As we continue to charge headfirst into new technology developments, the demand for technical support continues to increase. The service that IT companies offer to businesses throughout various industries is invaluable. However, is it right for your law firm? Let’s first address what IT professionals do precisely.
What Do IT Companies Do?
IT companies base their work off being knowledgeable about cloud services, electronic hardware, various software, and general computing. Having the assistance of an experienced IT company can prove invaluable in many ways, both with the correction of recurring or interrupting issues and by implementing resolutions to prevent problems. Here’s a look at some of the primary services IT professionals can provide:
- Infrastructure Management - By managing infrastructure, IT technicians ensure that both the structures of a company’s hardware and software are working correctly. They’ll be able to institute software patches when necessary, implement and maintain security features, and coordinate updates required to ensure they don’t cause delays or issues within a company and for its lawyers.
- Network Services - Network services is the management and maintenance of a company’s network. With the support of an IT company, a firm’s network can provide access to data and services throughout the business as necessary. IT professionals will also work to ensure the network is protected from hackers, viruses, and spyware as well as keeping the network operational.
- Help Desk Support - With increased utilization of technology in business comes an uptick in questions. IT companies can help offset some of the frustration employees experience by being available to answer technical questions and offer troubleshooting support. A service like this can be an invaluable time saver for a law firm.
Why Your Legal Firm May Need to Hire IT Support
Not every law firm is going to determine that they require outside professional IT support. The size of the firm, the number of attorneys, the type of software being used, and the kind of clients will have a lot to do with the decision to hire an IT company. That being said, here are some profound reasons many lawyers are choosing to hire IT support currently:
- Protection of Data Leakage - The client information that law firms handle from day to day is sensitive - Legal documents and files must remain safe and secure. With more and more legal firms beginning to utilize cloud services and internet software, they are increasing their risk of encountering a security problem. Unfortunately, hacks and data breaches can happen. When something goes wrong, a law firm is opening itself up to a breach of contract issues and possible legal malpractice suits by clients. By hiring IT support, a law firm can implement secure and robust information and security policies to protect the company and its clients.
- Ransomware Protection - You may have heard of cases recently where a ransomware attack took place on a company. In this case, hackers lock a companies system down and then demand a ransom to turn back over control. If something like this happens, it can literally put your firm’s activities on hold while police are contacted and hopefully the culprits are located. When you hire IT professionals, they can help reduce the risk of a ransomware attack by ensuring the implementation of secure network protection.
- Email Protection - Most law firms and attorneys these days primarily communicate via email, not unlike most companies. This change is wonderful in allowing for quick communication, collaboration, and record-keeping; However, it also opens law firms up to incurring the problem of email phishing or hacked email accounts. When this happens, pertinent information (such as passwords) can be stolen, redirections to phishing sites can occur, and viruses can be downloaded. By ensuring your email service is handled through a protected network run by experienced IT technicians, you can significantly reduce your risk of this happening.
There are other non-security related aspects that law firms hire IT companies for, as well. Take a look at these:
- Increased Productivity - With the help of an IT professional, a law firm can spend less time dealing with computer and software headaches, and more time focusing on work crucial to running the business. Eliminating the worry of constant network and software crashes can go along way in increasing productivity within a company. When employees have dedicated technical support, it can show a sharp uptick in efficiency and decrease in frustration with constant issues.
- Staying Technologically Current - If there’s one truth about technology, it’s that it’s continually evolving and adapting. When a law firm employs the help of an IT company, it can ensure a law firm stays abreast of the latest in technological advancements and availability that can provide valuable solutions. IT professionals are also able to help implement new technology smoothly within a company and swiftly handle any problems that arise.
- Customization - No two law firms are alike. With that being said, utilizing an IT company to develop customized processes and solutions that meet the unique needs of a law firm can be incredibly beneficial. This also comes in handy when new needs arise within a law firm that can have custom solutions developed efficiently and quickly by IT professionals.
- Better Efficiency - The day-to-day of a law firm requires a million legal elements to be done well. When legal professionals are balancing emails, docketing and calendaring, document creation, file sharing, and more, every opportunity to maximize workload must be taken advantage of. With the help of IT professionals, they can ensure the proper tools are given and available to legal professionals so they can handle their client caseloads quickly and efficiently.
- Better Client Experience - The experience clients have with a law firm can determine future business and referrals. When legal professionals can offer better client communication and perform actions smoothly through well-supported IT, it can make all the difference.
How to Locate the Right IT Company to Support Lawyers
When a law firm decides to hire an IT company, it’s essential that the right one is brought on board; Otherwise, the decision can prove less helpful than desired. Here are some tips for locating and choosing the right technician to support your firm's legal technology:
- Experience in Your Industry - Hiring a professional IT company that has previous experience in the legal industry can be a big plus. Experienced technicians will already have insight into solutions other law firms are implementing and be able to present quick and effective resolutions and upgrades.
- Certifications - A reputable IT company will have industry certifications available to demonstrate their commitment to excellent support and service.
- Experience with Legal Software - It’s always a good thing when an IT technician doesn’t need to go through a learning curve to get familiar with the necessary software. Legal firms and attorneys should look for experience in the software they use when choosing which IT company to work with.
As shown above, when law firms hire IT companies it can be very beneficial in providing optimal security protection and technological solutions; However, it may not always be the right decision to add the overhead of hiring IT support. The size of the law firm and the number of employees will heavily factor in the IT decisions. Law firms will need to weigh risk and outcome vs. cost when determining whether or not to hire the services of a professional IT company.
- Jobs.Net, The IT Department: What they Do vs. What Everyone Thinks They Do
- ITandRoids, Reasons Why Every Company Needs a Strong IT Department
- SocialHunt, Why It’s Important for Businesses to Have an IT Department
- Blue Fox Group, 7 Reasons Why Every Company Needs IT Support
- Law Technology Today, Four Biggest Cybersecurity Risks Law Firms are Currently Facing
- Etech7, What Exactly Does an IT Support Company Do?