For many organizations, 2020 was an enormous catalyst for digital transformation. What normally would have taken several years was compressed into just a few months. Many planned priorities had to be fast-tracked, modified or even abandoned as the realities of remote work forced companies to reevaluate their needs to maintain security and employee experience.
As these initiatives inevitably shifted, IT leaders in the legal sector were faced with issues common to many industries – the need to balance cloud migration, implementation of SASE and zero trust, Microsoft365 adoption, the deployment of more suitable communication and collaboration tools, beefed-up security solutions and more.
Office workers v distributed workers
A perennial challenge for IT leaders has always been the very real gap between the work experience enjoyed by office workers and their remote or mobile counterparts. The last year has proven that distributed workforces across every sector must have secure, reliable access to the same tools and support that desk-bound workers take for granted.
The big difference is that IT teams have always had better visibility, better diagnostics, and better security in place within their brick-and-mortar locations than they’ve been able to offer their distributed workers. When working remote became the norm rather than the exception, IT teams naturally had to scramble to ensure that security and employee productivity didn’t become mutually exclusive.
NetMotion in the legal sector
NetMotion provides an encrypted, persistent connection that can easily be deployed to fee earners, senior partners and all firm employees to ensure a reliable, productive and secure work experience from anywhere. In just the past year alone, the NetMotion platform has been adopted by some of the industry’s most well-known law firms, including Linklaters, a Magic Circle firm, Osborne Clarke, Taylor Vinters, Roythornes & Luther Law.
“The pandemic has seen our business within the legal sector grow exponentially in the last 12 months. As working patterns have shifted, NetMotion’s zero trust-based platform has become even more important to firms wanting to make a seamless transition to remote working. Even before the pandemic, firms with fee earners who frequently worked remote or regularly travelled recognised the benefits of deploying a solution that provided secure access and a user experience that matched the office. Now, that shift has accelerated exponentially.”Achi Lewis, EMEA Director, NetMotion
Fortunately for Muckle LLP employees, the firm was in a good position to navigate the very sudden needs of distributed working more effectively than others.
Having been at Muckle for over 20 years, the firm’s IT director, Andrew Black, has witnessed a huge technology change. The investments made in secure remote access technologies such as NetMotion were instrumental in helping the company decamp from the office on relatively short notice.
“We used to encourage people to work in the coffee shop or at home, but that went from about 15 or 20 people to be in 115 people overnight. The comms were there, so we obviously knew we needed the sufficient bandwidth to operate in this way as a business. These things are never really fully tested in anger until it hits the fan.”Andrew Black, IT Director, Muckle LLP
Black continues that the organization has been able to keep everyone happy. There were physical aspects that needed to be sorted out, such as ensuring that the office becomes COVID safe. But on the backend, too, the company was able to utilize the full potential of Microsoft 365.
“We looked at how we can use the stack more efficiently,” Black continued, “along with the automation and BI functionality that Microsoft provides.”
Hybrid cloud strategy
Today, it is estimate that law firms have migrated roughly half of their software solutions to the cloud. There are certainly benefits to migrating data and SaaS functionality to the cloud, but there is also some debate about whether it is necessary or even cost-effective to aim for 100%.
Speaking in April 2021, a group of 120 US law firms were asked to share their own progress and plans with the cloud. 10% of these firms claimed to be operating entirely in the cloud, although several suggested that their goal was to maintain a hybrid cloud operation with no goals to push everything to the cloud.
Andrew Black agrees.
“Hybrid is the way to go. I’ve recently been doing some business planning, looking at what would happen if we were to move all of our computing needs to the cloud. The costs alone of moving everything lock-stock to the cloud would be quite eye-watering, and certainly not cost effective for us.”Andrew Black, IT Director, Muckle LLP
To hear more of Andrew Black’s comments about transitioning to a hybrid cloud strategy and the need for a flexible workforce in the legal sector, check out the Words of Wisdom video embedded below.