Whilst everyday life for many of us heads full pelt into the realms of the ever-alluring ‘wireless’ environment as we all make such great use of all the latest phones, devices and apps available to us, the business world resolutely accepts that the ‘wired’ environment offers far more control, reliability and speed.
Speed & Reliability
Most law firms regularly move significant amounts of data around their businesses as staff carry out their wide-ranging legal service activities, and for this a ‘wired’ set-up is most certainly the best way to go. Speeds are often much slower with a wireless connection and signals can be affected by outside influences, such as walls, floors and other electronic items in and around your offices.
Also the ‘range’ offered by wireless network access points can be limited in terms of how far the signal can travel, and often the signal will fade the further you are away from it. So whilst cabling could be considered ugly and costly by some, alternatively to optimise a ‘wireless’ network a law firm must install plenty of access points which will also drive up installation costs with no actual guarantees in terms of reliability, speed and performance.
A law firm can have the best legal practice management software in the world, but if it installed on a wireless network that isn’t man enough to deliver the speed and reliability expected performance and productivity will suffer.
Control & Security
Whilst wires can be unsightly and carry an obvious cost, there is no doubt a ‘wired’ infrastructure offers a law firm far more in terms of control and security. If a physical connection is required to access your legal practice management system and the rest of your business network, the firm has far greater control of who and what gets into your system. A ‘wired’ set-up offers obvious security benefits keeping unauthorised users out of your systems, and also prevents it from becoming overloaded with non-business related traffic.
There is little doubt that the way we use the airwaves for computing has progressed massively in the last decade and going ‘wireless’ is happening in our home lives and for some businesses, but for others the risks around control and security are still unsurmountable.
According to Statista over 1 Billion iPhones have been sold in the last 10 years, plus a further 350 Million iPads since 2010. This has led to an increasing demand from employees to be allowed to bring their own devices into the workplace. Whilst giving staff wireless access to your business systems via their own devices can offer a number of advantages to both the member of staff and the firm, it also causes headaches for the business from a security point of view.
The threat of malware entering the law firm network via a compromised device is a real concern for many law firms. When the devices are owned by the firm of course security is much easier to manage.
A Mixed Environment
To get the best of both worlds a combination of ‘wired’ and ‘wireless’ is probably worth considering for many law firms, as even when ‘wireless’ reaches a point where it can match the control, speed and reliability of the ‘wired’ network, practically there is way too much legacy infrastructure still in place out there to simply expect to be able to rip it out and replace with ‘wireless’ overnight.
For the time being a mix of ‘wired’ and ‘wireless’ should enable firms to satisfy its mobile device needs, whilst ensuring its security and performance needs are being met too.
LAWFUSION requires a constant connection to the SQL Server Database. A high speed ‘wired’ network, with low latency, is recommended for optimal performance. Acceptable performance on a high latency network is not guaranteed.
‘Wireless’ networks are not recommended due to performance and reliability issues, but acceptable performance may be obtained using a Wireless ‘n’ (802.11n) Access Point, though this is not guaranteed.
Security – a key USP for Select Legal Systems and LAWFUSION
Select Legal takes security very seriously. A key USP for Select is its ISO 27001:2013 security certified status, which it has achieved at company level, and which is also in place at its datacentre where its LAWFUSION Direct users’ software is securely hosted on the cloud. This means law firms can rest assured that if Select Legal Systems Limited is your chosen software partner you will always receive security and system recommendations based on best practice.
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Select Legal Systems Limited is celebrating 25 years of LAWFUSION this year. Please check out our 25-year video, our infographic and our story here.