Insights From a Law Firm Technology Support Specialist
Over the years, Parkway Tech has delivered IT Support, Cybersecurity, and Help Desk Services to many law firms in the Carolinas. The focus on law firm technology support comes from the top of Parkway Tech. Our company leaders, including our founder, Chris Michalec, have insisted that the company invest time, manpower, and resources in learning and staying current with the intricacies of legal technology support.
What Advice Does Our Founder, Chris Michalec, Have For Law Firms Looking For An IT Support Company?
In a recent interview by SmarterMSP.com surrounding IT Services for the legal profession, Chris participated in a discussion that laid out some principles that are critical for you to consider when evaluating an IT support company for a potential partnership with your law firm.
- Realize that it’s not just the giant firms that experience cybercrime.
Because we don’t hear about the firms with twenty to fifty lawyers getting hacked doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, the American Bar Association tells us in their 2017 Legal Technology Survey that 20% of law offices faced a cyber attack in one form or another in 2017.
- Find a technology support company that understands how to navigate and respect attorney-client privilege.
IT support is all about protecting the data of an organization and helping them use that data more effectively. But seeing the contents of those data packets could have significant legal ramifications. Most business owners aren’t too worried if their IT guy happens to open the wrong file accidentally, but in a law firm, that single act could be a breach of attorney-client privilege. To avoid this issue, it’s important that your IT service provider be comfortable with working in tandem with an attorney in your office that can direct the work and protect the clients. In this role, the IT service provider must not be seen as assisting the attorney but rather be considered to be under the direction of the attorney. Most times, IT support can manage data without actually accessing the documents, spreadsheets, and databases that data contains, but it’s important that your potential IT partner be aware and set up precautions.
- Know what the cloud can do for you and what it cannot.
An IT support professional that understands the workflow of law firms will help you collaborate and access information “on the go.” However, security of internal and client data must always be the priority. Cloud hosting, applications, and storage are useful for a law firm if they are implemented and maintained to meet the high expectations of security, confidentiality, and compliance expected of the legal profession.
- Experience and diversity of skillset matters when it comes to supporting your firm’s IT systems.
Look for an IT support team with a wide array of IT support expertise and experience. in-house IT guy or maybe a department made up of two or three techs that try to keep everything running. While that may be a suitable solution for some smaller operations, it doesn’t offer what a growing firm needs in terms of IT consulting and strategy.
- Be certain to set up service agreements that outline responsibility.
When a law firm experiences a cybersecurity breach, there can be serious legal ramifications. So, if an IT support company is caring for your systems, are they liable? Are you? Having agreements and contracts in place that define who is responsible for events such as these will save much trouble down the road.
- Look for a firm that is serious about educating your partners, associates, and paralegals in their role in cybersecurity.
A law firm is a treasure trove of valuable information. Cybercriminals are eager to get their hands on your data and will use phishing, scams, adware, malware, and spyware to get their hands on it. Social engineering is just one of the other ways that the bad guy’s leverage to exploit the natural inclinations of your staff and gain a foothold in your IT systems. An IT expert that understands the value of law firm data will insist on doing regular training with your staff.
- What does your prospective IT support guy know about HIPAA compliance?
While not all information contained on a law firm’s system falls under HIPAA mandates, anything that is related to the health of an individual is and must be protected as such.
Why Are We So Passionate About Supporting Law Firm IT?
We believe that supporting law firms here in the Carolinas is a challenge to which the Parkway Tech team is especially suited. We’ve seen all the unfortunate situations where law firms haven’t had adequate IT support for their field and the pain that ensued. Our goal is to give law firms the efficient, secure, stable, and mobile IT systems they need to serve their clients well.
The other reasons that we thrive in the legal technology support niche is that we understand the dollar figures involved when your firm faces even one hour of downtime. For a company in another industry sector, an hour of downtime may not carry a huge price tag, but once you begin to add up the billable hours of all your partners, associates, and paralegals, downtime gets expensive quickly. This near-zero tolerance for downtime poses unique IT support challenges, and our technicians have developed avenues to ensure optimal performance of your IT systems.
How Does Parkway Tech’s Company Culture Fit With The Law Firms We Support?
We have five core values at Parkway Tech that guide everything we do.
- Honesty & Integrity – We are honest in all our interactions with each other, with our clients, with our vendors, and with our future clients. This means admitting when we make mistakes and giving clients the best advice – even if that means we don’t make a sale.
- Continuous Self Improvement – Each day we ask, “What can we improve on?” Improvement is not a destination; it’s a process.
- Simplicity – Unneeded complexity creates frustration and confusion. It ultimately saps an organization of the strength and motivation it needs to achieve great things. We value simplicity wherever possible, and we strive to remove barriers to productivity.
- Give Back – Making an impact in our community through our time and money is one of the best things about being in business.
- Service First – Every interaction is an opportunity to serve. By serving our clients well, we help them achieve spectacular things.
Would you like to read more helpful articles from Parkway Tech? We’ve got them for you HERE.
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