With more and more chambers and law firms moving their data to the cloud, many are looking for the quickest and safest ways to follow suit. Migration to the cloud need not be an arduous and pain-staking process. However, there are a number of common mistakes that many organisations make during the migration process, from project management to implementation. The first step to successful migration to the cloud is to be aware of the possible downfalls.
Many people see all cloud service providers as being one and the same. But it’s important to be aware of the different features your specific cloud service provider offers. Presuming all clouds are the same can mean you miss key features or areas where extra thought and diligence is required on your part. For example, some service providers will encrypt data during transition, allowing you to have sole access to the encryption key. Others will give the option of encryption once your data has migrated. This is just one way in which clouds can differ, so make sure you know your provider’s features well.
It is often forgotten that clouds are in fact physical data centres, however remote they are from your own organisation. With this in mind, it is quicker and simpler to move large amounts of data over shorter distances, so choose a cloud service provider that is based closer to home. There can also be security implications associated with cloud providers who are based in other countries. This is something that law firms in particular need to be aware of, considering the types of sensitive data they can be responsible for.
Security is always a key issue and there are standards and regulations that need to be met at all times. Migration to the cloud does not mean that you pass responsibility for data security entirely to a third party. You must ensure that the security measures your cloud service vendor has in place are sufficient to meet regulations, and that you are able to fill the gaps where necessary.
Lack of product testing and research can be a common downfall when migrating to the cloud. You need to be sure, for example, of compatibility with applications and good network connections, so always test before you buy.
Migrating to the Cloud – Steps to Take
- Research your cloud service provider – Get to know your provider inside and out, from their user interface to their security features. This is something you would do with any new software or product for your firm, and it must also apply to the cloud.
- Staffing – Migration to the cloud can be a big job, so you need to make sure you have the staff and time available to carry out the process. Law firms are busy places and it may be difficult to set aside staff for a time-consuming process like this, so outsourcing is a good option. Even after migration to the cloud has taken place, staff will be required to monitor cloud deployments, resource usage and application performance. With specialist support, this can prove much simpler and cost-effective.
- Make the move gradually – Migration to the cloud is not usually something that can be done overnight. The best approach is to move data gradually, making sure as you go that everything is working, accessible, and sufficiently secure. Use this opportunity to look closely at all current procedures and security measures, and closely consider the disaster recovery plan. This is an important part of the move to the cloud, since it gives you the chance to discover new alternatives and implement changes where necessary. For example, some features of the cloud could impact how you secure your data or how you access applications. It could also affect the way you share data with other users, and how you manage your resources.
- Consider application compatibility and security – Not all applications should be moved to the cloud. Some because of compatibility issues and some because of security regulations. Before moving anything, make sure you know what should and shouldn’t be moved. Some applications may not work as well in the cloud as they do with the use of an in-house data centre. This is where expert advice and support really comes into its own. They can advise on how well applications work, how secure they are and depending on how much data there is to migrate, whether it would be in your interest to outsource to a specialist IT provider.
Utilising Expert Help For Migration To The Cloud
If your law firm is considering a migration to the cloud, CBSIT offers a specialist cloud service which is specifically aimed at your industry. We have carry out much of the leg-work on your behalf, ensuring that our security features are in keeping with legal requirements. Our cloud service is UK-based, and our services are run by experts in the field, enabling us to provide you with the right people to get the job done. We will also carry out all monitoring duties once your data is securely stored.