How to Use Tabs3 in the Cloud in 2024

Updated: January 9, 2024|In Tabs3, Cloud Computing|By Dennis Dimka

up - tabs3 in the cloud (secondary)Let’s talk about Tabs3 in the Cloud.

The cloud provides the opportunity to get rid of those expensive, in-house servers along with the hassles that come with maintaining the servers and managing IT support.

By choosing the cloud, you also get to work from anywhere, thus bringing flexibility and various benefits to firms that adopt the cloud.

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly how to make this happen, so you can begin running Tabs3 and/or PracticeMaster in the cloud in no time.

We’ll dissect the procedure, discuss the advantages, and give insights on how this shift can notably boost operational adaptability and user ease.

This article aims to shed light on the steps for this transition, harnessing the cloud’s potential to take your law firm to the next level.


Tabs3 and PracticeMaster have stood the test of time as robust practice management, billing, and accounting platforms for law firms. Numerous firms in North America utilize Tabs3 and/or PracticeMaster for managing clients, handling matters, storing documents, and accounting.

However, as premise-based software, there are significant limitations and burdens that accompany this tool. Considering this, it is becoming increasingly popular for firms to consider alternatives to running software that they know and love.

This is where the cloud comes in.

Learn About Uptime Practice

Practice Go

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Just Tabs3 in the Cloud:  Turn Tabs3 into a cloud-based application.  Eliminate servers, access Tabs3 from anywhere.

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All of your software, documents and data in secure Private Cloud.  Work in a flexible virtual desktop environment; optionally add Office 365 + support

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Who This Guide is For

This comprehensive guide is designed for individuals and organizations that currently use Tabs3 or PracticeMaster, or have plans to do so, and want to explore running them in the Cloud.

Some of the people expected to benefit from this guide are:

  • Law Firm Partners: Through driving the IT strategy for their law firm, they are tasked with determining the technology that the firm will use. This responsibility is important because it is directly related to the productivity and success of the law firm.
  • Law Firm Administrators: Aside from the strategy for incorporating software into the firm’s workflow, it is important that the administrators that will be managing the firm’s technology considers the associated maintenance cost and burden.
  • Law Firm IT Consultants: Like the partners, consultants are responsible for ensuring that the correct software is chosen for optimal performance and efficiency for their clients’ particular needs and wants.

(We’ll explain the difference and relationship between the Tabs3 and PracticeMaster products.)

Whether you are using Tabs3, PracticeMaster, or both, this ultimate guide will cover all the essential aspects of moving your practice management, billing, and accounting systems to a cloud-based environment.

Introduction to Tabs3 and PracticeMaster

For those who already know and use Tabs3 and PracticeMaster, please feel free to skip this section. If you’re new to Tabs3, considering it for your firm, or want a refresher on what this software provides, let’s go over our brief overview.

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster are long-standing law firm practice management and legal billing/accounting software, respectively.

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster are traditionally server/desktop-based applications, allowing users to run them on-premise, utilizing their law firm’s in-house servers, or hosted in a Private Cloud environment.

Tabs3 vs. PracticeMaster

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster, by Software Technology Inc. (STI), are collectively a suite of law practice management and accounting software. While Tabs3 and PracticeMaster are capable of functioning as independent applications, they are often acquired and utilized in tandem.

With this considered, we will reference the pair of applications as “Tabs3 and PracticeMaster” due to their frequent implementation as a cohesive unit.

tabs3 dashboard screenshot

At a high level and in collaboration with each other, the Tabs3 + PracticeMaster suite provides:

  • Client & Contact Management
  • Case / Matter Management
  • Time & Billing
  • Calendar
  • Document Management
  • Business & Trust Accounting


Tabs3 and PracticeMaster are commonly understood to be strong management, billing, and accounting platforms for law practices.

Stand-Out Features

Modular and End-to-End Law Practice Software

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster are separate applications, and in that way are modular in nature. They can be used independently for firms that need only front-office or back-office capabilities, or they can be used together for an end-to-end law practice platform.

This versatility allows law firms to decide what they need and receive a more tailored solution.

Network of Authorized Consultants

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster have an authorized consultant program and a large network of independent legal software consultants who can help your firm maximize your investment in the software.

For needs like implementation, training, ongoing support, and general advisement, authorized consultants can truly come in handy.

Solution for Document Management

Tabs3 handles your firm’s accounting and PracticeMaster handles case management.

For firms that need comparable document management, we recommend taking a look at LexWorkplacea cloud-based software capable of handling all of your firm’s documents, emails, and more.

Tabs3 All Actions

Who Tabs3 is Good For

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster are particularly well-suited for law firms that require a comprehensive solution to handle both billing and accounting, including trust accounting, in addition to sophisticated client and case management. The integrated suite offered by Tabs3 and PracticeMaster allows law firms to effectively manage both front-office and back-office functions within a single platform.

This eliminates the need for separate software to manage practice operations and accounting, streamlining processes and improving efficiency.

Don’t Sacrifice the Right Software for the Cloud

The cloud is very useful for numerous reasons, which we’ll identify shortly, and is especially beneficial for small to midsize law firms.

With that being considered, some law firms seeking the reliability, security, and mobility of the cloud assume that the only way to achieve these benefits is to abandon the premise-based software that they know and love in order to move to a web-based software application.

This is not the case.

In Love with a Server-Based Software?

Use Uptime Practice to Host It on the Cloud!

  • Get Your Firm's Software to the Cloud
  • Access it From Anywhere
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  • Pursue a Virtual Law Firm
  • Get Included Support

Compared to many web-based law practice management applications, it is true that Tabs3 stands out as a robust and fully developed software solution. Tabs3 offers comprehensive practice management and accounting features that surpass the capabilities of numerous web-based alternatives available today.

Remember that while web-based applications can offer convenience and accessibility, they may sometimes have limitations in terms of functionality and depth of features.

Tabs3, on the other hand, provides a robust set of tools that cater to the complex requirements of law firms.

We’ve witnessed more than a few law firms move from robust applications, like Tabs3, to a web-based alternative… only to be disappointed and eventually switch back because their needs and expectations were not met.

We understand that the cloud is amazing (because it is). However, let’s stop the pattern here.

The good news is that you can keep the software you’re committed to and enjoy the benefits of the cloud through a Tabs3 hosting solution that places your premise-based software in the cloud, so you have the best of both options.

Learn More about Tabs3 and PracticeMaster

RelatedTabs3 & PracticeMaster: Complete Review, Features, Pricing:  Understand Tabs3 and PracticeMaster on a deeper level, so you know what is the best decision for your firm.

Related7 Reasons Your Law Firm Should Consider Tabs3: Learn exactly why Tabs3 is a good choice for your firm (or isn’t).

Why Tabs3 is Better in the Cloud

Tabs3 is great, yet it’s even better in the cloud.

Most law firms find that when they transfer operations to the cloud, they have a much better workflow and overall office contentment rises.

Utilizing Tabs3 in the cloud is no exception to this pattern.

With some help, you can run Tabs3 in the cloud and reap the benefits that other firms have found by switching to this interface.

Allow me to explain why Tabs3 in the cloud is significantly better than the dated, on-premise operations, and then we’ll cover exactly how you can move Tabs3 to the cloud.


The Best of Both Worlds

If you want more mobility, accessibility, and security with your software, you’ll find that operating Tabs3 in the cloud will provide exactly what you’re looking for.

Tabs3 is a rich, robust, and comprehensive platform that many law firms love to use for managing firms’ cases and accounting. Bringing Tabs3 to the cloud allows your firm to see the best of both worlds by allowing you to reap the benefits of both sides of on-premise software and cloud interface.

I recommend coming into the modern day by choosing to run your robust legal software in the cloud, with little to no hassle in the process, while solving all the problems that come with on-premise software.


Managing Servers & IT is a Pain

As you may know by now, purchasing, operating, and maintaining on-premise servers has been a necessary evil for years – with no other option to relieve the stress and issues that accompany it. It was simply the case that if you wanted to have quality legal practice management software, you were required to join the misery.

I know that applications like Tabs3 bring a lot of value to your firm, but since it requires a server in some form or fashion, allow me to remind you of some reasons why that’s less than ideal to run them in their native intention.

Servers require a lot of maintenance, both proactive (to keep it up and running) and reactive (fixing things when they break).

To effectively run Tabs3 and PracticeMaster on-premise, the following considerations and actions are typically involved:

  • Purchase Server Equipment Every 3-5 Years: It is necessary to replace server hardware in this time frame to ensure optimal performance, reliability, and compatibility with the software. Perhaps more importantly, if you don’t replace them in good time, you risk server failure and potential data loss.
  • Purchase and Implement Microsoft SQL Server: Acquiring the appropriate SQL Server licenses and implementing them is crucial for the proper functioning of the software.
  • Implement and Manage Backups & Disaster Recovery: Establishing a robust backup and disaster recovery plan is essential to protect critical data and ensure business continuity. This involves implementing regular backups of the Tabs3 and PracticeMaster databases and devising strategies for data restoration in the event of hardware failure or other emergencies.
  • Implement and Manage Data Security: Implementing data encryption, access controls, and other security measures helps protect both yours and your clients’ data from being compromised.
  • Perform Routine Preventative Server/IT Maintenance: Regular server maintenance is necessary to ensure that your servers and general IT environment is running optimally and without the chance of failure. This includes monitoring server health, addressing hardware or software issues, and conducting routine maintenance tasks.
  • Retain an IT Consultant or Firm: Retaining an IT consultant or IT firm can provide ongoing support, assistance, and expertise in managing and maintaining the server infrastructure, SQL Server, backups, security, and overall IT operations.

These steps are important to maintain a secure and reliable on-premise environment for Tabs3 and PracticeMaster. However, it is worth considering that alternative options, such as cloud hosting, can alleviate some of the responsibilities and costs associated with on-premise infrastructure and IT management.

Running Tabs3 in the cloud (Tabs3 hosting) on the other hand, gives you the benefits of having Tabs3, without the inherent drawbacks of server ownership.

Uptime Practice was a true miracle when the pandemic struck.  We moved to Uptime Practice and were working immediately.

Todd Tracy  –  The Tracy Law Group, PLLC


Work from Anywhere

The traditional setup of being tied to a single computer, office, or location can be a significant disadvantage for modern law firms. In today’s dynamic work environment, attorneys and support staff require the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere, and from various devices.

Here are some key reasons why mobility is crucial for the modern law firm:

  • Remote Work – Being able to work remotely is helpful for attorneys and staff to continue their productivity regardless of where they’re operating from. In our modern day, we find that remote work is increasingly popular.
  • Time Entry – Tracking billable time is important to ensure that you aren’t missing out on proper time tracking and that you know exactly how much time you’ve spent working with any client.
  • Document Handling – Oftentimes, attorneys find that they need to access and review documents on the go. Without a proper solution for remote access, you may be relying on dated methods to ensure that you are prepared when the time comes.

Running Tabs3 in the cloud gives your entire firm the same access to your software If you want your entire firm to have the same access to your software, running Tabs3 will accomplish this and,  with the right solution, provide access to all of your applications, documents and email from any device and from any location.

Choosing the cloud allows you to unchain from the office and ditch clunky VPN or remote-computer-login “solutions.” Tabs3 in the cloud, via a Private Cloud, provides a secure, easy-to-use Virtual Desktop that gives you access to your legal software, documents, and email from anywhere.

tabs 3 Quick Launch

Data Security & Compliance

Ensuring the security of firm and client data ought to be a top priority for law firms.

With the increasing prevalence of cyber-attacks combined with the tightening of compliance requirements, it is crucial for firms to take proactive measures to protect sensitive information.

Your Tabs3, and your law firm’s data, is orders of magnitude more secure in a reputable cloud platform. Cloud service providers are in the very business of keeping their client’s data secure, and usually employ the following security measures.

Both your Tabs3 software and your law firm’s data are substantially more secure in a reputable cloud platform than on some servers kept in the office.

As Cloud Service Providers, the business of keeping clients’ data secure is not only essential but to be expected.

Consider the following security measures that these providers keep in place:

  • Data Encryption In-Transit and At-Rest
  • And-to-End Virus Protection
  • Protection Against Ransomware
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Redundant Data Centers
  • Backups with Point-In-Time Recovery
  • Enterprise-Grade Firewall Protection
  • Active Threat Monitoring
  • Regular Security Patching
  • Dedicated Private Network Per Firm
  • Dedicated Private Virtual Servers

Cloud Security

Now compare that to a server that’s likely sitting somewhere in your law firm’s office. In our experience, it’s probably in a coat closet, copy room, or something similar in terms of vulnerability and economic consideration.

It just doesn’t make much financial sense for any but the largest law firms with in-house servers to invest in security that’s worthwhile and comparable to what you would find with a good Cloud Service Provider.

These providers can rationalize the investment required to build and manage bank-grade security. As a client withing that system, you would get to exist within fortune-500 caliber infrastructure without shelling out the costs to do so.

A common misunderstanding is that just because your data is in your physical building it’s somehow so much more secure. However, you need to remember that if your firm (a) has a server, and (b) is connected to the Internet, then you’re already on the cloud, in a way that hackers and other online threats can reach you.

The only real question is: Who’s managing your security? (Or – is it being managed at all?)


Related – Law Firm Cloud Security – 12 Things to Look For:  One of the best features of a good cloud provider is enhanced security without extra effort. Ensure you’re getting this great benefit!


Work With Windows and Macs

The use of Mac computers is becoming increasingly common among law firms. Many law firms, both large and small, are adopting Mac computers either exclusively or as part of a mixed Windows and Mac environment. Additionally, individual attorneys, including senior partners, often use Mac computers for their work from home or while on the go.

The popularity of Mac computers in the legal industry can be attributed to various factors, including user preference, design, reliability, and software compatibility. Macs offer a user-friendly and intuitive interface, robust hardware, and a strong ecosystem of software applications that cater to the specific needs of legal professionals.

Most desktop-based law firm software is Windows based, which severely limits the potential for Mac users to work from operating systems that they’re most productive from.

Historically, the only real solution required running Parallels or similar virtual Windows software on your Mac, which is infamously slow and clunky.

RunningTabs3 in the cloud, particularly in a Virtual Desktop platform, gives your Mac users the exact same access to your Tabs3 (and the rest of your law firm software) as your PC users. Virtual Desktops are, by their nature, platform agnostic.


More Reliability, Less Downtime

Capable Private Cloud platforms like Uptime Practice (it’s in the name) are built with enterprise-grade infrastructures, and managed round-the-clock by professionals. This is important because it minimizes downtime for your firm while maximizing productivity.

Professional-grade Private Cloud solutions typically include:

  • Redundant Physical Servers
  • Redundant Routers & Network Equipment
  • Redundant Upstream Internet Providers
  • Redundant Data / Hard Drive Arrays
  • Geographically Redundant Data Centers
  • Multiple Redundant Data Backups
  • Point-in-Time Data Recovery / Restoration
  • Routine System Maintenance & Patching
  • 24 x 7 x 365 System Monitoring

All of these measures add up to reliability and uptime for your systems and your law firm.

cloud hosting

Flexible & Scalable

The cloud is flexible and scalable, and running Tabs3 in the cloud is no different.

Private Cloud solutions offer law firms the ability to scale resources as needed, ensuring agility without the financial burden of server ownership.

With the flexibility to add or remove users, applications, storage, and features, law firms can easily adapt to changing requirements.


More Economical

In our extensive experience working with law firms, we have conducted detailed numerous financial analyses comparing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) between Private Cloud and on-premise IT solutions.

Our findings consistently reveal that the TCO is significantly lower in a Private Cloud environment.

This comparison accounts for various factors, including upfront costs, ongoing monthly expenses, and potential unplanned IT costs associated with server ownership and local IT support.

We will delve into the economics of running Tabs3 in the cloud below, providing a comprehensive understanding of the financial benefits. Additionally, we will provide useful tools to assist you in conducting your own financial analysis, empowering you to make informed decisions regarding your law firm’s IT infrastructure.



As more of us are capable of working from home, remote/hybrid work threatens decentralization.

If you’re part of a law firm with multiple locations, you know this problem well and have known it for a while. Now add remote/hybrid employees, and the risk of data and applications being too spread apart across numerous locations becomes even more pronounced.

A Private Cloud platform serves as your firm’s single, central hub, where Tabs3, PracticeMaster, Office, and all of your firm’s other applications and data lives. Imagine one system to log into and one virtual workplace, regardless of the geographical makeup of your team.

Related Video:

Why You’re Struggling to Work from Home

Tabs3 as a Cloud App

Tabs3 is fundamentally premise-based software.

That means, by default, it’s designed to run on a server, typically within a law firm’s office.  Compare this to cloud-based software that was designed to run in a web browser.

You can, however, still run Tabs3 in the cloud, as a cloud app.  There are a few different ways to accomplish this, as we’ll cover next.

A straightforward approach to moving Tabs3 to the cloud is by utilizing a cloud platform like Practice Go. With this solution, Tabs3 can be run as a published application or web application, essentially transforming it into a web app.

This option is suitable when a law firm primarily requires Tabs3 to be hosted in the cloud and already has a cloud strategy in place for their other systems and software. It provides a seamless cloud experience for Tabs3 while leveraging the firm’s existing cloud infrastructure.

However, if the law firm is seeking a more comprehensive cloud solution, they may consider evaluating Private Cloud or Virtual Desktop solutions. These options provide a more holistic approach to cloud adoption, allowing for the hosting and management of multiple applications and systems in the cloud environment.

This broader cloud strategy can offer enhanced flexibility, scalability, and centralization of IT resources for the law firm.

Tabs3 in a Private Cloud

Now that we’ve covered why Tabs3 is better in the cloud, let’s talk about how exactly Tabs3 in the cloud works. To do that, let’s first take a short step back and describe the difference between cloud-based (web-based) software and desktop/server-based software.

Before cloud computing was mainstream, most software in the world (including practice management software such as Tabs3) was installed on the firm’s on-premise server, and ran from each of the employee’s desktop computers. The software’s “engine,” or core components (including the database) lived on the server. All of this meant that using this software, such as Tabs3, necessitated a server.

Previously, owning and maintaining a server was a fundamental requirement to use law firm management software like Tabs3 and PracticeMaster. Law firms had to invest in and manage their own servers and in-house IT infrastructure in order to run these software applications. Owning a server was considered a necessary evil, as it was understood as a prerequisite for utilizing the software.

And that’s simply the way it was.

Until today.

Cloud Data Storage

Today, we utilize a technology called a Private Cloud.

A private cloud is a hosted, managed IT platform that provides the same (or better) function that a server would; it hosts a law firm’s legal applications, documents, email, and more, while providing greater mobility, reliability, and security.

On-premise software like Tabs3 requires a server – that hasn’t changed. In the case of a private cloud, the private cloud acts as the server.

To  further elaborate, a typical law firm private cloud for Tabs3 will often include:

  • Hosting for Tabs3 and your other legal software
  • Cloud storage – a file-system for your files and folders
  • Support for Tabs3 – including updates and maintenance
  • Office 365 – for productivity
  • Microsoft SQL Server — Database Engine for Tabs3
  • Exchange Email
  • All necessary server maintenance, backups, and security
  • IT Help Desk support for your team

The “Private” in Private Cloud

Private Clouds are so-called because every law firm (called a “tenant,” in cloud computing parlance), has their own segregated, dedicated working environment.

In most cases, that means:

  • Dedicated/Private Virtual Servers
  • Dedicated/Private Virtual Network (VLAN)
  • Dedicated/Private Active Directory
  • Dedicated/Private SQL Server/SQL Database

If you’re not familiar with these technologies:

What it amounts to is that separate from other law firms, your law firm has its own private space for its software, documents, and data to give your firm an added level of data security and privacy.


Related – Private Cloud 101 for Law Firms:  Learn the fundamentals of a private cloud.

That’s the “back-end” of running Tabs3 in the cloud. On the front end, you and your team will interact with the Private Cloud through a Virtual Desktop.

Tabs3 in a Virtual Desktop

We’ve covered the benefits of running Tabs3 in the cloud, and how a Private Cloud is a means to that end. But what does working in a Private Cloud look like? How will each person in your firm use it?

The answer is: a Virtual Desktop.

A Virtual Desktop is essentially a cloud-hosted desktop environment that mirrors the familiar desktop experience you are accustomed to using on your Windows or Apple desktop at home or work. It provides you with anytime, anywhere access to your desktop, allowing you to work seamlessly from various devices.

With a Virtual Desktop, you have access to essential software applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, as well as your specific law practice management software, accounting software, and document management software.

These applications are installed and available within your Virtual Desktop environment, enabling you to efficiently perform your daily tasks without the need for local installations.

The Virtual Desktop serves as a centralized hub where you can securely store and access your files, collaborate with colleagues, and manage your legal workflows. It eliminates the need to rely on a specific physical device or location, granting you the freedom to work from any device with an internet connection.

Virtual Desktop solutions are sometimes also referred to as “Desktop-as-a-Service,” or DaaS (analogous to “Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS).

How Virtual Desktops Work

In a traditional computing environment, your core law firm software is installed on your physical, local desktop. This would be the workstation or laptop you use in the office. In this traditional model, everything runs locally, and your applications are installed on your individual computer.

In contrast, a Virtual Desktop environment has very few, if any, applications are actually installed on your local computer.

Often, the only icon on your local desktop is a shortcut to log into your Virtual Desktop.

virtual desktop for law firms

When you (or anyone in your team) logs into your Virtual Desktop, you’ll have access to all of your law firm’s software, documents, and data, including:

  • Your Tabs3 Software
  • Your Other Legal Software
  • Your Productivity Software (Microsoft Office)
  • Your Documents, Files and Folders
  • Your Outlook & Email

This gives your entire firm access to Tabs3 (and all of your applications, documents and data) from anywhere, on any device.

Virtual Desktops also mean that you no longer have to install, update, and maintain each of your applications on every computer within your firm. Instead, your Cloud Service Provider simply keeps all software updated for you.


Related – Virtual Desktops for Law Firms: How They Work, and Why Your Law Firm Should Probably Use Them.

Should My Law Firm Use Virtual Desktops?

Virtual Desktops bring many advantages to law firms. Specifically, Virtual Desktops are likely the best technology route in any of the following scenarios.

  • Your firm is committed to the Tabs3 / PracticeMaster Software
  • Your firm uses a combination of devices (Windows, Macs, Tablets)
  • Your firm needs to be able to work from anywhere
  • You're tired of dealing with servers and IT headaches
  • Your firm needs to keep your applications an data secure

We’ll cover selecting the right Virtual Desktop provider, and doing your due diligence, shortly.

Virtual Desktops Demonstrated

For an example of working in a Virtual Desktop, watch our demonstration of Uptime Practice.

Migration: How to Move Tabs3 to the Cloud

Now that we have a clear understanding of how Tabs3 in the Cloud operates and the advantages it offers, let’s explore the process of moving Tabs3 to the Cloud.

Moving Tabs3 to the Cloud is typically facilitated by a chosen Cloud Service Provider (CSP). The CSP will handle the necessary steps and configurations involved in migrating Tabs3 to the Cloud environment.

Steps to Move Tabs3 to the Cloud

Step 1: Onboarding Project Manager

A single point of contact is the best way to start the process of migrating Tabs3 to the cloud.

Your project manager (at Uptime Legal, we call this person the Onboarding Manger) should begin by clearly setting expectations and clearly communicating the steps that will be taken, so you don’t have any uncertainty about that path ahead.

Specifically, your Onboarding Manager should define specific timelines, expectations, and what is required from you for a successful migration.

Step 2: Discovery

While a good cloud service provider will have a well-defined and tested process for onboarding, the process is never exactly the same because no two firms are exactly the same.

A good Tabs3 cloud migration should begin with deep research and understanding of the firm’s current environment, including:

  • Inventory of Software to be Migrated
  • Inventory of all Documents and Data
  • Identifying Email Accounts and Settings
  • Documenting Third-Party Services, Logins, and Accounts
  • Inventory of Network Devices and Peripherals
  • Testing of Firm Internet Speed

Step 3: Build

Next, your Tabs3 hosting provider will begin building your private cloud environment.

A good provider will have successfully completed this task numerous times to reach a point where they can build your private cloud quickly. The Onboarding Manager and engineering team must install your software, provision your email accounts, and generally build the “shell” of your complete IT platform.

This process includes:

  • Provisioning of Virtual Servers
  • Setup of Each User Profile / Virtual Desktop
  • Installation of Your Firm's Software
  • Setup of Your File System (Including Permissions)
  • Thorough Testing of Your New Cloud Environment

Step 4: Go-Live

Next, your Tabs3 cloud provider will begin the process of collecting your data from current locations. Each element of your firm’s technology will be moved over, component-by-component.

This cutover process includes:

  • Each Applications Data/Database (including Tabs3)
  • Your Filesystem, Files, and Folders
  • Your Email Mailboxes and Distribution Groups
  • Utility Functions (Print Servers, DHCP, DNS, etc.)

The physical transfer should be seamless and finish with all data transferred securely to your new cloud platform. Once the data has finished being imported, the Onboarding Manager and his team should thoroughly test every application, computer, and peripheral.

Ensure that your Tabs3 CSP is willing to be flexible with the migration. If it’s executed in the evening or the weekend, the process will not impede your firm’s daily operations or result in significant downtime.

Step 5: Training & Ongoing Support

RelatedTabs3 Support: So, you want to get Tabs3. Read this article to ensure you have the best support possible.

A good Tabs3 hosting provider knows that first impressions matter.

Achieving employee adoption of a new system, such as Tabs3 in the Cloud, hinges on the availability of a reliable and user-friendly platform right from the start. Your chosen cloud provider should have a comprehensive training plan in place to ensure that your entire staff is well-equipped to use the system effectively.

Additionally, they should offer ongoing support and guidance to address any concerns or challenges that may arise during the transition.

However, the onboarding process should not be limited to the migration phase alone.

A reputable Tabs3 cloud hosting provider will have systems in place to provide on-demand support and account management services.

This ensures that beyond the day-to-day technical needs, you have a dedicated partner and legal technology advisor who can offer guidance and support as your firm continues to leverage the cloud environment.

It cannot be emphasized enough that a meticulously managed onboarding process is vital for a seamless and successful transition to the cloud.

Cloud Migration

Following the outlined steps and working with a reliable cloud provider who prioritizes training, support, and ongoing account management will significantly increase the likelihood of a smooth and successful transition for Tabs3 and your law firm.

The Economics of Tabs3 in the Cloud

In addition to the functional advantages such as enhanced reliability, security, and mobility, there is a compelling financial case for moving Tabs3 to the cloud.

Running Tabs3 in-house with on-premise servers can be more expensive than it may initially appear.

You need to buy servers, ancillary IT infrastructure (backup systems, battery backups, etc.), and you need to hire a capable IT consultant to set up the server, proactively manage it, and perform continued maintenance.

Beyond the expected cost, the actual cost will always be higher than you think it’ll be.

To understand the economics of moving Tabs3 to the cloud, we need to compare a Private Cloud solution to the costs of in-house, on-premise servers and IT.

Watch the Video:

On-Premise IT

Up-Front Costs

Each server cycle (3-5 years) requires the buying and implementing of new server infrastructure, and this usually includes:

  • Server Purchase
  • Backup Hardware & Software
  • UPS / Battery Backup
  • Windows Server Licensing
  • SQL Server Licensing
  • Desktop / Network Setup
  • Implementation (IT Consultant)

If you want a sense of your total, up-front cost of another cycle of on-premise IT, I recommend that you get pricing for each item on this list, record it in a spreadsheet, and add up the various costs to determine the up-front price tag.

Take time to ensure that you are not missing anything.

Keep in mind that these costs are ultimately driven by the software your law firm uses.

How many and how powerful of servers do you need? Do you need multiple, dedicated servers? Will you need VMWare virtualization? This is ultimately determined by the software you use (namely: Practice Management and Document Management software) and the server requirements of those applications.

Upfront Cost to On-Premise Software

Use our Cloud Cost Calculator to tally up all relevant up-front costs for your firm.

Ongoing Costs

Next, analyze costs incurred on an ongoing basis. Identify monthly recurring costs, as well as annual costs (renewals, maintenance), and determine your average monthly or annual recurring costs.

For most law firms, these often include:

  • Managed IT Service
  • User Support / IT Help Desk
  • Offsite / Remote Backup
  • Remote Access Solution (VPN, RDS, etc.)
  • Practice Management Software
  • Office 365
  • Security Maintenance & Renewals

Add up what you currently spend, or will spend, on an ongoing basis. This should include fixed monthly costs (such as a Managed IT Provider contract) as well as sporadic, less predictable costs (such as hourly IT support).

For the latter, if you’re unsure of a reasonable budget for this amount, I recommend finding the average over the past two three years.

Add all of these up and determine your average monthly IT spend.

On-Premise Costs: Unplanned

Finally, it’s important to budget for unplanned IT expenses when running Tabs3 in-house.

Despite proactive IT measures, unforeseen IT problems can still occur, necessitating additional costs for troubleshooting and repairs. By allocating resources for such contingencies, law firms can minimize disruptions and ensure continuity in their operations.

These unplanned costs may take the form of:

  • Unplanned Server Crashes
  • Unplanned Network Repair
  • Unplanned Data Recovery Costs
  • Software Updates that Prompt Server Upgrades

As you can see, some costs are fixed and predictable, and others are wildly unpredictable (but should be budgeted or accounted for in some way).

The last step is to add up your up-front costs, monthly recurring costs, and your budget for unplanned/unforeseen costs:

This is your Total Cost of Ownership for on-premise IT.

Compare to Private Cloud

Now compare this Total Cost of Ownership to that of a Private Cloud.

We have established that Private Cloud offers better advantages in terms of reliability, security, and mobility compared to in-house IT.

Additionally, when comparing the costs of in-house IT with cloud-based IT, it becomes evident that Private Cloud is a more cost-effective option.

Private Cloud costs typically include:

  • One-time Implementation Fee, typically ranges from $2000 to $6000
  • All-Inclusive Monthly Fee, often around $105 to $159 / User / Month

As a reminder, the right Private Cloud provider’s cost will include all of the technology that you would otherwise need to purchase, operate, and maintain. Plus, the on-premise IT is full of hidden and unpredictable costs.

Fully-managed Private Cloud costs are simple, clear, and predictable.


Related – The Financial Case for Cloud for Law Firms:  The cloud can be substantially more cost-effective than its alternatives. Learn more.

Doing Your Due Diligence & Mitigating Risk

With an understanding of why Tabs3 in the cloud is better, how it works, and what it takes to move it to the cloud, let’s discuss what it means to do you due diligence and mitigate your risk.

There are a variety of ways your firm could accomplish a transition of Tabs3 to the cloud. Whatever direct your firm goes, it’s important to do your homework.

In recent years, it’s become popular for companies to claim “Hey, we do Tabs3 cloud hosting now too!” From the smaller IT shops to the larger, generalist cloud service providers, it has become common for companies to make these claims to try reeling in law firms.

However, choosing one of these options could prove to be a pitfall for you.

Here’s why.

Running and maintaining Tabs3 in the cloud isn’t for amateurs.

In particular, hosting Tabs3 requires special configuration and deep software expertise. “How to properly engage in due diligence when selecting a Private Cloud provider for your law firm” is a subject unto itself, but here are a few key areas to review when evaluating potential hosting companies:

  • Verify Hosting Experience: Check if the provider has hosted Tabs3 for at least 20 law firms.
  • Data Security: Ensure data encryption in-transit and at-rest
  • Data Backup and Redundancy: Confirm multiple data center backups across the US.
  • Legal Compliance: Understand how the provider handles subpoenas regarding your data
  • Data Sovereignty: Verify that your data stays within your country.
  • Data Ownership: Ensure exclusive ownership of your data.
  • Data Center Certification: Check for SSAE16 audits and certifications.
  • Server Equipment Ownership: Verify if the provider owns the servers.
  • Uptime Guarantee: Confirm at least 99.99% uptime.
  • Software Licensing Compliance: Ensure compliance with software licensing requirements.
  • Provider Size: Understand the provider's revenue and employee count.

Once you’ve developed a short list of potential Tabs3 hosting providers, do your homework on each company.

We recommend:

  • Obtaining and contacting references
  • Asking for and reviewing the provider's case studies / success stories
  • Reading the available Google reviews for the provider

Quick Tip: In order to see Google reviews for a Private Cloud provider (or any business for that matter), a simple google search should bring up the reviews in the results for any reputable company.

For example, here’s ours:

Uptime Legal Reviews

Learn more about doing your due diligence:

Related – 25 Things To Ask Your Legal Private Cloud Provider: Ensure you’re getting the best provider for your cloud-hosting needs.

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster in the Cloud – Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. You can run Tabs3 in a Private Cloud with a company that specializes in hosting law firm software.

Tabs3 can be moved to the Private Cloud by a company that specializes in hosting law firm software. Learn more.

A Private Cloud provides all necessary IT functions without the need to maintain on-premise servers. Learn more.

A Virtual Desktop allows your law firm to access and use your legal and productivity software from any device. Learn more.

It depends on the cloud provider. With a reputable provider, a Private Cloud is orders of magnitude more reliable than maintaining on-premise servers.

It depends on the cloud provider. With a reputable provider, a Private Cloud is orders of magnitude more secure than maintaining on-premise servers.

It depends on the cloud provider, the number of users in your firm and the other technology needs of your firm. For many law firms, running Tabs3 in the Cloud costs between $115 and $159 / User / Month. Learn more.

It depends on the cloud provider. As such, you should read the contract carefully, and ensure there is explicit language to this effect.

This depends on the provider. Some cloud providers require that a third-party VAR or IT consultant perform all updates (avoid these providers). Uptime Practice, by contrast, manages all software updates and maintenance for you.

Now that cloud computing is mainstream many bar associations have shared their opinions on cloud computing, and even recommend it. According to an article posted on the ABA website:

“Most fears about trusting client information to ‘the Internet’ are misplaced. One misconception is that client information may be intercepted as it travels across the Internet. Modern encryption has progressed to the point where it is unbreakable. Cloud companies understand that their reputations for protecting customer information are crucial. A single security breach would cost them dearly. Your client information is more secure stored on a reputable, professionally managed cloud server than on your office computers.”

This depends on the cloud provider. In the case of Uptime Practice, your Private Cloud will work with virtually all printers, scanners and peripherals. Your local and network printers will appear and work within your virtual desktop just as they do on your local computer.

Tabs3​ is Windows-based, and cannot run on a Mac computer. However, certain Virtual Desktop solutions, such as Uptime Practice, enable you to run Tabs3 in a cloud desktop from your Mac computer.

Ready to Move Tabs3 to the Cloud?

At Uptime Legal, we host Tabs3 and other legal software for hundreds of law firms across North America.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about Tabs3 in the cloud for your law firm.

Learn More

Learn More about running Tabs3 in the Cloud.

Uptime Practice:

The IT & Cloud Platform for Law Firms.

Uptime Practice is a suite of Managed IT and cloud services, made exclusively for law firms.

Practice Next

Technology + Legal Software Support for Modern Law Firms

Practice Next is a suite of Managed IT, Legal Software Support, and Cloud Essentials, made just for law firms.

  • Practice Next is a suite managed IT, technology essentials and legal software support.

  • Practice Next includes unlimited IT and legal software support, Microsoft 365, legal-centric cloud storage and more.

  • Practice Next pairs great with cloud-based legal software such as Clio Manage, CosmoLex, MyCase and more.

Learn More →

Practice Go

Cloudify Your Legal App

Does your law firm already have a cloud strategy, but have one premise-based application still running on onsite servers? Practice Go is for you.

  • With Practice Go, we effectively turn your desktop/server- based legal software into a cloud application (a Published App), freeing your firm from the limitations of traditional software.
  • Practice Go can cloudify your PCLaw, Time Matters, Tabs3, ProLaw, Juris, QuickBooks and more.
Learn More →

Practice Foundation

Complete Private Cloud for Law Firms

If your law firm needs a central, secure cloud platform for all of your legal software, documents and data, Practice Foundation is for you.

  • Practice Foundation is an end-to-end cloud platform that will host all of your firm's applications and documents, and will optionally include Office 365 + unlimited IT support. Everyone in your firm logs into a Virtual Desktop where they'll find all of their apps and docs.

  • Practice Foundation works with PCLaw, Time Matters, Tabs3, ProLaw, Juris, QuickBooks, Timeslips, TrialWorks, Adobe Acrobat and more.

Learn More →

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