Nearly three-quarters of practising attorneys at independent law firms in the US consider it likely that they will use cloud computing this year, according to new research by business and legal solutions firm LexisNexis.
The study, which focuses on smaller firms, found that 40 per cent of individual attorneys queried are more likely to adopt cloud technology in 2014, while the figure grows to 72 per cent in law firms with less than 20 employees.
Cloud use in the legal sector has already increased significantly over the last year, up by almost 10 per cent to 40 per cent of those participating in the survey. A similar figure see the cloud bypassing standard software solutions within three to five years.
"While it's taken the legal industry a bit longer than other industries to come around to the cloud, client expectations for collaborative services, combined with the efficiency, accessibility, and lower total cost are driving the independent attorney to adopt the cloud," said Loretta Ruppert, senior director for Community Management of the Firm Manager group at LexisNexis.
There were two main concerns raised by lawyers about use of the cloud: security and ethics. The former is a key issue, as only 41 per cent believe that confidential data stored on the cloud is safe and secure.
59 per cent were unconvinced about the security of the cloud, with nine per cent explicitly believing cloud-based services are not secure. Hacking scandals, data leaks and government snooping were all cited as reasons for lack of confidence in this area.
Despite the fears, the survey shows that small law firms and independent attorneys are more willing than ever to embrace the cloud. This fact could be a very lucrative opportunity for any cloud provider that can offer enhanced storage security.
"We've clearly hit a tipping point as the gap between early adopters and the mainstream market is closing; 2014 is poised to be the year of the cloud in small law," Ruppert added.
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