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5 Predictions for Legal IT in 2019

Marcus Bluestein

3 min read

All Insights

What’s in store for legal IT in 2019?

We bet that the cloud will continue its ascent. Meanwhile, analytics will increasingly trickle into our daily lives and security will become less and less of a concern (at least from the user’s perspective).

1. Cloud will be the new normal.

This is the year in which we will finally see the scales tip.

Hybrid and cloud environments will be in the majority, while on-premises holdouts will become the unicorns.

Here is an interesting nugget from ILTA’s 2018 Technology Survey:

When respondents were asked the question, “For the upcoming year, how do you predict your firm’s adoption of cloud-based solutions will change?”, there was a six point jump (to 69%) in those firms responding that it will be increasing. The biggest barrier continues to be cost (cited by 47% of firms), while security is now falling (down 3 points to 35%.) …That being said, cloud-based document management is getting traction at firms of all sizes (up 8 points overall), although it’s currently 8 to 10 points more popular at larger firms. Even backups are migrating away from disk and tape-based to cloud-based. The trend is gradual (one to four points per year,) but a trend nonetheless.

2. Security will be easier than ever. 

The quote above also highlights the interesting finding that security is on the wane as a barrier to the cloud. Part of the reason for this, as Chris Owens writes in his article “The Cloud Opens a New Frontier in Mobility,” is that many cloud platforms, such as the leading legal DMS solutions NetDocuments and iManage Cloud, come with impressive built-in security measures.

In general, security seems to be demanding less of users and making itself more inconspicuous. We will be seeing a continuation of this in 2019 (and hopefully be hearing about fewer massive data breaches).

3. Analytics will creep into the workplace until it starts to come closer to our visions of AI

In 2018 we designed more custom automated solutions for clients than ever before, from smart filing solutions to financial dashboards. Firms want to make fewer clicks and see more meaningful data. We have also been exploring new ways to streamline and offload the tedious stuff. The automation we saw in 2018 represented incremental improvement rather than a burst of full-on “I, Robot”-style humanoids, but these things add up.

One of the most interesting findings from the ILTA 2018 Technology Survey is the rapid rise in full-time data analytics positions at law firms. They are currently on par with the number of information security professionals, which is impressive considering how new the field is.

4. Remote access as we know it will change forever.

At its annual conference Ignite (read the recap here), Microsoft announced a new platform, the Windows Virtual Desktop. Though it debuted to relatively little fanfare, it promises to be highly disruptive. Virtualization expert and Kraft Kennedy CTO Chris Owens wrote in Peer to Peer:

The new platform will aim to make Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop unnecessary for ad hoc access—that is, not for those who primarily work on a virtual desktop, but for the many individuals who use it mainly as a backup for business continuity and other such specific cases. If you are unable to log into your regular work computer, you will be able to replicate the experience on any other device. This may make things easier for the user, but not necessarily. It will, however, certainly streamline operations and costs for the firm, which can license these solutions together. Windows Virtual Desktop represents yet another step in the unification trend that is making it increasingly possible to safely access firm resources from any device.

5. There will be a mad rush to update systems.

ILTA’s Technology Survey reveals that 44% of firms are still on Windows 7 and 39% are using Exchange 2010.

We see it coming. A host of core Microsoft products are set to expire in 2020, including Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Office 2010, and Exchange 2010, and there will be a scramble to start updating as expired systems will be vulnerable to hackers and compatibility issues.

Need advice on your upgrade plans? Schedule a complimentary roadmapping session today. We’ll connect you with one of our infrastructure experts to discuss the smoothest upgrade path for you.