Your Technology Budget and
Troy Henley, Columbus Bar Association
computing services, cloud computing:
These terms refer to a newer computing model where the end-user
simply subscribes to a service and accesses it over the internet
rather than buying and maintaining their own internal server hardware
example, instead of maintaining your own office email system, you
pay a small monthly fee to a company that will maintain, support,
upgrade, troubleshoot and backup an off-site, business-grade email
system which you access over the internet. Further, most hosted
service companies have their equipment parked in Tier II to Tier
IV data centers. That built-in redundancy is something that would
cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for an office to duplicate.
Hosted services provide you with a level of redundancy and failover
that is economically out of reach of most law practices. (See Tech
Notes at the bottom of this article for what comprises the different
Farming out parts of your network will allow you to focus more time
on your core business of practicing law and not having to spend
time maintaining computer network services such as : email servers,
network faxing integration, spam filtering software, Smartphone
synchronization servers. If you have a technology proficient staff
member who assists with your office’s technology issues, this
will also relieve them from the support burden and allow them focus
on your law practice. In addition to eliminating one of your staff
members many “hats”, you are replacing them with a team
of dedicated IT professionals that run and maintain the hosted systems.
A large trade-up!
Hosted email services are not the same type of system you have grown
accustomed to for your home email account. This is a fully functional
email server (Microsoft Exchange, Novell GroupWise, Linux based
systems). So it gives you the full experience you have grown accustomed
to with your current office system. These hosted email solutions
support email distribution groups, calendars, contacts and tasks.
Many hosting services also give you lots of free add-ons such as
free Postini spam filtering, free Outlook software and free Outlook
and server upgrades as new versions of both server and client software
are released. Hosting services can also provide the Enterprise-grade
synchronization software needed for pushing data out to Blackberry,
iPhone and Treo smart phones. Event Microsoft is getting into the
hosted services business.
These hosted solutions can offer a full feature list comparable
to what you would have with your own, in-house email server….with
five major advantages:
1) Slash your Total Cost of Ownership: No hardware
or software to purchase, no upgrades to buy. No support plans to
purchase, no consultants to pay.
2) Time Savings: Elimination of upport\troubleshooting\upgrade
3) The Highest Level of Disaster Recovery and Backup.
4) Predictable Costs: The costs are known and predictable.
5) Highly Scalable: As your law practice grows,
hosted services will accommodate the growth of your expanding office
with little difficulty. Most hosted services are highly scalable.
If your case management docketing integrates with Outlook calendars
than this hosted email service may not be an option for your. Depending
on the case management system you are using, it may need access
to an email server on the local network. More and more case management
systems are offering integration with hosted email services. This
varies from program to program and vendor to vendor.
Another popular office technology to farm out to a hosting company
is network faxing. Network faxing services integrate directly with
your office email account, allowing you to send and receive faxes
directly from your email client (Outlook, Groupwise…etc.).
Not only is the hosted solution much cheaper than investing in network
faxing software, server hardware, modem board and a DID phone line,
but also provides seamless integration with your email program.
Network faxing is a paperless office solution that will help cut
your paper\toner expenses while providing a much higher level of
functionality and meeting your green initiatives.
Incoming faxes appear as an email, the fax is typically a PDF file
attachment. So you have instant notification of your incoming faxes
and they are already digitized for easy archival and retrieval or
routing to another office member. Network faxing also gives you
the ability to read your faxes on any PDF supported Smartphone such
as the Blackberry or Treo. Additionally, you can drag and drop faxes
into your case management system for organizational purposes.
Hosted Service Providers:
– hosted email solutions, low monthly rates, no contracts.
- hosted network faxing solution. No software\hardware to buy or
install. They can integrate your existing fax number or provide
you with new fax numbers. You only need to provide them with a list
of user names, their associated email addresses and their fax numbers,
this company does the rest!
– hosted email solutions.
National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Telecommunications
Industry Association (TIA) are two organizations that
formulate standards for the industry to follow. The TIA developed
a specification entitled TIA-942: Telecommunications Infrastructure
Standard for Data Centers. This is perhaps the most widely referenced
standard when talking about data center facility availability. From
the title you might think this specification is for telecom data
centers. It is, but it’s much broader in scope. TIA covers
cabling, space layout, site selection criteria, and infrastructure
Industry Standard “Tier III Data Center” – No
annual shutdowns for maintenance are required. Composed of multiple
active power and cooling distribution paths. One active data path.
Has redundant components, and is concurrently maintainable, providing