Another informative article by The Raconteur (these guys are good!) on 26th November. New technologies disrupting the legal sector (Law firms look set to update their technology systems in a bid to steal a competitive edge over laggards who fail to see changing business needs) by Michael Cross.
In his article Cross reports that the legal industry is slowly getting used to mobile working, albeit it a little behind the innovators in this area. This isn’t just about picking up your messages from the golf course but, of course, in seeking the cost efficiencies of, for example, hot-desking, virtual working and leaving the confines of the workplace to meet clients and suppliers whilst still benefiting from unified communications through their laptop or other mobile devices. Interestingly, in the biggest technology impact on law firms over the past 5 years, virtual office technologies accounted for 45.3%. Source: eFax Corporate 2014.
Interesting also that the article is followed by another great piece, Combating the cyber thieves who hack lawyers. Interesting as the two subjects are intrinsically linked. As discussed in my post How Law Firms can Harness Technology to Improve Cyber Security, the adoption of mobile technology opens up the whole problem area of employee security awareness and training, already identified as one of the largest security threats of 2015.
Sadly, law firms are experiencing an increasing number of security breaches due to the amount of personal data being held. They are a magnet for fraudsters who are drawn to the large transaction amounts (think ‘penthouse purchase price’).
So do the threats of adopting new technologies outweigh the opportunities?
Thankfully, it seems the legal industry really is clear on the benefits of technology. They recognise the greater working efficiencies, and hence cost savings, and that it can be the differentiator in a competitive situation. A PwC report in 2015 showed that improving the use of technology was the top priority (94%) in law firms in 2016. Reassuringly, reducing costs came in at No.5. with only 17% of respondents hoping to cut budgets.
Back to the eFax Corporate report to see that the biggest change expected of the next decade due to legal technology is: Paperless Offices as the new norm (35.3%), Virtual Offices and remote working as the new norm (19.3%) and cloud based applications as the primary source (19.8%).
Good news for some, bad news for the CTO or Information Security Officer! The 2015 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey surveyed the biggest challenge facing legal IT departments and found that 59% identified security management as their top IT challenge followed by email management at 48%, information governance at 40%, risk management/compliance at 33% and a tie for BYOD, cloud-related security risks and change management, all at 22%.
So, to summarise, the vast majority of Law Firms are embracing technology and many recognise the challenges this places on information security management.
The smart ones will be able to demonstrate a commitment and investment in their information security management system. The even smarter ones will use technology to implement, communicate and continuously improve it.
Those that do will be well placed to embrace further technology disruptors that will continue to deliver them efficiencies and competitive advantage.