What You Need to Know to Move Aderant to the Cloud
Aderant is a popular legal practice management solution used by law firms to keep track of case matters, billing, and law firm data. However, most law firms that rely on it, do so while it is installed on a local server.With an increase in lawyers who work from home either through a remote work agreement or because they start their own practice from their home, many lawyers wonder if its possible to move Aderant to the cloud.
The answer is yes. We moved Aderant to the cloud. In this post, we’re going to share what we learned from the process.
Related: Aderant – An Uptime Review
An Overview of the Process
The process involved in moving Aderant to the cloud can range from straight-forward and painless to a logistical nightmare, depending on where you move it to, and who is in charge of the migration.
The very first step is first deciding if moving Aderant to the cloud is beneficial for the firm. Next, choose a private cloud that is specifically built with the legal industry in mind. A private cloud provides law firms with a fully-managed IT platform that fulfills the same role as a physical server by storing Aderant (and other software programs, client files, and law firm data). A physical server requires a law firm to invest significant resources into the installation and maintenance of the server. They also require management by someone who knows about the latest data security measures and how to implement them.
While larger law firms sometimes have the necessary talent in-house, small and midsized firms often don’t, which prompts them to consider a private cloud as a holistic solution to management of their Aderant and their IT.
Why Life Is Better in the Cloud
Life is simply better in the cloud.
The cloud isn’t just about being able to work from home (though that is a nice perk). Its about being able to work anywhere. Moving Aderant to the cloud is about not being tethered to your office, to a particular desktop computer. It’s about the freedom to log in, access your Aderant (and the rest of your apps, documents and data) form a client’s computer, from your personal laptop, from a new desktop you just bought.
Life is also better with a private cloud because it increases uptime and decreases IT problems. When a physical server crashes, a law firm is at the mercy of the problem itself. It requires someone with the proper experience to fix the problem and restore access to the program. A good private cloud includes managed IT services and less downtime for programs. Ultimately, moving Aderant to the cloud eliminates IT headaches.
Private clouds can also provide better data security. With physical servers, law firms must ensure that the servers are properly protected with the latest and greatest cybersecurity measures. Technology changes fast. The required resources to continuously protect data on a physical server can become a limited possibility for law firms. This can leave sensitive data at risk. Private clouds designed for use by legal professionals provide excellent cybersecurity that is managed and properly updated on the behalf of users. It’s cost effective and is often more secure because of the type of security measures provided.
What’s Typically Included in a Private Cloud
Typically, a private cloud used for Aderant (that is, one specifically developed for use by the legal profession) will include:
- Hosting. The private server will host (or hold) Aderant and its data along with other legal and productivity software the firm relies on.
- Technical support for the software hosted. This includes installation of and software updates for Aderant and any other software installed on the private cloud.
- Hosted Exchange. Hosted Exchange provides business-grade email security for the entire law office.
- SQL and .Net servers. These are the databases required to run Aderant in the cloud.
- An up-to-date version of Microsoft Office. This is an added bonus for law firms. Software licenses can get expensive, especially for larger firms.
- Help desk support. From log-in to use to questions, great help desk support is essential to a great Aderant in the cloud experience.
- Complete support for your computers & IT.With the right cloud provider, your entire IT environment—desktops, laptops, network, printers, scanners—will be covered by the same support agreement (even when you need help with something that has nothing to do with your cloud platform).
The Migration Process – Moving to a Private Cloud
So, what does the migration process actually look like when moving Aderant to the cloud? Well, the process depends on the private cloud provider you choose.
This is our process here at Uptime Legal:
- Discovery. During the discovery process, we want to learn and understand the current technological environment of the law firm. We want to understand every application you use, including which version. This helps us understand any potential issues that may arise.
- Planning. Next, we create a migration plan. Our goal is to create a carefully coordinated plan and to provide that information to our clients in a way that is easy to understand. We want our clients to know which components will be moved, when they will be moved, and how they will be moved.On our experience, this cuts down on confusion and frustration on the part of our clients because they know what to expect.
- Cloud setup. We build the private cloud from the ground up to meet the needs of our client. We configure it to host Aderant and other software in the cloud.
- Data collection. Next, we begin a systematic process of collecting data and moving it to the cloud. We do this is a way that we’ve found to be practically painless to our clients.
- Launch day. Launch day is the day that the private cloud is activated. With Uptime, it is nearly seamless for users moving from on-premise software to cloud-based use. We will systematically move each component of our law firm’s technology to your new cloud, including:
- Your Aderant software and database
- Your other software applications
- Your file system (your primary network drive or share)
- Your email (typically to hosted Exchange)
- Integration of your printers and scanners
- Training. We provide firm-wide training from day one. Our goal is to make sure that all users are comfortable with the new platform so that they’re able to fulfill their daily tasks.
- Support. It doesn’t matter if the firm is struggling with Aderant in the cloud, logging in to the cloud, or an individual computer, we’re here to help.
And if a law firm doesn’t choose Uptime as their private cloud provider? We hope that, at the very least, the above migration process is a guide to help the firm find a provider they want to work with.
Closing the Loop
Aderant in the cloud provides law firms with the ability to manage the firm’s daily activities from anywhere. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but it’s important to truly consider how it might affect the law firm as a whole. If you’d like to learn more, contact us. We’re glad to help!