While ILTACON 2018 was a veritable hotbed of ideas, the buzz undoubtedly coalesced around a few trends that emerged as the main themes of this year’s conference. The lessons of the sessions, questions posed by attendees, and results of our polling all pointed to the same thoughts on the collective mind of the legal IT world.
Here are our main takeaways from Maryland. For a more detailed post-game analysis, register for our webinar on September 14.
1. Everything hinges on security.
At the conference’s most buzzed-about session, a fifteen-year-old ethical hacker named Marcus Weinberger disturbed a room full of adults by demonstrating how easy it is to hack a law firm. Accordingly, respondents to our poll named security as their number one concern. Emerging ahead of hot topics like AI and blockchain as the foremost preoccupation of the community, security proved to be at the top of everyone’s mind. And it makes sense—why bother innovating when your foundations aren’t secure?
Big firms are dedicating major resources to plugging up vulnerabilities, setting up security centers capable of constant monitoring and quick remediation. But what are smaller and mid-sized firms to do? Kraft Kennedy’s John Kogan and Charles Ottenweller addressed the question in their session “24×7 Network and Security Operations for Small- to Mid-Sized Firms.” With the right combination of tools, processes, and a trusted partner, a modern security operations center (SOC) is available to all firms.
2. The cloud is the norm.
This cloud takeover no longer seems debatable. Now the question is, how are you going to handle it? The general tone regarding the cloud—the second most popular concern named in our poll—could be summed up as cautiously optimistic. Notably, the security of the cloud is no longer the main worry of legal IT professionals. Concerns about the safety of hosting data off-premises have given way to discussions about management. The cloud offers unprecedented flexibility and scalability, yes, but what is the best way to handle the continuous updates that come along with it?
In a popular, four-part, Airplane!-themed series, Kraft Kennedy’s Joe Hoegler discussed the most important considerations when moving to the cloud. Kraft Kennedy has been guiding law firms as a trusted partner on their way to cloud messaging, DMS, and other technologies. Once you’re there, the recommendation is to have an escalated support path and plan for managing your desktop in place, allowing you to be proactive, as opposed to reactive, in keeping up with patching, updates and licensing. Make sure the experts are there when you need them and avoid painful business interruptions while waiting for support.
3. Productivity is Paramount.
Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, productivity and end-user experience pulled out ahead of the flashier topic of analytics in our polling. Training, security awareness, usability, and the age-old question of user adoption are primary concerns for legal IT professionals, who are now, with the advent of the cloud, confronted with ever more new features and projects to roll out quickly.
The pressure facing IT teams to maintain systems while simultaneously innovating and providing an ideal user experience was a main topic of conversation at our booth and Genius Bar parties. The trend is increasingly to extend the team to a partner, allowing them to take care of the “plumbing” and mundane maintenance. This efficient approach allows you to focus on strategic concerns of innovation and adoption rather than playing catch-up.
Interested in finding out how you can optimize operations in 2019? We are offering complimentary road mapping sessions for an extended time following ILTACON. Drop us a note to discuss the best strategy for you with an industry leading expert.