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Proactive response needed to address IT hurdles

In today’s increasingly tech-savvy marketplace, it’s become essential for law firms to have proper measures in place to proactively address IT concerns.

user iconEmma Musgrave 02 January 2024 SME Law
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Speaking on a recent episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, CT Group director James Hey shared what the current law firm market looks like in terms of being proactive versus reactive to IT-related matters.

Recent hacking events, such as that experienced by HWL Ebsworth earlier this year, have made firms much more aware of the fallout that can come from inadequate IT protection, Mr Hey said.

Similarly, government-led initiatives around securing sensitive data are prompting more firms to step up to protect their business from hackers.


“From a hacking perspective, if you consider hackers and trying to break into a secured environment, it would be like someone banging on a wooden door. If that door is locked, the hacker could or the perpetrator could potentially be banging on that door for quite a while until they find a crack to get in.

“What the IT environment and what the cyber security environment looks at doing is constantly reinforcing that door and adding more additions to it to make it harder and harder and harder to get in.

“So effectively, being proactive from that perspective is a very agile sign of a firm that we’re seeing at the moment. But also, a lot of firms are having their hand forced to push down that path,” he said.

In order for firms to be adequately protected, it’s vital they maintain transparency with their IT provider, Mr Hey said.

“It’s [about maintaining an] open and transparent conversation with your IT provider. Being aware of what could and what couldn’t happen is definitely important,” he explained.

Also key is ensuring that you’re well aware of how IT can aid in efficiency.

“In terms of efficiency, I think a lot of the improvements that you can really add value to a firm with are around the awareness piece. I think a lot of staff don’t have the same onboarding from an IT perspective as they do from a practice perspective,” Mr Hey said.

“So having them aware of, obviously, all the systems but all of the integrations and having that set up and deployed correctly from the get-go makes a huge difference in terms of long-term efficiency from that staff member but also from, I guess, not spending a huge amount of time dealing with it to try and fix them on the way through.

“Part and parcel of engaging an IT consultant and an IT partner is to set up and create the processes in place that are going to help with onboarding. It’s going to help with future projects; it’ll help with securing the business. I think making sure that documentation is correct and making sure that processes are sound and obviously worked through from a client and from an IT perspective will greatly improve that onboarding phase and just ongoing work between an IT provider and their client.”

Looking ahead, Mr Hey flagged the top IT-related trends worth law firms keeping a close eye on.

In terms of predictions around it, obviously, AI is a huge talking point at the moment. I think we haven’t yet seen what the true AI can do. I think what we’re seeing with ChatGPT and a few others is probably 10 per cent of the capability. So, in terms of trends, that’s going to be a hot topic for the next couple of years and onward,” he explained.

“I think in terms of the current conversation, cyber security [is something that] will never go away, but cyber security hacking events, especially from a data-rich country like Australia, where we’re supremely digital in so many ways and paperless in so many offices, we are [going to continue to be] a prime target for these hacking groups to look at stealing the data and selling it.

“So, I think cyber security from a current conversation is always going to be prevalent, and it’s just going to become more prevalent as we move forward in the next few years.”

NB: This transcript has been edited slightly for publishing purposes. You can listen to the full episode here:

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