What Should You Know Before Moving to the Cloud? (5 Key Platform Insights!)
Is moving to the cloud on your company’s radar? Here are the key benefits you can expect to see in security, scalability, and performance.
Organizations have fought hard over the last few years to ensure business continuity amid massive change. Take remote work, for example; a recent GC survey conducted by AdvancedLaw found that over 60% of GCs foresee a hybrid work model as the going-forward strategy in most departments. And following the great work model migration, a second movement has begun— the transition to the cloud.
These two changes are interrelated; with more employees working from home than ever before comes an increased need to make data available anytime, anywhere. That’s a call to action that the cloud can boldly respond to.
First thing’s first: Finding the right cloud-based partner
The number one mistake in cloud migrations, according to Tony Saldanha, Founder and CEO of digital consultancy Transformant, is that organizations focus on the cloud as the objective, “as opposed to the business benefits that cloud enables.” Leaders should remember that “there needs to be a business strategy first so you can rearchitect processes to take advantage of cloud benefits.” Moving to the cloud is not an “if you build it, they will come” kind of plan— there must be sub plans and supra plans to ensure that your mature business leverages cloud computing and pushes its smaller units towards the same goals.
That’s where finding a right-sized, past-proven, and cloud-driven partner comes in. There are four main reasons that organizations might prioritize a cloud computing or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform over an on-premise solution, especially when considering tools for matter management, contract management, and more. So, before you get lost in the weeds or stuck in the clouds, let’s dive into the key benefits of a cloud-based approach (and how focusing on them can help you plan a move to the cloud that is smart, effective, and future-proofed!)
KPMG anticipates that by moving some or all of the IT infrastructure budget away from on-premise solutions and towards the cloud, companies will save 10-20% of their annual IT budget. Why? Well, for one thing, companies have to buy and maintain their own servers with on-premise solutions, meaning that maintenance and costly updates fall on the shoulders of your in-house IT teams.
With cloud computing, however, you outsource the time, labor, and costs associated with hosting your cloud data. It’s the “right-sized” approach: organizations can expand or decrease their usage on the fly, without needing to estimate in advance how much they will need. Plus, companies save by only paying for needed space or infrastructure— there’s no need to worry about extra bells, whistles, or fees with the right cloud-based platform.
Keeping data in the cloud can help businesses turn on a dime to respond to major organizational changes and updates. In a recent report by the Harvard Business Review, companies that had cloud computing systems in place during the pandemic were shown to “adjust and pivot to the new reality faster than others.” That can be partially attributed to the automatic system back-ups and secure document storage offered by cloud computing to ensure data integrity and drive compliance.
With a cloud-based partner, businesses can trust that they will be able to proceed as usual even in times of crisis: employees will be able to do their jobs even if they are not on premise, whether they are working from home on account of a pandemic, or need access during a power outage or another unexpected situation. And if something goes wrong with the data itself, the cloud has fail-safes built into it. In an article for Law Technology Today, cloud computing expert Dante Orsini writes that with cloud computing, “Data, applications, even entire data centers can be restored in minutes from the cloud, eliminating the need to build and maintain secondary data centers for disaster recovery.”
While data security is often mentioned as a reason not to transition to the cloud, experts agree that moving to the cloud is often more secure than keeping data on premise. Yugal Joshi, Vice President of digital, cloud, and application services for Everest Group, explains that while every cloud strategy should be vetted for risk and security issues, vendors should be able to accommodate the “specific security protocols or data encryption” that businesses require without much hassle. For example, it’s important for a platform to offer secure encryption from any mobile or desktop device, backed by key security protocols like:
Once data is in the cloud, companies find it much easier to implement risk and compliance policies and set up guardrails.
Closely related to #1 (cost optimization), moving to the cloud makes it easy to scale– just about everything. If you need more space for data storage, you can increase this without needing to upgrade your system or infrastructure. But even more than this, as your organization grows, cloud-based applications can easily scale along with you. Adding new users to a platform does not require any updates to the application itself. You can grow at your own pace, only paying for the users or space that you need, and adjusting as needed along the way.
Optimizing AI and Machine Learning when moving to the cloud
Just as Justin Silverman predicted in his 2022 Legal Trends and Predictions Outlook, AI and machine learning are not only buzzwords, but realities on the roadmaps of many competitors (if they have not already been implemented, that is!). As more teams turn to AI-driven analytics to ensure data accuracy and mitigate risk, organizations are realizing that they will need to leverage these technologies in order to stay competitive.
In a recent HBR survey, two thirds of respondents said that machine learning would be the most important emerging technology to their organization, more than half selected “internet of things” and 41% said deep learning. These emerging technologies depend on cloud capabilities, and so companies must begin thinking not only about the technologies themselves, but about the cloud infrastructure that they are built upon. It’s critical to look for a partner that can deliver:
- Analytics that are easy to understand for actionable and reliable business intelligence
- A simple, user-friendly interface with customizable features
- Centralized support from subject matter experts for contextual accuracy
This way, companies can reap the benefits of cloud computing— low installation costs, automatic updates, etc.— while also entering into a larger partnership that can scale and evolve to meet the unique goals and objectives on their roadmaps.