As the cloud computing market continues to expand, more law firms are turning to a cloud service provider for some or all of their IT needs. By partnering with a cloud service provider, law firms can realize many benefits, including increased cybersecurity, seamless access to systems from multiple locations, scalability, lower and more predictable costs, and access to a wide range of professional IT expertise. But for many law firms, switching their files, data, and applications from on-premises systems to a cloud hosted by a third-party provider may feel like a daunting task. Below is a roadmap for ensuring a seamless transition.
Find the Right Cloud Service Partner
A successful migration to the cloud begins with partnering with the right cloud service provider. When vetting providers, find out if they have a focus on serving law firms, which will ensure they have deep expertise in industry-specific solutions, security, and compliance needs. Further, look for a provider that has served firms of similar size and scope to yours. Your initial meetings with the providers should give you a feel for the depth and breadth of the services they offer and an idea of what it would be like to work with them. Do the providers ask questions that demonstrate an interest in understanding your business and your goals, so that they can provide strategic solutions to help you meet your objectives? You will also want to inquire about the cloud providers’ security practices and the measures they will take to keep your data safe and up to date. Do the providers offer 24/7/365 monitoring to identify potential cyber threats? To get the most out of the relationship, it’s important that you find the provider likable, approachable, and responsive to your needs. Ask for client references and check them before making your choice.
Create a Migration Plan
A good cloud provider can strategize with you about which cloud-based solutions are most suitable for your firm and how they will interact with your existing applications and infrastructure. They will work closely with your firm to develop a cloud migration plan, which includes a roadmap and detailed timeline for which data, applications, and files will be moved to the cloud, how these migrations will be prioritized, and when and how the transfers will take place. To ensure everything is set on your end, it’s important to involve various stakeholders from your firm to work with the cloud service provider on the data migration planning process. The plan should include details on which end-user training will be needed as a result of the migration and when it will be provided.
Perform a Test Run
Prior to migrating your applications to the cloud, it’s advisable that you work with your provider to do a trial run in a test environment. This will allow the IT professionals to gauge how your applications function on the cloud relative to how they performed in your on-premises system. It is also vital to ensure all integrations work optimally and necessary data is accessible the way it was before. By examining metrics such as application response times on different devices during peak and off-peak hours, the IT professionals can identify and remediate potential issues prior to migration and optimize the system to fit your needs.
Migrate Data and Applications
Before moving data and applications to the cloud, inform all stakeholders about the plan so they know what to expect. As a precaution, back up on-premise servers and data to multiple cloud locations before beginning the migration process. Data and applications should then be carefully migrated to the cloud, with tests built in to check for glitches at each juncture of the process. At the end of the migration, thorough evaluations should be performed to ensure each application has full functionality in the cloud platform and that all of your firm’s data and files are present.
Monitor the System
Once everything goes live, a good cloud service provider will monitor your network to pinpoint and mitigate any issues that may surface. Your firm should also have a system in place by which you track and report any questions or problems to the cloud provider that may arise on your end. Open communication between you and your cloud service provider will help ensure that your system functions optimally and supports your firm’s objectives.
Tabush Group is a leading provider of Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and Managed IT services and a strategic IT partner for small and midsize law firms. To learn more about how our state-of-the-art IT solutions can make your firm’s operations more efficient and secure, contact us.