A law firm's IT landscape is made of dozens of individual and interwoven components. There's your physical network made up of employee work stations, routers, gateways, servers, and cables.
Then there's the network infrastructure and it's configuration to ensure that everyone gets the right packets. This is followed by the individual software and platform installations on each machine and shared by networked servers and, finally, there is the entire purpose of the network: the documents you work with every day.
To keep this IT infrastructure safe, backups are an essential part of the procedure, especially for protecting the unique configuration that keeps everything working properly. However, the same solution isn't always right for the entire system. While the office network infrastructure could be completely redesigned, your law office documents will still need to be organised, accessible, and protected from anything that could go wrong with the local system. Rather than backups with their inherent vulnerabilities, the documents themselves are much safer stored, organised, and managed on the cloud.
Here are the top 5 reasons why a cloud-based document management system (DMS) is the superior way to protect your documents.
1) A DMS Doesn't Need Upkeep
Backups are static files. They are made at a single point in time and require careful versioning to keep track of changes. Of course, a law office doesn't stop moving when a backup is taken, it continues making new documents, referencing and editing old ones, and adding documents to individual files. A backup, once taken, is already out of date by the next day and any new information will be lost if a disaster happens after that point.
A DMS, on the other hand, is a dynamic document management solution that remains online and backs up itself every time a document is changed. Rather than having to use resources on regular backups and updating old backups, you can count on a DMS to always have a saved copy of all your documents including the most recently created or edited ones available at any moment. A DMS even includes version management so you can check older versions of your documents, freeing you from the hassle of searching for the right backup to restore.
2) Backups Can Get Corrupted
One of the inherent weaknesses of a backup is that it is essentially a compressed file, and compressed files can spontaneously corrupt. Often, it's not the fault of the admin or even the software, or if it is, even a very small glitch can cause a backup to pack or unpack incorrectly and destroy the usefulness of the data within. When this happens, you may lose your most recent and possibly only backup along with all the important documents inside that you probably can't afford to use.
A DMS stores all your documents actively. It manages its own storage capacity so you don't have to worry about compression and the documents are always fully available to access. A DMS doesn't corrupt because it doesn't zip and unzip. The document management system is ready for you to want a file at any time, and is absolutely reliable in keeping your documents safe.
3) A cloud-based DMS has stronger security
Where you store your backups matters a great deal. If they are stored locally, as many businesses do, they are actually in as much danger from attack and disaster as the rest of your infrastructure. Malware and specifically ransomware that might infect your law office system and encrypt or destroy your backups right along with the rest of the system. Power surges that fry computers, floods that destroy them, and simple errors that damage or delete data all put your local backups at risk.
However, storing your documents on a DMS is absolutely safe from local dangers because it's 100% cloud-based. The cloud isn't anywhere in particular, it's everywhere. Most cloud-hosted servers are actually stored and hosted from several different data centres so that if a disaster hits any one or even three locations, your documents will still be safe and sound. Here at LawMaster, we use data centres in Melbourne and Sydney so your data always stays in Australia.
4) Continuity is Better Than Recovery
There are ways to prepare for a technical or natural disaster, business continuity and disaster recovery. Backups are an essential piece of disaster recovery because they can be used to put the information into an empty or recovered computer. Business continuity, on the other hand, is all about not letting the disasters slow your roll. With a cloud-based document management system, you could keep doing what you do even if your office was taken in a cyclone because each and every employee can reach the paperwork and information they need to work from any smartphone or computer with internet access. With a DMS, you could work from a temporary office, the owner's house, or even from a tent with an internet hotspot if you had to. That means zero downtime if you're creative and tenacious.
5) A Cloud-Based DMS is Everywhere
One backup is a single file stored in one location on a computer or server. While it can be cloud-hosted, it would still have to be unpacked into the right operating system with file management software to handle the content. A DMS is not just useful in a disaster, it's useful all the time because you never have to run back to the office for paperwork, and never have to upload the backup to access an old file. With a DMS, employees can access the documents authorised to them from anywhere, even their mobile devices. This means employees in court out of town, or working from home are always in the loop.
While backups are still an important part of maintaining many parts of your IT infrastructure, IT is only a small part of your law office. When it comes to the documents, files, and data needed to keep your law office running no matter where you wind up, a document management system can serve you efficiently during normal office activities and unlike a backup, won't falter come malware or cyclones. With a DMS, your day to day office life will become smoother as even paper documents are quickly and easily added and organised in cloud storage for anything you 'might need backups for' in the future, DMS can do it better, faster, and more conveniently.
To learn more about LawMaster's Document Management System Contact us today.