Moving Aderant to the Cloud
Aderant is a popular suite of practice management solutions used by law firms who want to track their cases, automate their billing, and keep track of various data points. It’s popular because not only does it provide an easy to use interface, it also integrates with the most popular time tracking and practice management solutions.
Now that its officially the Cloud Era, there’s an important question that weighs on the minds of those considering Aderant: can it be used in the cloud?
Can a law firm move Aderant to the Cloud?
The short answer is:yes.
But there are some things you need to consider before doing so. And that’s what we’ll cover here.
Let’s dive in.
If you’re not already familiar, Aderant is software that enables law firms to manage their cases, time and billing.It’s a popular suite among law firms that are 5 staff or more. If you haven’t already, take a look at our Aderant Review.
Sidebar: Web-based vs. Hosted Legal Software
As a quick sidebar before jumping into the main event, lets briefly define and discuss the difference between web-based legal software and hosted law firm software.
Often when a law firm pictures “moving to the cloud,” they picture changing software entirely, abandoning their current legal software and switching to a web-based application.But this sacrifice isn’t necessary.
Instead, a law firm can keep their existing software, such as Aderant, and get the benefits of cloud computing with something we call a private cloud.And that’s what we’ll explore in here.
Getting Started – What You’ll Need
If you plan to move Aderant to the cloud on your own, there are some things you’ll need to make the move. If you aren’t particularly IT savvy, you may find the experience overwhelming. You might want to consider bringing in someone with the necessary experience and skills to help you out. Here’s what you’ll need:
Aderant. Yes, we know that may seem obvious, but you’ll need the Aderant software first.That is, if you don’t already have it, you’ll need to acquire licensing from Aderant.If you already have the software, that is, run it on-premise but are looking to move Aderant to the cloud, you’re set here.
A cloud server. You’ll need a cloud server. It won’t come with Aderant on it. Cloud servers are also known as virtual machines. They give you access to your very own server, but the server isn’t present in your law firm’s physical office. It’s hosted (and managed) in an outside data center. If you’ve ever used DropBox, OneDrive, or Google Drive, you’ve experienced cloud storage.A cloud server is similar insofar as its hosted offsite, but that’s about where the similarities end.
Cloud storage, such as DropBox, can host files and documents.It can’t host software applications.That’s where a cloud server comes in.A cloud server is functionally similar to your on-premise server; it can host Aderant, and is the only way to move Aderant to the cloud.
Experience with SQL and .Net. Moving Aderant to the cloud requires experience with both SQL and .Net. When you’re researching cloud servers and private cloud providers, make sure it can support both SQL and .Net. If you don’t have experience with either of those, you’re going to need to find someone who can help you.
Because: Aderant is, at its simplest for, a database. SQL and .Net both help handle the database. It won’t work without those components. Sometimes, SQL and .Net can be hosted on the same server you’re placing Aderant on, but it could cause a performance problem (such as slow response or slow loading).
Help with server set-up and future support. If you’re a lawyer with extensive experience handling server set-up and future support and maintenance, it’s probably within your wheelhouse to DIY this entire process. However, it can take a lot of time. So, even if you have experience, you may find that it’s just not an option. Unless you already have an established IT team with the right experience, you’re going to need some help setting-up, managing, and supporting the cloud server as well as SQL and .Net.
A Better Way: A Fully-Managed Private Cloud
Did reading all of that make you tired? It can be a lot of initial work to install Aderant to your own private cloud. Add to that, there’s future support and maintenance. The good news is that there’s a better way. And this better way can save you time, money, and your sanity.
The best way to move Aderant to the cloud is to leverage a fully-managed private cloud platform. You get to avoid the work and headaches that often come with not understanding how to install or manage all of the components required. You get to just enjoy using Aderant from the cloud. A fully-managed private cloud results in more uptime as well as knowing that you have a team of experts on your side to install and manage Aderant while providing you with the support you need. Benefits include:
- No more server and IT headaches.
- Professional support that understands the importance of your reliance on Aderant.
- An easier way to secure the data.
- The ability to access Aderant whenever and where ever you want.
Uptime Practice is a private cloud service exclusively for law firms. We help lawyers just like you move Aderant to the cloud. To learn more about how we can help, reach out to us!
Doing Your Due Diligence
When evaluating private cloud providers, its important to do your homework.The advent of cloud computing is a great thing for the legal industry, but unfortunately it brings many less-than-capable providers to the table.
As you explore providers, ask each one:
- Are they established and well-regarded in the legal community?
- Will your firm’s data be stored inside the US?
- Do you still own your data once you move it to the cloud?
- What kind of backups to they employ?
- How secure is their cloud against hacking or a cyber-attack?
- What happens if their served a subpoena regarding your data?
The custodian of your data is an important role, so we recommend doing your due diligence.