Moving to Office 365 for Small Law Firms

Moving services to the cloud make law firms more efficient!

One of our customers is a small law firm with two partners and no additional support staff; they were referred to us by one of our Bristol IT Support Customers. When we first met them, they were planning on leaving their jobs at a big law firm to start up their own legal services business.

We often see small law firms in Bristol that have less than five desktop users with a simple computer network. These networks rarely have a proper business email or file server. Instead, they will often have one of the business desktop computers used as the central file server with all the other staff machines accessing it. Given that a decent Microsoft Windows Server cost will cost business at least £3000 including professional business installation, it is understandable that a compromise is necessary. Finding alternative ways to work and support their systems is essential, but the solution above isn’t ideal.

Coming from a large law firm where they operated with a traditional server, our new customer assumed they would need to get their server. Understanding that this would be an expensive initial outlay and ongoing maintenance commitment, understandably they were concerned over cost especially with all the other costs of starting up their small law firm.

The truth is that things are now much different. With good cloud services (internet-based services) currently available and designed explicitly for small legal businesses in Bristol, you can get all the features of the expensive email and file server but at a low monthly service subscription with the added value of a flexible and reliable office system. Almost any function of a traditional on-site server now is replicated by the Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based offering with lots of additional free features available to make a legal business awesome!

Starting any business is a tough proposition at the best of times.

There are lots of considerations that a lot of new business owners wouldn’t have dealt with previously. It is vital that the new system will have minimal downtime, ensuring that they can get on with their work and bill for their time efficiently, this is important for all new businesses but especially for Legal Services where all of their work is time-based.

The second important consideration is the initial outlay. Starting a new business can be expensive and stressful, so anything we can offer to minimise the initial cost of setup and take away the burden of the technology will help enable this startup business to realise their dreams of starting their own business.

The third and final important consideration would be the growth opportunities. Although the initial plan was for the two of them to work, they had the ambition to grow the business, and so the system needs to be scalable. Often this is the case with start-up businesses; they don’t want to buy their job, they want to scale and provide more jobs for others!

Bristol’s cloud-based experts!

We are experts in Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based services for small businesses. We have many years of supporting legal services professionals, so we were are ideally based on being able to advise on and offer solutions. The experience we have in the legal profession helps, but we are also great at thinking outside the box, at looking things from a different perspective and can often see some simple changes that could make a big difference. That’s why using an experienced IT Support company in Bristol can save you time and money over the long term!

Microsoft Office 365’s Cloud System

Our solution was to utilise the Microsoft Office 365 Cloud system, this system is well known for being a provider for business-grade exchange email but thanks to Microsoft’s Office 365 Subscription model it has a lot more to offer. For just £9.40 per user, per month users not only get the industry-leading email service but also 1TB of cloud storage, access to an ever-growing arsenal of business apps and all the Microsoft Office 365 full install Desktop Applications.

Thanks to this Microsoft service there is no need for any onsite server, and we can provide the common network drive setup as they had previously used in other law firms, that can be attached to their cloud storage on the internet rather than a local computer in Bristol. Collaborative working using the email system is familiar like in the large law firm. Synchronising email between multiple devices such as phones and laptops, sharing contacts, calendars and each other’s inboxes is also exceptionally useful when either one of a  small team is in a meeting.

Best of all, the cloud system can be accessed from anywhere so instead of having to be in Bristol. They have the opportunity to work from anywhere, including their own respective homes, which can remove the need to have a dedicated office space in Bristol, always an expensive option in a large city, so setting up a new legal business is suddenly more affordable and more accessible!

Working from separate locations across Bristol could create new challenges, but by making full use of some of the free business apps such as Microsoft Teams, they disappear. This allows them to chat, share files and video call between themselves so they can still collaborate as if they were sharing an office in City centre overlooking Bristol harbour but without the fees!

The monthly costs for this customer are incredibly low and include a lot of the licensing they would need regardless solution chosen. We can offer it as a monthly commitment, so there is a very low risk on their part, ideal for a new start-up business. The fact the cloud solution is infinitely scalable is perfect for them. As and when they are ready to employ additional staff, the system will be prepared to facilitate them.

Most importantly, it is inherently a super reliable system. Microsoft Office 365 uptime statistics recorded for the last two years has not dropped below 99.98% uptime for the whole of their world-wide offering. This kind of uptime for a small law firm business single server setup would be difficult to achieve without additional support costs, with our help they have this all working and ready to use for very little time and effort.

We love being able to advise on new setups for their Bristol businesses!

New setups that have minimal initial expenditure in time and costs that all new businesses require but still offer them useful ongoing features with tremendous flexibility and the kind of reliability they need is essential. Reassuring our customers that IT is not a barrier to making their dreams come true is our pleasure and something we hope we can help all new Bristol businesses.

Helping people to realise their potential and aspirations like this is the reason why we do what we do, we were very proud to make IT part of their solution rather than a burden.

Would your company benefit from this proactive and savvy IT support from a company that puts your needs first? Just get in touch to see how we might be able to help you achieve similar gains with your ongoing IT requirements, please give our Office 365 experts in our Bristol UK Office a call on 0117 9118808 or inquire for help here.


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