been answered.  The cloud was secure.  And henceforth, the issue of Cloud Security was in the rear-view mirror because once your email is in the cloud, so are your documents, as most documents are now emailed.

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Keith Vallely has been with Epona since 2011, when he joined as director of sales. Established in 1993, Epona is a leading software consulting and productions company operating out of Rotterdam, Düsseldorf and New York.

This is the first part of a four part series.  A version of this article was previously published in the Legal IT Insider and can be read here.

 


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