Step by Step Cloud Computing for Lawyers

The 8th annual solo and small firm conference was an opportunity for more than 400 lawyers to get an update on practice management and technology topics.  I was fortunate to be asked to speak about cloud computing and how lawyers can move their practice into the cloud.  It’s a topic I’ve covered before, as well as having written a book about it.

David Whelan getting ready for cloud computing presentation / Photo credit: Phil Brown

My paper is available below (feel free to download and share).  I think I may be a bit orthodox in how the cloud is defined but there continues to be a confusion between hosted services, virtualized services, Web-based services, and cloud computing.  The former:

  • hosted services:  someone takes a server from your office and runs it for you;
  • virtualized services:  someone runs multiple virtual servers with your non-cloud software on it, saving you from having to run a bunch of physical servers;
  • Web-based services:  things you access that give you Web access to something – including or Tonido and remote desktop apps – but lack the attributes of cloud systems.

lack the fundamental elements of the cloud:  elasticity (can you save money by calling up your provider and reduce the amount of hard drive storage you use?), on-demand expandability (can you instantly get more memory, storage, accounts, and do it by yourself without calling sales?), and other parts of the NIST definition.  The market has matured and its time that our language, particularly on the part of the presenters, matched that maturity.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.