When people think about “moving to the cloud” and “going virtual,” they are most often just thinking about cloud storage. They are moving their documents to an Internet storage facility, so that they can access them from anywhere. Although this is an important part of being virtual, it is not the only one, and should be considered part of a larger strategy.
Going virtual can save you time, money, and create efficiencies. It further advances your goal of getting control of your time, your practice, and your income, so that you can make a good living and still have time for family and enjoying life! For this reason you need to give this move careful thought and strategic in how you do it.
Who Are the Major Cloud Storage Players?
There are many different cloud storage vendors out there that will provide this service, but bear in mind that your storage solution has to be a part of your overall virtual strategy; it has to be part of a system. It also has to meet the requirements of the ethics rules. The following are the major players in the cloud storage space:
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Google Drive
- Apple iCloud
But how would they function as part of a system? How easily will they integrate into the applications you use and other cloud platforms you may already have?
The first two have their own overall business platforms (Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, respectively) and the third does have its own suite of productivity apps through the iWork platform. Dropbox, however, just stores your data. It has a lot of features that may be useful for you, so just don’t write it off. But you will have to come up with your own system for using it with other apps, such as case management.
Choosing an Office Platform
The overall office platform you use for creating and editing documents must work hand in glove with your cloud storage. This decision may already have been made for you. If you already use Word and Excel extensively, then there’s Microsoft 365. If you are an Apple shop, already familiar with the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps, then iWork would be better. The same is true of Google, if you have been using Workspace up until now.
Another thing to bear in mind is that we work within a profession/industry that has, as a practical matter, standardized on Microsoft Word and Excel (although there are still some WordPerfect holdouts). If you are going to be sending and receiving documents with other attorneys, you’re most likely stuck with the Microsoft platform. If you work in tech where a lot of your clients are Apple shops, then the iWorks suite may work for you. the same is true for Google.
The key element here is that you settle on a cloud solution that mirrors your practice in the virtual world. It must house all of your documents and make them accessible from anywhere, facilitate communication amongst the people in your firm, as well as your clients and opposing counsel, and make sure all of it is secure and confidential.
If you are not already committed to one, then Google around for comparison articles and familiarize yourself with the pros and cons. I could do it here, but these services evolve and change, as features and interfaces change. Besides, what’s right for you may well not be what’s right for me, so . . . .
Need a Helping Hand?
Becoming a virtual law practice is a big step, and will be transformative in how you do business in the future. This isn’t something you should rush into. If you’re not clear on where to start or how to formulate an effective strategy to doing this, I can help! Just give me a call at 856-345-9699 for a no obligation consult to discuss your situation. I may well be able to assist you in mapping out a path to a virtual practice that will make you more effective, efficient, and profitable going forward.
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