More than a decade ago, Microsoft shifted from selling desktop software licenses to offering subscriptions to a collection of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps called Office 365. Now called Microsoft 365, this software suite is offered in different plans ranging from the basic cloud-only package to the premium cloud-and-desktop package.
Nearly all packages share the same set of apps, namely:
- Word – text editor
- Excel – electronic spreadsheet program
- PowerPoint – slideshow presentation program
- Teams – chat-based communication and collaboration app
- Outlook – email client app that enables individual users to manage their emails
- Exchange – email server app that allows organizations to manage their emails
- OneDrive – cloud storage service
- SharePoint – app for building internal websites for disseminating information, distributing resources, and making files available to read or download
Microsoft helped make the cloud the primary distribution channel for software, and more and more companies are enjoying the benefits of using Microsoft 365. This is true for law firms in the following ways:
Employees can use Microsoft 365 apps wherever they have internet access, which is great for legal practitioners since their work is not bound to the office. Rather, they go out to meet clients, go to court, and travel to different places to gather evidence. Therefore, their apps and files need to be accessible wherever they go.
Document storage and management
Lawyers, paralegals, and other legal professionals open or create new work documents all the time. Having the only copy of a document in their local drive runs the risk of losing the file forever if their device breaks down or gets stolen. Therefore, storing and backing these up in the cloud ensures that they never lose a copy. Additionally, the version history feature in apps like Word allows them to track changes to documents and lets them revert files to previous versions they like best.
Smoother workflows and improved communications
If your law firm is like most, you’re handling many cases and projects simultaneously. Sharing resources and coordinating staff’s efforts are keys for winning cases and finishing projects, so tools like Teams and SharePoint may prove vital.
Beyond enhancing internal communications, such apps also improve client communications, especially when used together with customer relationship management apps like Dynamics 365. Regularly apprise clients of the latest case developments, then store, track, and manage all communications to ensure that you and your clients are always on the same page.
No matter how great a law firm is regarding legal matters, it will crumble once it loses the trust of its clients. Therefore, protecting clients’ privileged information is of paramount importance. Microsoft 365 provides hefty layers of security, such as anti-malware and anti-spam features, password management, identity and access management, and mobile device management in a suite of security apps called Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security.
Does your law firm need Microsoft 365?
If your firm still uses the desktop version of Office or you’re using a patchwork of productivity and security apps, then shifting everything to Microsoft 365 makes perfect sense. First of all, Microsoft 365 apps work well together since they’re all on the same platform. This means that you don’t have to worry about incompatibilities or craft app integrations. Secondly, Microsoft handles all the software updates and vulnerability patches so that you don’t have to implement these yourself.
Naturally, software cost is a major consideration. The Business Basic package is the most affordable at $2.50 per user per month, whereas the Business Premium account includes advanced cybersecurity apps and goes for $20 per user per month. To learn which Microsoft 365 plan is best for your law firm, drop us a line today.