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Top 10 questions for Managed IT Services for Law Firms

In today’s challenging market, law firms are faced with an array of technical options and cyber security however here are the top 10 questions for managed IT services for law firms.

To find managed IT services for law firms who satisfies both business needs and professional obligations, a law firm must do their due diligence no matter if a private IT consulting firm or a public providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Law firms have a high risk and can suffer disastrous consequences from the “one-size-fits-all” approach to managed IT services and cloud services. The select managed IT services for law firms must be knowledgeable about the law firms professional needs around technology.

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To assist in selecting a managed IT services for law firms, here are the top 10 essential questions:

  1. HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE WITH MANAGED IT SERVICES FOR LAW FIRMS?

Managed IT services providers are now adding cloud IT services to their suite of services.  The law firm needs to know how long the managed IT services provider has been providing their managed services and cloud services solution. They also need to know how many clients they have under management, what certifications, and certified training. This will indicate how much of the business is dedicated to their managed IT services.

  1. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED WITH PROVIDING MANAGED IT SERVICES FOR LAW FIRMS?

Law firms need to ensure they work with a managed IT services provider that is legal-specific since their IT needs differ from other professional organizations.  They need to ensure their IT consulting and technical support solution is compatible with the law firms legal software.  You also need to check references as well as relationships with their software vendors. Law firms need a managed IT services provider and cloud services provider who understands their processes, procedures, and cyber security. The volume of incoming and outgoing documents in litigation firms is exceptionally high.  Managed IT service providers that do not have experience cannot offer the scanning and indexing capabilities of management software like Primafact. These needs must be anticipated by the provider.

  1. HOW WILL MANAGED IT SERVICES SECURE THE LAW FIRMS DATA?

Only a professional Canadian data centres meet the strict requirements of law societies and cyber security insurers.  There are features that cannot be provided by office-based server rooms unless there is a very high IT budget such as biometric access controls, fire suppression, air cooling, and unlimited backup power. The managed IT services for law firms provider will be able to provide centrally managed next-generation antivirus with artificial intelligence, regular patching, endpoint management, firewall management, and mobile device management.  They should also ensure that all your data is in transit encrypted.  All organizations need to ensure that remote access be on and configured with two-factor authentication.

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  1. WHERE WILL THE MANAGED IT SERVICES HOST THE LAW FIRMS DATA?

Law firms that use foreign-based servers should be cautious.  It is highly recommended that all data be entirely hosted in Canada.  This would avoid jurisdictional issues associated with privacy and access.  The law firm would need to understand how it would be able to access their data, how quickly can the access their data, and in what format.

  1. WHO WILL LEGALLY OWN THE CLOUD EQUIPMENT FOR THE LAW FIRM?

Private cloud services are very expensive and difficult to maintain. Many managed IT services providers and cloud services providers rent servers from third parties to minimize their IT investment. The customer can benefit from this cost savings, but it can create problems with access, control, cyber security, and accountability for system performance. Owning and operating their own equipment allows cloud services providers to be responsive 24/7 as well as complete control of the IT infrastructure.  This gives a clear line of responsibility.

  1. HOW DOES THE MANAGED IT SERVICES PROVIDER KNOW THE SOLUTION IS RELIABLE?

Cloud IT services providers and managed IT services providers that understand a law firms unique IT requirements are a good starting point.  The law firm will need to ensure that their law firm practice will not be interrupted by the technology and managed of the IT infrastructure.  Law firms should look at a redundant server or redundant solution that will immediately take over a malfunctioning servers workload therefore preventing a major disruption. There is no reason why a managed IT services provider or cloud services provider should fail to provide multilevel redundancy solution.

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  1. WHAT IS THE BACKUP PROTOCOL FOR THE MANAGED IT SERVICES PROVIDER?

In the event of complete system failure, the law firms data should be stored in more than one location and incremental backups should be kept.  There should be levels of backups at another secondary location.  The managed IT services provider must test the backup process end-to-end regularly as well as ensure compliance with the law society and applicable privacy laws.

  1. DOES THE MANAGED IT SERVICES FOR LAW FIRMS? OFFER 24/7/365 TECHNICAL SUPPORT?

Support and responsiveness are essential when outsourcing your IT to a managed IT services provider for law firms. For busy law firms, the usually operate outside the managed services providers regular hours. There should be a clear response protocol for afterhours technical support services. Providing technical support services for legal software is also a priority resulting in working with vendors as easy.

  1. WHAT IS THE COST FOR MANAGED IT SERVICES FOR LAW FIRMS?

As your law firm no longer needs to purchase or maintain central equipment and operating software, cloud IT services eliminates capital expenditures. Cloud IT services providers provide the firm with a predictable monthly fee that covers their equipment, management, and customer service. Poor planning and communication by the managed IT services provider can result in unexpected costs. For law firms, a “one-size-fits-all” approach can be very expensive and cause major cyber security issues. When you deal with a managed IT services provider who specializes in legal IT, they can provide an accurate quote based on the appropriate resources for your law firm. It is important for the managed IT services provider to have a comprehensive migration and implementation plan in place to avoid incurring additional costs.  The law firm need to ensure that the cloud services model offers elasticity resulting in the law firm being able to scale up or down their IT resources easily.

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  1. WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF SERVICE FOR MANAGED IT SERVICES FOR LAW FIRMS?

When you sign a service agreement with a cloud services provider or managed IT services provider, you need to have a full understanding of what is included.

  • Unlimited remote help desk support services
  • Virtual desktop environment for users
  • Cloud servers, email servers, SQL servers, networking equipment, operating software, etc.
  • Professional management including IT planning, system maintenance, upgrades, patching and monitoring
  • Data backups including regular testing
  • Help desk support with an afterhours number

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