As the law firm of the future looks globally to serve its clients, cloud-based data solutions will become even more crucial to survive. But with data storage regulations varying from country to country, how are law firm IT departments supposed to find a cost-effective, secure and practical answer?

“By the time you review and propose the solution, build it and train your team on how to use it, your firm may be 18 months behind, or more,” noted Daniel Neises, director of technology operations and strategy of Sedgwick LLP in San Francisco.

“Clients will demand that [your firm have access to the cloud], but there’s a need for caution,” Sharon Martin, systems engineering manager at Cisco said. “Think about the technology you can deploy today.”

Martin added that the answer may not be an all-or-nothing solution, but a hybrid that enables firms to use both public and private cloud storage.

Among the concerns voiced during the panel were around an emerging group of countries, particularly Russia, that have begun to impose new laws barring the storage of data regarding its citizens outside of its borders.

As Fred Pinkett, senior director of product marketing for NASUNI, noted, it is best to work closely with auditors and regulators to make sure data is maintained appropriately while resisting the urge to move all cloud storage in-house, or vice versa. Of course, the question then becomes: how do IT departments maintain security while fostering innovation and flexibility in this space? That answer was not as concrete.

“It’s important to support the people in law firms who are asking for the solutions, such as Box and Dropbox, on firm-owned devices that they need to help do their work,” Pinkett said, “If you don’t, they’ll do it anyway.”

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