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Balancing Security, Privacy and Budgets in the Age of Ransomware

Suddenly, the law firm world was abuzz. Last month’s paralyzing ransomware attack on a prominent, global law firm was a nightmare scenario.

All employees were ordered (via white board, no less) to shut down their computers and back away slowly.

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The wake of the attack put peer firms on red alert to reexamine their own security measures in an effort to dodge a similar fate. Not only were firms left figuring out how to insure against an attack, they were also messaging to clients that sensitive data remained confidential, safe and secure.

The technology challenge for today’s firms is not limited to cybersecurity. Look around at all the technology within arm’s reach. Are all your gadgets and devices on the latest version/release/patch? Probably not. Having the ‘latest’ can carry a hefty and impractical price tag for most firms and organizations.

Plus, there are other challenges: restricted CapEx budgets, little or no training budget, too few IT resources, aversion to the risk of implementing new or untested technology… The list goes on and on.

So the big question becomes: How should a law firm handle technology risk around security and data privacy while managing technology costs?

The good news is that most firms do figure out how to maintain the balance. They establish reactive disaster recovery plans so they can jump into action if something happens. They establish an operational SLA to ensure their technology is up and running. And as back up, they rely on the vendor’s customer support team to jump in and resolve an issue when something goes wrong.

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The bigger challenge is preventing bad things from happening through a more proactive, predictive, and preventive approach.

Optimization services are designed to make sure the technology is being consumed in a way that maximizes the return on investment. For all the same challenges listed earlier, optimization services is an area of technology management that is most frequently neglected by the firm’s IT organization.

Managed service plans provide firms the benefit of partnering with a vendor to guide the firm with strategic technology recommendations, leaving decision-makers to focus on the firm’s legal livelihood.

I speak with clients every day who want to know how to optimize their use of practice management software. More and more, they are asking for a partnership between the firm and our education team to provide strategic and long-term guidance on software features. To maximize ROI, firms want to take advantage of feature and performance improvements that are relevant to their environment.

As an overview, managed services plans help guide firms in their IT decision-making to:

  • Monitor software solutions and proactively roll up issues to IT experts in the firm
  • Work alongside firm leaders to elevate the value of your software
  • Optimize your environment and make recommendations for changes
  • Increase software adoption through comprehensive training

Technology is designed to achieve a specific outcome. Getting it to achieve the desired outcome is the baseline expectation. Protecting against a cyberattack is critical, but also expected.

Advancing past the reactive state is the trick. Partnering with a vendor through a managed service plan provides predictability while maximizing your resources, time, and dollars.

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About Elena Cutri

Elena Cutri
Elena is a lifelong learner at heart and an educator by trade. To her, learning is a direct route for people to live intelligent and informed lives. As Director of Education Services for LexisNexis, she partners with clients around the world to guide their software adoption strategy. Elena has spoken at industry events on change management, end user adoption and professional development. She leads a team of professional trainers who create effective and engaging learning for today’s Modern Learner. Outside of work, Elena is an adjunct professor at a Chicago college teaching public speaking and group communication skills. She volunteers as Chair of a 3,000-parent network for a Special Education Resource Group in her community. She leads a Girl Scout troop and teaches work-readiness classes for adults with special needs. She learns the most, though, from her husband and 3 children. Elena holds her MA in Corporate Communications from Northern Illinois University and a MBA in Marketing Management from Loyola University.
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