The Cloud: What Is It? And Should You Fear It or Embrace It?

Over the last decade, “the cloud” has become an integral part of how people and businesses work, store data, and use services.

Cloud usage is now so common that many of those who never took time to find out what exactly it is and how to use it may be too sheepish to ask.

If you count yourself among those who don’t fully understand the mysterious “cloud,” it’s okay.

We’re going to tell you what the cloud is, what it isn’t, and why you shouldn’t be afraid.

What is the Cloud?

The cloud is simply internet-based software and services.

Through these software and services, you can run programs, store data, and eliminate the risk of losing important information and files if your computer goes kaput.

Utilizing the cloud and all of its associated services is often referred to as “cloud computing.”

Why the Cloud Isn’t Scary

Let’s address some of the concerns you might have about the cloud.

First, you might be worried that the cloud is unreliable.

No one wants to place their trust in a system where important data is inaccessible or hard to retrieve.

Fortunately, cloud-based services and software are available as long as there is an internet connection.

Many systems even offer opportunities to regularly back up important data offline to your own devices and storage systems to mitigate challenges posed by internet outages.

This means storing data on the cloud is often far more reliable than other methods of storing data. If you’ve ever had a device (computer, tablet, phone, etc.) crash, then you know how unreliable local systems can be.

A failure or malfunction at the wrong time can be catastrophic for your firm, especially when it renders documents inaccessible, out-of-date, or missing.

The cloud protects you against device crashes by making software, services, and data available through any internet-connected device you log into.

Secondly, with this “accessibility from anywhere,” you might be worried about security.

In reality, most local systems are just as vulnerable, if not more so, than cloud-based systems.

Servers that host cloud-based systems prioritize security, so these systems are typically less susceptible to security compromises than the computer in your home.

Lastly, you might also be concerned about cost. But prices of cloud-based services, software, and data storage are increasingly affordable.

It’s well worth the price to have peace of mind that your data won’t be lost if your local system crashes.

Types of Cloud Services for Legal Practices

Understanding the cloud’s primary service models—Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS)—is essential for law firms considering this digital shift:

  • IaaS provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. IaaS is suitable for firms needing customizable IT infrastructure but requires in-house technical expertise to manage and scale effectively.
  • PaaS offers a development platform for creating, testing, and deploying apps. PaaS is ideal for firms looking to develop custom solutions without the burden of managing the underlying infrastructure.
  • SaaS delivers subscription internet-based software applications. SaaS solutions, such as practice management software like backdocket, are designed to meet the specific needs of legal practices, offering secure data storage, case management, and client communication tools without the need for significant IT infrastructure.

For most law firms, SaaS stands out as the best fit among all types of cloud services. It allows lawyers to concentrate on their practices rather than IT management, providing a secure, scalable, and user-friendly solution that meets their day-to-day operational needs.

Embracing SaaS can significantly enhance a firm’s efficiency, security, and client service, making it a clear choice for firms looking to navigate the cloud landscape successfully.

The Benefits of Using the Cloud

When you rely on cloud-based services and software, you can rest assured that your data is always available. This gives you flexibility to work from multiple locations or on multiple devices.

The cloud also makes it easier for team members to collaborate on projects. If you work solely off documents and data stored locally on a computer, you’ll end up sending endless emails of updated documents, and may have trouble keeping track of which is the most recent.

This introduces many chances for errors and miscommunication.

When you share data and documents with your team through cloud computing, you can be sure that everyone is literally on the same page and able to see updates and changes being made in real-time.

Lastly, cloud usage creates a buffer between you or your business and unforeseen circumstances.

For example, if your local system is hit by a virus or crashes, you’ll know that all of your important data is secure and waiting for you whenever you log in with another device or when you get your systems repaired.

Get Started with Cloud Computing Through backdocket

At backdocket, we know the importance of secure data, flexibility, and collaboration. Our practice management system offers all of these benefits to small- and mid-sized law firms to improve efficiency and help them grow. If you want to know more about how our practice management software works, contact our team today for a free demonstration.

Originally published August 17, 2020. Updated March 8, 2024.

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