In today’s business world, it’s important for law firms to utilize the latest software programs to improve their productivity. Office suites like Microsoft’s Office 365 have a lot to offer any organization hoping for more effective performance and communication.
Office 365 has a suite of programs that include Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Teams and Access. There’s almost nothing you can’t get done with these apps. Microsoft offers a cloud-based version that is available as a monthly subscription. It includes updates and customer service, which is important to busy law firms.
The new Office 365 also provides much better security that’s built right in. Cyber security has become an important topic for law firms. Ransomware and malware can infect just one computer, then quickly to spread to all the others. Attorneys today want the best security money can buy because they understand the consequences of a data breach.
The days are over when professionals are willing to just wait and see if anything happens, then respond. Law firms and healthcare agencies are expected to have a solid cyber security plan in place and Microsoft has responded well to these needs.
Another big problem is online data storage. Regulations prevent attorneys from using solutions like Dropbox to store their documents. But Office 365 includes OneDrive. This is Microsoft’s cloud service that lets you easily connect to all your files. You can store and protect your files, share files with others, and access them from anywhere on all your devices. It’s not just convenient; it’s secure enough for most law firms.
Another big area of concern for most law firms is email security. Most attorneys and their staff use email to send and receive contracts, files and other important legal documents. How can you keep these items from falling into the hands of cyber thieves?
Office 365 includes Outlook, a Number One choice for all business professionals. It has a wide range of great features including built-in chat. With over a billion users worldwide, Microsoft Outlook is the preferred email program for business owners including law firms. Though other email programs have some of the same features, no single one of them addresses the everyday needs of business professionals better than Outlook.
Organizing emails into specific folders is a great way to streamline your Inbox. A good folder system can save you time and prevent important messages from getting lost. You can create folders for each client or case, then set Outlook up so that all emails concerning that case go into the correct folder automatically. This is a huge time-saver.
One question we get a lot at Menark Technologies concerns email encryption. Email encryption is a great way to protect the contents of your emails from intruders. Once an email is encrypted, cyber crooks can no longer read the contents. It’s protected and you’ll need the encryption key to unlock and decrypt the files. If your firm doesn’t already have this, then ask your IT pro at Menark Technologies about it.
Email encryption utilizes public-key cryptography. When you send an email, it’s encrypted by the computer using the public key. This transforms the email into complex, scrambled content that’s difficult to hack. Only someone with the proper corresponding private key can decrypt the email and read it. Even if emails are intercepted by cyber thieves, they cannot be read, so your important communications will remain safe.
Office 365 comes with native encryption, end-to-end security, and multi-factor authentication options to secure and protect your email and data, so it’s only accessible to you or those you authorize. Some of these features will need to be set up by an IT professional, but once this has been done, it can save your employees a lot of time and work, plus it further ensures compliance to industry regulations.
Microsoft Bookings: Your clients can schedule appointments through an online calendar much like what your doctor or dentist might use. Both your clients and staff can easily reschedule or cancel an appointment, send emails or text notifications and much more. It will display the bookings for each lawyer or associate in your firm.
Microsoft Planner: Create different stages in a project and insert tasks. Assign tasks for team members, attach documents, communicate and track the progress of your projects.
Microsoft Flow: Connect Office 365 applications to other Office 365 apps so you can transfer information or create an action based on a trigger. You can use Flow to connect Office 365 applications to popular social media sites, Google apps, Basecamp, Buffer, Asana and many other productivity solutions.
Microsoft Groups: Set up collaboration portals that you can create with just a few clicks. Go to “People” and create a “Group.” You can even create Group portals for teams both inside and outside of your firm.
The most useful plug-ins for lawyers are Rocket Matter and Boomerang. Rocket Matter released an extensive Office 365 integration with its Outlook plug-in. Now you can easily associate emails with matters. Add your billable time and attach docs right from within Outlook. This is something lawyers have wanted to do for years. Now it’s easy.
These are only a few of the reasons why you should consider using Microsoft Office 365 for your law practice. We can help you install and set up this suite of programs so that everything works as it should. If your employees need training, our staff can show you how to get the most out of MS Office 365. It’s a real time-saver that your staff will love.
Published By: Scott Clarke on April 5th, 2019