Blog three: How can law firms stay in business during the coronavirus pandemic, and beyond?
This is the third blog in this series of posts where we’re discussing how law firms are struggling to cope with the lockdown and what we can suggest to help them. Many aren’t set up for homeworking, social distancing or self-isolation. And it’s all happened so quickly there has been very little time to prepare. Yet this is when your clients’ minds are really focused on what’s important to them, and they’ll be looking to you for advice and to set contingencies in place.
How can you adapt for home working?
One option is cloud virtualization, where everything is stored in the cloud and accessed from any device.
Good cloud-based software can be accessed from anywhere on any device, but what if your device isn’t up to scratch? Computers are quite simple to move from one location to another these days, both because they are less bulky than they used to be, and they are pretty much plug and play.
Without adequate protection, this presents a serious security risk, so make sure that each machine requires secure login procedures and is protected by up to date, centrally managed, anti-virus and other protections.
Instigate dual or multi factor authentication, which requires at least a secondary approval on another device, usually a mobile phone, to gain access. Products are available for very little cost and are easily deployed.
If you have a slow internet connection at home, it will be difficult to work adequately, unless all your applications are stored on your PC, but this is not really an acceptable solution these days, as only you can see what is going on in the file (although it may be fine for sole practitioners with no other fee earning colleagues).
You might struggle to have your broadband upgraded in the current climate, but it’s worth a try, or you could try switching providers, but this might be even more difficult. This is one that could have to be filed under lessons to be learned.
How do you manage your phone services when you’re all working remotely?
Standard phone systems will be a challenge if everyone is home working. You might have to rely on everyone’s persona landlines and mobile phones, which could become expensive and have privacy issues.
Ideally, a VOIP phone system will enable you to replicate making, receiving and transferring calls as though you were in the office, particularly if matched with a softphone licence that enables a headset or microphone and speaker to be plugged into your PC, so that you can take calls via the computer rather than on a handset.
Most VOIP systems will enable you to operate hunt groups as though you were in the office.
Consider also implementing some of the excellent virtual receptionist systems that are on offer, whether as a fall over where your resources are stretched, or as front line.