This section contains three categories to provide a little more clarity on the terms terms that crop up in the world of cloud computing.
Value Proposition for Cloud Computing – Legal
There are many reasons for choosing cloud services as part of an IT strategy. Not all of the benefits given below are relevant in every case but businesses will make decisions based on the relevance of each to their business model.
• New technology or technology refresh – many start-ups require significant upfront capital spend in technology and established businesses must maintain existing infrastructure which requires on-going investment – e.g. servers, pcs. Cloud removes this capital cost.
• Predictable running costs – In the traditional IT model, you have to spend money upfront on the infrastructure for any new technology. Not so with the cloud, where (just like renting a car or buying electricity) there’s no infrastructure or capital cost. Since you pay per-month, per-user, you can budget for a predictable spend over any given time frame.
• Scale up, scale down – Cloud allows firms to scale up and down as need demands. A law firm for example may require significant extra staff when dealing with a large case and cloud allows the flexibility of scaling up to meet this demand and scaling back down when the extra resources are no longer required.
• The IT headache – the idea of removing servers and related technologies from on premise to cloud is very attractive to many firms as it gives all the benefits of a data centre model – high availability, security, server management, patching etc. – without the need for in-house IT resources. Cloud services are certainly far more robust than anything any small to medium-sized businesses could reasonably afford acting unilaterally.
• Level playing field – traditional IT strategy required implementation of sophisticated and expensive solutions which for many firms went way beyond their financial capacity. Cloud breaks down this barrier by making even the most sophisticated applications available to all at a fixed monthly charge. The cost of a full blown Practice Management System can have prohibitive upfront costs but in the cloud, all the benefits of such a system are available on a much more manageable basis.
• Speed to market – for those in the business of innovation, speed to market can be the difference between success and failure. Many firms are heavily dependent on technology to deliver new products and being able to tap into cloud based platforms significantly reduces delays and upfront capital costs.
• Mobility –Cloud services are by definition available to the mobile workforce, anytime anyplace, anywhere.
• 24/7/365 – the cloud never sleeps.
• Backup and Disaster Recovery – cloud infrastructure is far more resilient with data replicated to second sites in many cases and represents a built-in backup and disaster recovery option.
Cloud computing costs will vary from one firm to another and between one provider and another but the option to write off costs as part of operational expense is very attractive for many firms. It is clear however that for many others the value proposition is about much more than cost savings.
Terms and Definitions
rate of data transferred in or out of a network usually measured in bits per second
facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It can be customer owned or supplier owned
person who, either alone or with others, controls the contents and use of personal data, as specifically defined in the Data Protection Acts (DPA)
person who processes personal data on behalf of a data controller but does not include an employee of a data controller who processes such data in the course of his employment – see DPA
any process by which electronic data are sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using them as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case
source code and documentation that is kept in the custody of a third party until specified contractual conditions have been fulfilled
provision of the same implementation of a system to multiple customers (tenants)
infrastructure, software and/or IT services installed and running in the building or data centre of the person or organization using them
software development whereby the code is freely available, the resulting software is then normally provided to customers free of charge although enterprise support agreements are available in some cases..
segregation of duties
separation of functions within a software system to different locations so that they can be secured
independently and operate in isolation
application that is installed locally on a client device and uses the graphic, storage and processing capabilities of the device. Client devices can include PCs, laptop smart phones etc.
measure of the time the service is expected to be available to a business in an agreed time period
usually expressed as a percentage, e.g. 99.95%
information relating to an identified or identifiable individual that is recorded in any form, including electronically or on paper
commercial arrangement whereby the supplier of services either has reduced from recurring charges, or provides a customer with a form of credit against recurring charges in circumstances where the supplier fails to achieve service levels over an agreed measurement period generally represented as a percentage of the overall recurring charge.
BDR – backup and disaster recovery
BROWSER – a piece of software used to display websites – e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari
BYOD – Bring your own device – referring to the current practice of freedom of choice for cloud connected devices
Capex – Capital expenditure that is upfront and once off
CSP – Cloud Service Provider. Business or organisation providing cloud services which can be supplied directly by the CSP or the CSP may resell cloud services supplied by another third party
CSB – Cloud Service Broker. Business or organisation that acts as an intermediary for a variety of cloud service providers
CTO – Chief Technical Officer
DPA – Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003
DLP – Data Loss Prevention – process of preventing data from being compromised
IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
IDS – Intrusion Detection System – technical system that is used to identify that an intrusion has been attempted, is occurring or has occurred and possibly to respond to intrusions in IT systems and networks
LOBs – line of business applications
MSP – Managed Services Provider – term used to describe an IT company that delivers remote management and monitoring suite of services charged on a monthly basis covering all aspects of IT.
Opex – Operational expenditure that is on-going
PCI – Payment Card Industry – certification required by any data processor that processes credit card details in any way
PaaS – Platform as a Service
PMS – Practice Management System.
SAN – Storage Attached Network. Mass storage device connected directly to the network and not inside the servers themselves.
SLA – Service Level Agreement – agreement on the nature and quality of service between a consumer and a service provider
SaaS – Software as a Service
TFA – two factor authentication, a higher level of security than password since it requires a second piece of input from the end user to access data, often delivered as a digital code sent to the end user’s mobile phone.
Virtualisation or VM – a virtual data processing system that appears to be at the exclusive disposal of a particular user, but whose functions are accomplished by sharing the resources of a real data processing system – e.g. server.
VOIP – Voice over Internet Protocol
Telephony Service over the internet with significant costs savings potential
Lex Cloud Questions Answered
Q Where is Lex Cloud hosted
Our hosting facility is in a Data Centre in Dublin run by Interxion, one of Europe’s leading data centre operators.
Q What level of accreditation does the data centre have
It is certified to ISO 27001 the highest level attainable. The centre operates 24/7/365 with security staff on duty at all times.
Q Who can enter the data centre
Only authorised staff are allowed into the facility and must present primary ID at all times – i.e. passport or driving licence.
Q What other security measures are in place
The data centre has independent power and backup generators as well as fire suppressant Halon Gas with an air lock entry system. You will find more details here.
Q Who owns the cloud infrastructure
We are one of the very few cloud providers in Ireland who both own and operate their infrastructure as many ‘cloud providers’ use third party clouds that may not be hosted within this jurisdiction.
Q Who has access to the data hosted on our cloud
Only the client has access to his/her data. We as the service provider will interact with the client to provide support and backup of your data for which we need the requisite access permissions. From time to time, we may use third party consultants for specific projects but they are always supervised by Prosalis staff. Anyone working on our behalf must also sign a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement. In the case of LexCloud which is a joint initiative with Documatics and support for the LE application itself is provided by the Documatics team.
Q How frequently are backups taken
In the case of LexCloud backups are taken several times during the day to minimise any data loss interval for the client. Our backup cycle runs for 30 days so it’s possible to recover files that might have been lost within that window. It should be noted however that Legal Evolve, the Practice Management application behind LexCloud makes it very difficult for files to be lost or deleted accidentally.
Q Must I use Legal Evolve as my Practice Management System
LexCloud is a trading name for Prosalis and the cloud environment is managed jointly with Documatics who developed the Legal Evolve suite of software, one of the leading PMS brands in Ireland. We have a good working relationship with Documatics and LexCloud has been very successful. Together with the other application hosted alongside Legal Evolve, Office 2013, Outlook and Dictation software, it offers a very compelling proposition for the legal profession. if it doesn’t quite fit your needs please see answer to next question.
Q Can I run my own suite of applications in your cloud environment
Yes. Some of our clients have existing on premise solutions with a heavy investment and remain committed to them. In this scenario, we can create a virtual private cloud (VPC) and migrate the client’s on premise applications. Thereafter the client simply connects to our cloud and operates all systems from there. The Microsoft Office suite is already available on our cloud and is licensed under our Microsoft Service Provider Agreement.