What Are the Effects of Cloud-Based Saas Document Management Solutions in Law Firms? Capstone Project

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¶ … invention of the internet has seen applications being run from remote clouds. The technology referred to as Software as a service (SaaS) is what makes this possible. The applications are specially designed to run as services on remote servers. The advantages of this technology are numerous and the main ones are cost, security and convenience. The legal fraternity has been shown to be turning to the cloud-based Software as a service (SaaS) due to the waning security concerns (Taylor,2011).These concerns have been indicated to cause a general lag in the adoption of this technology in the legal profession. This project is intended to examine the risks that law firms need to consider prior to migrating from their legacy systems to cloud-based SaaS document management solution. The rational for this project is to review current industry standards for securing privileged data housed and maintained with cloud-based software as a solution providers, and whether or not the technology and subsequent internal security and administrative procedures associated with these providers is sufficient enough to guarantee adherence to the confidentiality required in attorney / client relationships yet flexible enough to appropriately respond to any court ordered discovery collections or litigation holds. The goals of this project perform a thorough examination of the risks involved in the adoption of cloud-based SaaS document management solutions in the contemporary current legal community.

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Capstone Project on What Are the Effects of Cloud-Based Saas Document Management Solutions in Law Firms? Assignment

Cloud computing is considered a new research domain. The fact that the domain is still in its developmental stage means that researchers and practitioners must work together to fill the gap that exists on the legal, access, security as well as regulatory issues (Dlodlo, 2011). The recent emergence of large scale data centers that are specialized in the hosting of multiple servers has lead to the creation of surplus computing power and resources that is referred to as the cloud. The cloud refers to a group of networked computers that effectively distribute their processing power, applications and other systems resources among the member machines. The implication of this is that computing is never dependent on local computers but on highly centralized facilities that are under the authority and operational control of third party computing and storage facilities as pointed out by Foster (2010). The concept of cloud computing has caused a transformation of the once very expensive resources like storage space and processing cycles into a cheap commodity that is within the reach of several individuals and corporations. The deployment of Information Technology (IT) infrastructure as well as services over a network infrastructure has made it possible for organizations such the legal firms dealing with confidential information to easily purchase the necessary computing resources on as-needed basis and in the process eliminates the capital cost of hardware and software. Cloud computing therefore offers several organizations with the chance of decoupling their IT needs as well as infrastructure in an effort to improve the confidentiality, integrity and availability of their data while simultaneously reducing the costs of infrastructure through the engagement or signing up for pay-for-service models.

Kushida, et.al (2010) provides a definition of cloud computing as;

"Cloud computing provides on-demand network access to a computing environment and computing resources delivered as services. There is elasticity in the resource provision for users, which is allocated dynamically within providers' datacentres. Payment schemes are typically pay-as-you-go models" (p.2).

The National Institute of Standards and Testing (Golden, 2010) provides a definition of cloud computing to comprise of five distinct and identifiable attributes. These attributes are;

On-demand services

These on-demands self-service allows corporations to get the computing resources that they require without the need of going through the usual It departments.

Broad network access

This allows the corporate applications to be designed in a manner that is aligned to the way the businesses operate in the contemporary corporate landscape.

Pooling of resources

This allows for the computing resources to be pooled so as to easily serve the multiple consumers

Elasticity that is rapid

This allows for scalability of the resources to be achieved in accordance to the demand.

Measurability of service

This implies that the given business units just pay only for the computational resources that they employ.

Purpose

The purpose of this project is to provide an extensive thorough examination of the risks involved in the adoption of cloud-based SaaS document management solutions in the contemporary current legal community.

Literature

Cloud SaaS document management system

Not much literature has been dedicated to the application of cloud computing to the legal fraternity. Taylor (2011) discussed the concept of cloud computing in the legal profession and the security issues that makes it important to be implemented. Information is very important to any organization and must be properly managed. The traditional document techniques are being rapidly faced out due to the changes in the technology. There field of information technology is the only field that grows faster and is more dynamic than the women fashion industry. This is the challenge that most business firms have to deal with as they try to embrace technology as part of their document management solutions. Law firms are faced with the challenge of having to deal with voluminous documents most of which contain confidential information that must be securely kept and confidentially handled.

The question that we need to ask ourselves is; should such services be outsourced? There is a general consensus concerning the benefits of cloud computing. However, what is in doubt is whether they are secure and reliable enough for a law firm and whether they suit their business model.

The concept of business outsourcing and virtualization

This topic borrows heavily from the concept of out sourcing and virtualization. Outsourcing is the process through which business organizations obtain services which are not central to the business model from other organizations that can provide the services efficiently. This gives the business time to concentrate on the core competencies thus gaining a competitive edge. Organizations have outsourced transport, accounting and auditing, computing services action the other hand virtualization which is a relatively new concept in the corporate world is a situation where firms virtually operate without boundaries. Such an organization has a networked structure since it depends on other organizations in building its business model. The organization conducts its business on the internet and may not have physical premises. Over the past few years there has been paradigm shift from the traditional organization to outsourcing and the virtual organization and this is where the idea of cloud computing comes in.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is a new concept that is steadily gaining acceptance and relevance in the business organizations to day. It is a term that has been misconstrued by many. In this concept, the term cloud has been used metamorphic ally to mean the internet. Therefore the phrase cloud computing means a type of internet oriented computing where services like servers, storage etc. are delivered to the organization via the internet on the basis of demand. This concept has gained much acceptance in the corporate circles as it allows the data center to operate much like the internet, making it possible for the computing resources to be accessed and shared as virtual resources in a secure environment (Allen, 2009).

In simple terms, cloud computing is taking services and moving them outside and putting them on a shared system. The services are therefore accessed through the web instead of the organization's storage devices. The payment is based on usage and the infrastructure is maintained by the cloud service provider and not the client. The term cloud computing has been used to refer to grid computing, utility computing, soft ware as a service, internet based applications, automatic computing and remote processing. The goal of cloud computing is to apply traditional supercomputing or high performance computing power, normally used by research institutions, to perform computing tasks in the business oriented environment (Pattrizio, 2008).

Platform as a service (PaaS) is one of the three layers that builds cloud computing. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and the SaaS are the two other layers. Infrastructure is very important for cloud computing to work. It is the duty of the cloud service provider to establish the necessary infrastructure.

SaaS defined

The definition of SaaS can take two approaches. Short for software as a service, software delivery method that provides access to software and its functions remotely as a web-based service. It allows organizations to access business functionality at a cost much less than licensed applications since its pricing is based on monthly charge. Since the software is hosted remotely, firms need not invest in additional hardware. Software as a service eliminates the need to incur costs on installation, set up and upkeep and routine maintenance. SaaS may simply be referred to as hosted application (SIIA, 2001).On the other hand SaaS could also be short for storage as a service. In this respect, SaaS is viewed as a storage model where an organization rents or leases storage space from a service provider .Data is then transferred from the client organization… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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