Cloud or Web Based? Aren't They the Same Thing? ...

It can be easy to confuse "cloud services" with "web-based services." Truth is, a "web-based" service is simply accessed through a web browser; which might be a cloud service - or it might be your own server connected to the internet, or even just linked to a desktop.


Web-based interfaces do have the advantage of working well across multiple devices, but they are not the same as cloud services and should not be confused with them. True cloud services are when your data and/or applications are stored on a cloud server that can easily be accessed from multiple locations and devices.

This can be done through a web browser, but commercial cloud services often involve software applications that are outside of the web. In other words, the service looks like the traditional client/server system on your own hardware, but the data is stored securely in the cloud. In recent years it has increased in popularity as a way to run legal software, but some firms are still skeptical of the feasibility or even the possibility of running their legal databases through a cloud service. If you are one of them, then you should think again.

Here are some advantages to moving to a proper cloud service:

1. Scale

Instead of having your own server, you have only the space you need on optimised hardware you share with other law firms. This allows the service to apply economy of scale and significantly reduces infrastructure costs. For all but very large practices it is generally much cheaper to rent space in the cloud.

2. Lower running costs

Not having your own servers means you are not powering those servers. On top of that, you are not spending money, especially in summer, keeping a server room at the optimum temperature. IT infrastructure can have significant cooling costs when face with the summer heat. You may also find you have better use for the space taken up by those servers.

3. Lower IT costs

If you already outsource your IT, you can often reduce or eliminate the cost, or bundle it in with the cloud service (i.e., let them handle tech support). If you have your own IT team, you can reduce the amount of time they spend on server management and free them up for things such as improving your database, helping your employees, and other purposes of more benefit to your firm. You may also be able to downsize the IT team or, if you have "part time" IT (for example, legal secretaries who are doing tech support in addition to other duties) free those people to do their actual jobs.

4. Continuous updates.

Cloud services will update your software incrementally, included with your subscription. This reduces up front costs and also saves time doing major updates. 

5. Peace of mind

Although some people worry about security with cloud services, the fact is that modern cloud services are designed to be very secure. Additionally, the cloud service will keep taking backups - meaning that you won't forget. Because they generally have more than one server, if one server crashes or needs to be taken offline for maintenance, your data can be accessed on another. You might not even notice there was downtime. Also in the event of serious weather, which is a regular occurrence in Australia, you won't have to worry about your servers being destroyed and your data being lost.

If this is not enough to convince you, then check out the success story from Attwood Marshall. You will discover that moving to LawMaster Cloud has allowed them to save money and upgrade to the next level.

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