Connect with us


Cloud Computing and Lawyers: What Attorneys Need to Know – ReadWrite



Frank Landman

With all of the strict laws and compliance requirements that exist in the industry, running a law firm can often feel like a walk on a tightrope. But with cloud computing, new opportunities are providing new freedoms.

When used strategically, they can totally change the game.

A Primer on Cloud Computing

The innovation and evolution of cloud computing has been one of the single-most transformative technologies of the century. It’s revolutionized every industry on the planet, including both product-based businesses and service professionals.

As a lawyer, you don’t have to be a cloud computing expert. You do, however, need to possess a baseline understanding of what it is and why it matters. This will allow you to maximize the use of cloud technology within your firm and enjoy the many benefits that stem from an investment in this area.

According to Microsoft Azure, a leader in this industry, “Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (‘the cloud’) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.”

For lawyers and their firms, the biggest benefits of cloud computing include:

  • Low cost. Cloud computing requires far less overhead. This makes it a much more cost-effective option for law firms that want to enjoy greater efficiency at a fraction of the cost. There’s no need for expensive hardware, software, or on-site servers. Everything is managed online and paid for through a simple, predictable monthly fee.
  • Scalability. With cloud computing, you never have to worry about your expenses and hardware investments outpacing your growth. You can scale elastically and enjoy greater cost-savings as you grow. (You can also scale back down, should circumstances require you to become smaller for a period of time.)
  • Improved performance. By investing in the cloud, you instantly gain access to a massive network of the world’s top data centers and advanced technology. This gives you increased performance (without having to invest in the newest software or hardware on your own).
  • Greater security. Cybersecurity is extremely important in today’s digital world. When you invest in cloud computing, you gain access to superior security that keeps your client’s sensitive data out of the wrong hands.
  • Faster speeds. Nothing is more frustrating than slow page loading speeds, lagging applications, and glitchy interfaces. Cloud computing provides self-service and on-demand services, which allows law firms to navigate millions of data points in a matter of just a few clicks.
  • Enhanced reliability. At the end of the day, your firm needs a digital platform that you can trust. Cloud computing platforms have robust disaster recovery systems and data backup solutions that make business continuity less expensive and time-consuming. The result is far greater peace of mind.

When you combine all of these benefits, it’s easy to make a case for cloud computing. And while the legal industry is certainly lagging in cloud adoption, you’re probably more familiar with cloud computing than you realize.

For example, if you use a resource like LexisNexis or Westlaw for legal research, you’re an active user of a cloud service. Similarly, if you use a mainstream email platform like Yahoo or Gmail, you’re using a cloud service. Wikipedia, Spotify, YouTube…these are all cloud services.

Whether you realize it or not, much of your online activity is already rooted in the cloud. And by being more intentional about how you leverage cloud computing in your own practice, you can enjoy a multitude of benefits (like the ones highlighted above).

How the Cloud Impacts Attorneys

By and large, the legal services industry is trailing behind most other industries in cloud adoption. According to the latest 2020 survey from the American Bar Association (ABA), 66 percent of firms with 500+ lawyers, 65 percent of firms with 50-99 lawyers, and 52 percent of solo practices are using cloud solutions.

Confidentiality and security issues are the major concerns for attorneys who are slow to adopt. Other common points of contention include the perceived loss of control over data, the cost of switching, and unfamiliarity with the technology.

As you consider growing your own firm’s dependence on the cloud in the coming months, here are some different factors to consider:

1. It’s Time to Trust the Cloud

When it comes to attorneys who are hesitant to invest in cloud computing, reliability and security are always chief concerns. But is this an overblown issue?

“Lawyers have always entrusted confidential data to third parties, including process servers, court employees, building cleaning crews, summer interns, document processing companies, external copy centers, and legal document delivery services,” Nicki Black writes for “Absolute security has never been required in these situations because absolute security is an impossibility. Rather, due diligence requires that you take reasonable steps to ensure that confidential client data remains safe and secure. Cloud computing is no different.”

Now is the time for our industry to get over the perceived lack of reliability and come to grips with the fact that the cloud is by far the best solution for keeping data safe (particularly data at rest).

Think of it like this: When you store sensitive data on your own servers and computers, you’re 100 percent responsible for updating your devices, installing new software versions, patching vulnerabilities, and ensuring all accounts are properly protected. When you move to the cloud, the bulk of this responsibility shifts to the cloud provider. This frees you up to spend more time focusing on serving your clients (rather than wasting energy on administrative tasks).

Having said that, the cloud does have its own unique set of challenges. Depending on the cloud provider you choose, there’s always the risk of temporarily losing access to your data. And, for better or worse, your entire security strategy is only as good as the security of the cloud provider. You’ll need to carefully negotiate an agreement that protects you and your clients in a worst-case scenario.

2. Use the Cloud to Enhance Collaboration

One of the cloud’s best features is the flexibility it gives firms to work remotely and collaborate efficiently regardless of geography. Using cloud computing, many firms have been able to scale and expand with less friction than ever before. Sibley Dolman Gipe, for example, now has ten offices spread throughout the entire state of Florida.

With locations in Clearwater, Boca Raton, Doral, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, New Port Richey, St. Petersburg, North Miami, and Sarasota, Sibley Dolman Gipe has branded itself as “Florida’s nationwide personal injury law firm” – and cloud computing plays a major role in this evolution.

Like other law firms that have expanded from a single location to multiple locations, cloud computing has served as the backbone for this growth. In particular, it allows for effective team collaboration, remote team members, smart calendaring, virtual meetings, and centralized file storage.

One of the more noteworthy developments with remote cloud solutions is the rise of location independence for legal staff. It’s no longer necessary to hire in-person administrative staff members, who can be expensive and resource-intensive.

For the first time ever, firms can hire virtual assistant and other independent contractors to save time and money.

3. Reduce Stress With the Cloud

With so many strict requirements, regulations, and stipulations on what data lawyers can collect, when it can be accessed, and how it can be stored, many law firms and attorneys lose sleep over their tech stacks. And while the cloud is far from perfect, it goes a long way toward reducing stress.

For one, the cloud removes a single point of failure (which exists when data is stored via an on-premise solution, like a local computer). It mitigates risk by spreading data out across multiple systems. Furthermore, the virtualization of your data gives you the ability to revert back to a previous point (in the event of a crash or other compromising event).

Secondly, the cloud eliminates many of the IT server headaches that command so much of a law firm’s time and internal resources.

“Even at a small firm, you need a server that securely and reliably hosts software. However, any physical server requires maintenance to keep it running and must be fixed when it breaks,” ABA mentions. “The private cloud is the server and includes updates, maintenance, and repair as part of the contracted service, which means you don’t have to buy or manage servers.”

The Future of Law

It’s hard to know where the industry is going for sure, but the cloud will certainly play a key role in its next interaction and evolution. And though it’s been around for more than a decade, 2021 will be the year that thousands of firms take the first step toward being fully reliant on cloud computing to manage their firms, store their data, and serve their clients.

While there will certainly be friction, there will also be plenty of benefits. When it’s all said and done, the cloud produces a net gain for proactive law firms.

Frank Landman

Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business.


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

Continue Reading


Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

Continue Reading


UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2021 Seminole Press.