Category Archives: Cloud
Emerging Technology in the Legal Industry (Video)
By Joseph Raczynski
In this Vlog, learn about Emerging Technology in the Legal industry. I focus on the impact of the Trinity of Forces (Cloud, Infinite Processing Power and AI) on Emerging Technology in the Legal industry. The Emerging Technologies discussed are: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Analytics, VR/MR/AR (Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality) and VPAs (Virtual Personal Assistants) or Bots.
Increasingly Cloudy — Law Firms Continue the Flight into the Storage Heavens and What the Future Holds
Originally published on the Legal Executive Institute
By Joseph Raczynski
With the recently released ILTA Technology Survey there is little question that Cloud adoption is drifting upward at law firms. I have also seen this trend through recent conversations with law firm CIOs and CTOs. The shift is real. ILTA’s survey qualified this change to outsourced storage, rising to 62% in 2016, from 51% in 2015. This is a solid leap forward year over year.
ILTA Annual Legal Technology Survey 2016
While the majority of responding law firms lean in favor of Cloud technology, a certain subset of firms will stay the course and continue to opt-out. The primary reason given for avoiding the Cloud is client demand. That said, I have seen some cracks developing in the tough exterior of this conservative approach.
Given recent data breaches at law firms, I more frequently hear that clients tend to feel increasingly comfortable with a secured and vetted provider than allowing their law firms to continue hosting the data themselves. Security is the overarching reason. If a firm chooses a reliable Cloud provider, the likelihood of that provider having real-time monitoring, enhanced security application layers, and the most up-to-date services — especially compared to a typical law firm — is much more likely. In short, most firms would be better suited to use a top Cloud service rather than subjecting themselves to a multitude of cybersecurity issues by manning the wall alone.
Indeed, the resources and skills needed for the level of protection clients are demanding — demands that are growing more complicated daily — is normally beyond most law firms’ resources with regard to personnel and technology. The old adage is fitting in this case: “Do what you do best.” And maintaining storage may no longer fall into this space for the typical law firm.
Infinite Storage and What Comes Next
The largest Cloud providers are preparing for a meaningful change in this space over the next 10 years of growth. Clearly, storage is becoming very inexpensive as hardware prices drop. This leads us to what I have previously discussed — a time of Infinite Memory. When this happens (and we are very close now), the next significant change will be to the services model in this space. Five of the largest Cloud providers — Google, Amazon, Microsoft, SalesForce and IBM — are all preparing for it.
Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS)
More importantly, no longer will the Cloud be solely about storage. Instead, it will be more about the services — this has existed with SaaS- (Software as a Service)-based solutions for a while, but this is going to change even more in the next several years. The philosophy is that these large Cloud providers will probably start giving storage away for free. The next phase is leveraging some of the more emerging technologies in the Cloud, with Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS) being the next great jump forward.
The simple idea is that these providers will start charging for add-on services that nearly every organization will have to have in order to compete. If you do not have the latest AI, you may be out of the game quickly. These new services will compel those firms and companies still sitting on the sidelines into the game.
A bit further out, I see Cloud providers also getting into the Blockchain space. Essentially Blockchain is a decentralized database which stores encrypted information. It makes that data easily available to those who are allowed access to it. All of this information runs on services, and the Cloud will be able to handle this with aplomb.
Without a doubt, law firms’ reliance on the Cloud is growing quickly, and it is only a matter of time before it becomes more ubiquitous and accepted than our current state of 63% adoption.
ILTACON 2016 SESSION: NEW INTERNATIONAL STANDARD FOR CLOUD DUE DILIGENCE
By Joseph Raczynski
The cloud is becoming increasingly ubiquitous at law firms. In fact, a recent ABA Technology Survey stated that 46 percent of cloudless firms will be transitioning in the next 6-12 months. In the session on the “New International Standard for Cloud Due Diligence,” Gregg Brown, senior director Technical Strategy, Computer Standards at Microsoft, and Patrick Oot, partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, discussed the changes to the cloud over the last six years and what is coming down the road.
Small- and medium-sized firms have embraced the cloud, while the largest firms have been more reluctant, saddled with restraints placed by their clients – especially in the financial industry. That said, there now seems to be some loosening of the straps in that particular space.
Benefits of the cloud:
The duo argued multiple reasons for jumping to the cloud. First, firms can take advantage of the latest innovations, features and capabilities with updates released every month, compared to waiting years for internal upgrades to their current systems. In addition, the cloud offers greater agility – not having to retrain or rebuild as needs expand.
Oftentimes, clients require more capacity on short notice, which the cloud can easily accommodate. At a base level, the cloud is a fraction of the cost of on-premises solutions – though add-ons can sometime raise the price close to that of an in-house solution.
As more firms adopt BYOD (bring your own device), the cloud enables firms to meet workforce demands with a per-user license. But with BYOD comes another layer of security concern, which the cloud can more readily accommodate as most vendors will be up-to-date with regard to security patches.
As Brown also noted, another inherent benefit to cloud technology is access to analytics. With all of its data in the cloud, a firm can easily deploy search and analytics across all of its information/eDiscovery, compared to what one might have with an on-premises solution.
Risks in the cloud:
As firms move to the cloud, one of the most persistent risks associated with the technology is multitenancy, means that a software application may not work well as designed in the cloud with multiple users trying to gain simultaneous access to it. And of course, with complexity tied to data transfer laws, particularly between the US and EU, firms should consider the challenges of data access and the courts, Oot noted.
New ISO Standard Impacting the cloud in 2016:
Brown also described that by the end of 2016, there will be a new “Cloud Service Level Agreement (SLA) Framework” – known as ISO/IEC 19086-1 – published, which will offer a set of considerations for cloud agreements. He noted this will be a boon for law firms as it will lay out a guidance standard verses the normal compliance standard. This should have a positive impact, although Brown cautioned that these guidance standards will raise key questions and require analysis and evaluation.
Reflecting on the session, Oot and Brown surmised that technology still has a few pessimists, but that the forecast is looking positive as more and more firms opt-in. With its waxing advantages and waning risks, it appears that greater cloud adoption is near.
As they concluded, Oot and Brown pointed out one last benefit of the cloud – terms of service from providers can now be negotiated, where previously this was not permitted.
Based on what they outlined, there is little question that fewer barriers remain to adopting the cloud.
Joseph Raczynski is manager, Technical Client Management, Thomson Reuters
State of the Cloud at Law Firms: The Interstitial Phase of Law Firm Cloud Philosophy
By Joseph Raczynski
The word “Cloud” can be a divisive word at law firms. Recently uttering the term during technology meetings with East Coast-based law firms with between 50 and 3,000 attorneys elicited starkly differing responses based on firm size and practice dominance.
Most of the midsized firms with whom I have met over the last year were favorable toward its use in most cases. One CIO declared it was firm negligence not to use the Cloud for data. He cited the inability for most firms to retain the expertise necessary to safeguard data inside the firm. Typically, larger law firms with clients in the financial industry explicitly forbid embracing such services outside of their network. Indeed, these clients underline this conservative firm posture by pushing for responses to 300-part questionnaires about how the law firm handles their data and outlining privacy and security practices related to the Cloud.
Despite this push from the financial industry, I would argue that we are in an interstitial period of Cloud adoption at law firms. In the not too distant future, I believe that many of the firms today which avoid or disallow its use will accept it. Law firms are risk-adverse institutions. While Cloud technology may appear laden with hazard, it might actually be the opposite. Initially when the Cloud — a rebranded name for a decades old concept — returned, early adopters encountered data breaches.
Years of security issues were thrust into the headlines, and those goaded reputable Cloud providers toward major investment around protecting their services. Now with far tighter rein of control, Cloud providers are much better positioned to court law firms of all sizes. Unless a firm has a solid technology budget and the ability to retain top-notch security experts, an argument could be made that housing data in a secure cloud would be more prudent than inside an internal firm network.
A recent New York Law Journal article by Ted Sabley on “Does Adoption of Cloud Computing Shift Cyber Liability Risk?” will give some readers pause for thought on greater adoption. Sabley mentions each of the largest Cloud providers have baked in new and surprising contract terms. They’ve shifted the liability in the End User License Agreements (EULA) to the customer. That is, if there is a breach of customer data hosted on the Cloud, the user bears the responsibility. This seems to be the case with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft and Apple Cloud platforms.
Whether or not a customer shoulders the responsibility of a breach, the common practice for everyone dealing with Cloud providers should be the following:
- Understand the Cloud contract. Who is responsible when a breach happens? What happens to the data if the Cloud provider company goes under or is acquired?
- Realize which type of firm data is being placed into the Cloud. Is it loaded with Personally Identifiable Information (PII)? Is your client aware of where the data is being stored?
- Purchase Cybersecurity Insurance. Years ago this was a fairly nebulous insurance process, however, now it seems to be much more defined. Seek out expertise with all of the various components and nuances in this arena.
Currently firms of all sizes find themselves in two camps when it comes to the Cloud. Midsized firms have generally flown into the Cloud, while big firms hover between land and air, in a bit of a fog-like state. With increasing pressures of expense and the challenges of retaining network and cybersecurity expertise, the future for law firms is undoubtedly in the clouds.
ILTA’s 2015 Annual Technology Survey Security Highlights
By Joseph Raczynski
Security weighs heavily on this year’s survey
It’s out! The 2015 International Legal Technology Associations Annual Survey is stocked with insightful legal technology industry knowledge. This is always an exciting time of the year for me as I get to compare and contrast the stories I heard during the year from law firm visits with ILTA’s survey results. One dominant theme that prevails throughout the 2015 survey is change and security. There is little question that many of the “new” ideas or concepts of several years ago have become the status quo and forced firms to adapt. Sometimes the medium law firm space embraces these new ideas and concepts before Big Law, but more often that is reversed. So what are some of the interesting trends this year?
Atop the trees and looking down, respondents focused on their Top 3 Technology Annoyances. In order they are Security/Risk Management; Change Management and Expectations; and Change, User Acceptance of Change. These three issues struck a chord for me. Many with whom I spoke with throughout the year described these consistently as top pain points for the technology departments at law firms.
Staying with the security theme, Mobile Device Management (MDM), continues to grow in popularity with nearly 50% of respondents responding that they utilize it. I assume in the coming years this will continue to rise. Secure access points where users connect to the Internet are increasingly seen as important by law firms. To this end, firms are creating policies forbidding users to connect to open WiFi at cafés or airports. As a result this year Hot Spots or Mi-Fi devices have leapt in adoption with mobile phone hot spots up 20% on the current survey.
Encryption made wide gains across the board. While there are many facets to encryption, each part of the survey referencing it, demonstrated significant gains over last year. Specifically, each of the following jumped by a minimum of 10% over 2014; Laptop Hard Drive Encryption, Automatic Email Encryption, Removable Media Encryption, and Smartphone Encryption.
Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Advanced Threat Detection, Data Loss Protection, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), are all on the rise across the various sizes of the organization. One interesting tactic that I heard about several firms doing this year is Spear-Phishing their own users. According to the survey this is on the rise and firms are indeed testing their own employees. The goal is to educate and increase awareness with cybersecurity threats and how to avoid troubled waters.
Other Interesting Technology Trends:
- The firm’s top management is viewing IT departments less as an expense, going from 44% last year to 39% of respondents this year.
- Technology spending sees a mix between a slight increase 3% and staying the same up 3% respectively by respondents.
- The two primary reasons for firms not moving to the Cloud; 44% Security and Cost 38%
- Firms that have been through audits by a client in the last three years, 33% said yes and 67% no.
- SharePoint is trending down slightly in adoption with 48% in 2015 versus 53% in 2011.
- iOS dominates with Android second, but most surprising is that Windows Mobile dropped off considerably, down 13% from last year.
- Additionally on the mobile front, support of one platform, i.e. OS or Android grew considerably last year up 11%
- Office 2010 still reigns atop at 77% compared to Office 2007 at 12% and 2013 at 8%.
- Desktop Operating System is dominated by Windows 7 (64-bit) at 73% followed by Windows 7 (32-bit) at 23% and far behind is Windows 8/8.1 at 3%.
Law Firm of the Future – The Trinity of Forces: Infinite Processing Power, Memory, and Machine Learning
By Joseph Raczynski
In ten years, it is predicted that 40% of the Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist1. This forecast originally cited in Fast Company is from a Babson Olin School of Business study. This notion is nearly incomprehensible, but may have a significant impact on the legal business.
Why is this happening now, and what impact might it have on the law firm?
We are at an extraordinary moment in time with the evolution of technology on three fronts. The trinity of forces are colliding at once, propelling change with everything around us.
Gordon Moore, an Intel chip scientist, formulated a well renowned technical law. Moore’s Law states that roughly every 18 to 24 months, the processing power of computers doubles. That is, the ability for a computer to perform calculations is increasing exponentially. For some perspective, if you were to buy a $1,000 computer in the year 2000, it would have had the processing power of an insect brain. Buy a new computer in 2010 and you would have the processing power of a mouse brain. Fast-forward to 2024 and the expectation is that a new computer will be as powerful as the human brain. In 2045, a $1,000 computer purchased from Amazon.com will process as fast as all of humankind. The implications of this are staggering.
In the second of the three forces, we couple what amounts to unlimited processing power with the advances to storage and memory for computers. In 1965, IBM built a computer with 5MB of storage. It was as big as a bedroom and cost $120,000. In 2004, a memory chip the size of a fingernail cost $99 and held 128 MB. Ten years later, we can purchase a 128 GB chip for $99. This is the hockey stick picture of momentum with exponential growth accelerating rapidly up the graph for both processing power and memory.
The third and last piece of this triumvirate of significant change is programming and algorithms. We are at a state where computers are beginning to teach themselves. Machine learning is becoming an increasingly important part of many businesses. Through an algorithm, a programmer builds a foundation from which the program can learn and continue to adapt and grow. There are a plethora of examples that are starting to take hold. IBM Watson has the most buzz right now with its cognitive computing platform. Uber uses machine learning to price rides, location drop-offs and pickups. Amazon can couple complementary products with your purchase. In the legal space, WestSearch®, the fundamental algorithm behind WestlawNext®, learns as people conduct research. It surfaces up the most pertinent content and good law for the researcher. Other legal examples include e-Discovery where many products utilize predictive analytics to help reduce the number of eyes necessary to review documents.
The blending of these three forces – processing power, memory, and algorithms – is a mixture for infinite growth and transformation at law firms. The opportunities are immense. Here are some possible changes afoot as the trifecta take hold over the next 10 years.
- As predicted that 40% of the Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist because of these forces, law firms will likely mirror this as some who do not adapt and embrace these technologies will struggle to survive
- In the next 10 years, because of unlimited storage and processing power, most document review will be completely automated and computerized. No longer will the first years or contract attorneys be reviewing documents for 18 hours a day
- Workflow solutions will reign over the next five years, but beyond that the trifecta of forces mentioned will push these solutions into complete automation so that drafting documents will be computer generated. This is actually happening now with 20 percent of Web news articles written by computer
- We are in an interstitial period with the Cloud. Currently, security frightens many firms from taking advantage of its scale and low cost. In the coming years, most firms will move everything they can to some type of Cloud, including private or hybrid
- Everything will be outsourced at the firm. Phone systems, HR systems, back office, administrative and technical support, where the portal will be hosted, office tools like Microsoft® Office, and all things technical will likely be moved away from the firm and managed by vendor experts. This will greatly reduce costs for the firm as they tap into the three forces
- As a result of the above, most attorneys will work remotely, and law firm office space will be dramatically smaller
- Big firms will get bigger and the medium may get smaller. The mediums who adapt will find their niche as a regional player, local generalist, boutique, or litigation specialist
- The impact on speed and adaptability on new attorneys will begin in law school. Some schools have already begun a two-year program with the third focused on technology, lawyer tools, and recalibrating how the attorney will work in the new firm
The law firm of 10 years from now will certainly be different from what we have today. In this extraordinary time, with the evolution of technology and trinity of forces, firms will have to adapt rapidly. This fundamental shift will be an opportunity for the firm to become more efficient, create new opportunity, and ultimately serve their clients better.
1 John M. Olin School of Business study
Exponential Growth – The Data Explosion and Resulting Challenges and Opportunities for Law Firms, Part 1
By Joseph Raczynski
We are currently living in the hockey stick portion of explosive data growth. That is, 90% of data humans amassed has been collected during the past two years. According to IBM Watson, this is gathering speed exponentially such that 2.5 billion gigabytes of new data is generated every day and the majority of this is unstructured. Simply stated, the numbers are massive and the data is not organized—and this impacts all businesses, but increasingly is a challenge to law firms.
True expertise is fading without computer learning tools
Recently I had the opportunity to watch Robin Grosset, Distinguished Engineer and Lead Architect at IBM Watson Analytics steer an entertaining and provocative discuss around data analytics. His focus was on how big data can impact expertise and how cognitive analysis or computer learning can meet this massive data challenge and build abundant opportunity.
True human expertise is at a crossroads. No one person can possibly absorb the vast quantity of data that is being produced in various disciplines. Traditionally in the eDiscovery space, firms hired first-years out of law school to review and classify thousands of documents for a case. Now, in many instances, data has ballooned well beyond what a team of attorneys can handle. Expertise is lost among the data. Audio, video, pictures, database information and social media are increasingly in profusion around cases to be analyzed. The ability to be an expert with a complete understanding of a case is nearly impossible now without the proper tools.
The solution to this dilemma of data and expertise is to wrap instruments that interpret and understand this data around the information. With cognitive computing it begins by dealing with the volume, variety and velocity of the data. Once that is understood, the real key is adding a human intuitive interface on top of that massive data-crunching, cloud-processing power. This aspect is the edge of where this field is headed currently. It then allows an expert to unearth the data through analytics and their own analysis. Firms can then sort through the mountain of information to understand and interpret trends and more importantly find white space. Now the expert can reclaim their seat, and from this challenge start to seek out opportunities for their firm.
In the next part of this series I will focus on how law firms can turn the big data challenge into opportunity.
The Anatomy of Successful Cyber Attacks
By Joseph Raczynski
Preparation for cyberattacks on your network requires a fundamental understanding of the complete picture of who has launched the assault. Steve Surdu of Surdu Consulting, LLP gave the keynote address at ILTA LegalSEC Summit 2015 in Baltimore, MD describing “The Anatomy of Successful Cyber Attacks.”
Steve outlined four attacker or threat profile group types; Hacktivists, Criminals, Terrorists, and Nation States. In the matrix below I break out each section he reviewed into a column view to better understand the who, why, where, motivations, advantages, limitations, and impacts for each group. I removed the Terrorist group as they tend not to pose a threat to law firms.
In summary the table offers an insight into the full anatomy of the threat for law firms. To mitigate the aforementioned threats, he outlined five key strategies:
- Awareness: An absolute must is providing education of all parties surrounding the law firm. This includes teaching employees, management, suppliers, and even your clients on the threats that exist, the tactics of the hackers, and the various outcomes from unsafe computing.
- Visibility: Never assume that you will know everything that is happening on your network. Keep an inventory of assets, logs and all alerts which when gathered together creates actionable intelligence.
- Focus: Law firms must think how the hackers attack, so avoid misplaced faith in compliance alone.
- Operational Expediency: Firms should make reasonable operational and security trade-offs. That is, do not spend all of your time on areas with little benefit, like patches for little used systems. Prioritize on the biggest impact items first.
- Priorities: The most valuable time spent on cybersecurity is spent on people and process over technology.
Wrapping up his discussion, he touched on cybersecurity in three areas pertinent to law firms; mobile, Cloud, and eDiscovery.
At this juncture, mobile devices do not pose a significant attack vector for large law firms. The real risk is one-offs including physical loss of the device, or exposure to data stored on the unit. Firms should remain vigilant by using encryption, password protection, and provide remote wiping on demand. Lastly he mentioned that Android remains a target.
The Cloud is intriguing from a security perspective. It provides familiar components to on-prem issues, but is outsourced. What that means is that the same predicaments arise but since a different operator is in the equation, it can be more complex. Surdu recommends to counter this threat by vetting your Cloud vendor carefully to manage your risk.
Similar to the Cloud, eDiscovery invokes the same issues that it does externally as it would internally. When you use hosted services those services have to be vetted for controlled access, general integrity, encryption were necessary and to assure that privacy laws are being followed. He recommends that firms use familiar and consistent platforms when possible.
In his parting thoughts, he focused on several salient points. While difficult, attempt to retain key players for your firm security. A revolving door in the Information Security department is ripe for attacks. Create a process to track key information and assets. By having these procedures in place the firm will know the who, what, where and when of deflecting cyber-attacks. Work to cultivate and maintain senior management to establish a sense of normalcy. Often hackers go after newer management because they are less likely to know systems and process. He also stressed that your best adversaries understand that details matter. “You should focus on the little things, because if you cannot get that right you will not get the bigger things.” Lastly he ended with a push for firms to concentrate on finishing security projects because that is much more important than simply starting them.
Unlocking the Power of the Cloud
By Joseph Raczynski
Pressures are increasing for legal IT professionals to increase productivity and reduce costs. Couple that with the demand for anytime and anywhere access to law firm data and the result is a multi-front push for cloud based solutions. At the forefront of this struggle are core functions of a firm like content management, collaboration, search, eDiscovery and records management. At ILTA 2014 HP Autonomy explored with a holistic approach the fundamental factors for unlocking the power of the Cloud.
The three primary factors that drive Cloud have a genesis with the new portrait of today’s attorney. Neil Araujo of HP mentioned that fully 50% of practicing attorneys in middle to large law firms are 35 years of age and younger currently. That ushers in a new attorney mindset bent on technology. These individuals are mobile and connected; and so the panel identified “The New Attorney” as the first driver for Cloud adoption. The second factor illustrated dealt with “The New Economy”. Cloud can assist with finding new ways to deliver efficiency and cost savings. The last factor mentioned was “The New Client”. Clients are now expecting more for less and desire data in more rapid, easy, and secure platform.
Shawn Misquitta of HP Autonomy cited several major product bets across the industry going forward. Shawn said, “A consistent, intuitive user experience is of the utmost importance.” This will lead to clean, clear user interfaces that will display and function well on any device. The Cloud will be a Hybrid Cloud consisting of both On-Prem and Private Cloud. This delivers a secure accessible platform that allows for firm governance of data and processes more easily.
Ultimately the panel stated that while there is no simple Cloud solution, there is no question Cloud is here to stay. The economies of scale, flexibility, scalability, and mobility all make it a rich solution, provided it is implemented and planned carefully.
Episode 2 of THE HEARING is now live!
In episode 2 of The Hearing Podcast Kevin Poulter speaks to futurist Joseph Raczynski on #legaltech #AI #blockchain and the future of the robot lawyer.
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