Republished with the permission of Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the dynamic from a “work from home” environment to a “living at work” environment, Ross L. Nelson, vice president at Cox Business Northeast, likes to say. That dynamic is just one of the reasons why the use of Cox’s cloud services has skyrocketed over the last year.
Factor in the flexibility, security and increasing comfort of lawyers and staff in working remotely, and the time is ripe for law firms to move to cloud services. “By moving to the cloud, law firms can have the possibility of having lawyers work from home or work from anywhere, at any time — and safely,” Nelson says.
Nelson recently sat down with Lawyers Weekly to discuss what Cox can offer.
Q: Tell me about the cloud landscape. How has it evolved in the past year with the arrival of the pandemic?
A: We’ve had a tremendous amount of interest in our services over the last year as the dynamics of work have completely changed. Having employees remote from the office presents a lot of challenges for employers, from the availability of a network and applications to the physical and mental challenges facing employees.
What has changed is that people have become a lot more comfortable being remote, being on video calls and working in the cloud. The cloud provides so much freedom, mobility and scalability, as well as capital savings. In the past, a network would reside on desktops or laptops.
Now all that data is stored immediately in the cloud, so it is available to employees anywhere, at any time.
Q: How have cloud services adapted to meet the needs of a remote workforce?
A: Think about all the work that a company does to keep its data safe and mitigate threats like malware, ransomware and viruses. Now its workers are at home, where they may not have that protection, and if something happens on their home system they could spread it back into the corporate network.
With cloud services, we provide a protected network so that doesn’t happen. We have services that simplify the identification process and allow administrators to manage credentials, as well as remote monitoring that can detect hardware and software issues and push patches and updates. That eliminates time and expense from an employer. We also have a service that securely connects to a phone line, so if someone calls my office, it rings on my computer and on my cellphone. No matter where I am, I have my entire office with me.
“The cloud provides so much freedom, mobility and scalability, as well as capital savings.”
Q: How are law firms in a unique position to benefit from cloud services from companies like Cox Business?
A: Cloud services are so scalable, it is almost limitless, and can change an IT department from being a cost center to being a profit center. Law firms come in all shapes and sizes. Some have a nominal IT staff at best and may not have the luxury of an on-site IT team or department. So an advantage to using cloud services is taking the onus of work like maintenance or upgrades and shifting it to a company like Cox. It also means eliminating the need for on-premises equipment that may have incurred monthly upkeep, rental and/or maintenance fees.
Going forward, cloud services will continue to provide law firms with flexibility for a remote workforce. Maybe you don’t need to bring back every employee; maybe you can cut overhead and only bring back some of the staff while others continue to work remotely.
Q: What type of security features does a Cox Business cloud solution offer law firms to ensure that sensitive data is protected?
A: We offer extra levels of security that will protect the sensitive data that law firms work with. For example, we have a service that filters email to identify sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, health information or work history. Based on the settings the law firm puts in place, it can hold the email for review or not send it, to protect the data that is going in and out of the firm. We also do a lot of encryption. When data is in transit to and from the cloud, it is all encrypted. When it is stored on the cloud, it is all encrypted. In addition, if a company laptop gets lost or stolen, the law firm is protected because all of the data is stored on the cloud, so the data itself can’t be stolen.
Q: How easy is it to implement cloud solutions?
A: Implementing cloud solutions isn’t necessarily easy, but at Cox we make it as easy as possible for our clients. We take a very thoughtful and deliberate approach to project management and work with our clients to fully understand their business and their needs before we begin. Our project management teams are right here in Rhode Island and our personnel work with you through the entire process, from implementation to day-to-day questions or issues. And once implemented, expansion is simple and quick.
Contact information: Ross L. Nelson | Cox Business Northeast | Ross.Nelson@cox.com | (401) 615-1321