Project management is something that lawyers need to juggle everyday. Each case is just one of their projects. As a result, effective project management tools that are secure and cloud-based are a “must-have”.
Of course, the million-dollar question remains: What cloud-based project management tools are your best options? The truth is that no one service is the best for everything that you need to do. Each service has something unique to offer, so we’ve devised a way for you to take the best of each of those services and combine them. This way, you’re left with all the power and flexibility to help you organize and run your law firm.
Our legal clients’ preferred trifecta is Basecamp, Box and cloudHQ, not only because of each tool’s inherent functionality, but also because they’re easy to use—and that means you have more time to devote to the work that matters… law.
Below is a quick walk-through that will show you how to use Basecamp, Box and cloudHQ to organize your “cloud” law office.
Basecamp is a robust project management tool that offers a wealth of functionality for people in any industry. In the legal world, it’s especially handy because it offers essential project management features in an easy-to-use layout that helps you better maximize your time.
Here are two of the most important features where Basecamp shines:
Here’s how to setup your Basecamp:
Now that you’ve got Basecamp up and running, let’s do the same thing with Box. We’re big fans of Box and think it’s an ideal solution for lawyers in large part because it allows you to securely share, access and manage your files—and security is of paramount importance.
Its best feature is granular sharing. You can actually create sub-folders that are password-protected, which leaves you in control of who has what access to the information within that sub-folder. Because security is such a critical part of Box’s functionality, it’s an ideal choice to serve as a safe, centralized place for contract back-ups.
To help maximize your use of Box, let’s walk through a quick set-up scenario.
Here’s a diagram of the setup:
Now your Box folders and Basecamp projects are in sync: cloudHQ will automatically replicate anything that’s added to Box, and upload it to Basecamp in real time—and vice versa.
You’ll also have a full back-up of all of your Basecamp information in Box, which gives you peace of mind in knowing that your critical project data is secure and protected.
Not only does this ensure that you’re not missing important files, updates or messages if team members are using Basecamp vs Box, (or other different platforms)—it’s also a great way to enable collaboration by sharing a folder via Box and using password-protected sharing if needed.
“Good to know” tip for mobile lawyers:
A excellent tool for mobile users is Evernote because it lets you include all thoughts, pictures, URLs in an organized way. You can use the cloudHQ service to enable a two-way sync between Evernote and Basecamp. Each of your Basecamp projects will be become an Evernote notebook, which will let you capture all project-related information, and get perfectly replicated across Evernote and Box. Because you’ve already set up your sync between Basecamp and Box, Basecamp will also get all those Evernote updates, in real-time. So you actually wind up with a cloudHQ sync that looks like this:
Box ←→ Basecamp ←→ Evernote.
Case collaboration and backup has never before been so easy for law firms and independent lawyers alike.
Give it a try with your free cloudHQ replication trial here.
If there’s one thing lawyers have in common, it’s paperwork—lots and lots of paperwork. Notes, depositions, contracts, agreements, waivers, applications—all of this adds up to a lot of paper that needs to be safeguarded and accessible, which is why SharePoint and cloud-powered tools are an increasingly attractive and efficient option for the legal industry.
If you work at a mid to large-sized law firm, there’s a good chance you’re already using SharePoint, a collaborative platform from Microsoft that offers a myriad of functionalities. Whether it’s hosting a video conference across multiple locations or organizing materials for your case, SharePoint can help you get the job done.
Many North American law firms depend on SharePoint for document management and as their internet/intranet portal. There are many reasons why many law firms are using SharePoint; let me list some of them:
But law firms see that more and more of other cloud services are used by partners, employees, and clients. Cloud-based tools such as Evernote, Basecamp, and Google Docs are quickly gaining ground as employees are looking for more efficient, productive functionality that’s not hindered by ties to a physical location or interoffice equipment.
There’s no denying that SharePoint offers robust functionality in a variety of applications and, as an on-premise solution, is undoubtedly effective. To add increased flexibility and agility to the workflow mix, Evernote is also becoming an increasingly popular tool for professionals, including lawyers.
Evernote rocks for people who are constantly on the run and need to take many notes or reference/search some information.
Many lawyers use Evernote when compiling content for a client. Basically, you can create an Evernote notebook for each of your clients and include all that information in that note. You can include literature pieces, PowerPoint presentations, and notes when you talked to the client on the phone. Let’s say you’ve already spoken to a client named Bob and jotted down some notes in Evernote. Can’t remember anything more than Bob’s first name? No worries – just type in “Bob” and Evernote will deliver it up for you.
Also, many lawyers use Evernote to help them to stay on track when running around for meetings. For example, they include all of the times of where they need to be and when. And many use Evernote for pictures of things to remember, like the license plate of a rental car when they travel, or where they park when they are out.
And that’s exactly why Evernote is so appealing to those who are in the legal profession.
But there is a big challenge here: your law firm is using SharePoint for central document management. How do you upload all your Evernote notes to SharePoint (so they can be shared via SharePoint sharing)? How do you automatically download important literature pieces from SharePoint so they can be handy and accessible via your Evernote?
Because cloud tools such as Evernote are growing at a rapid rate and so many new documents are generated by these cloud services, it is becoming nightmare to integrate all these new cloud services into your central SharePoint. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Allow us to introduce you to the ultimate cloud trifecta: Sharepoint, Evernote and cloudHQ.
With cloudHQ, you can setup two ways sync of any Evernote accounts used in your organization with the SharePoint Document Library. Or as an individual, you can setup sync of your own Evernote account to your personal OneDrive Pro account or with the SharePoint Document Library you have access to.
The setup is very simple:
And here is a short video showing cloudHQ in action:
cloudHQ will constantly sync data between Evernote and SharePoint. So, if you are using Evernote and your colleagues are browsing the SharePoint web portal in the office, all your Evernote notes will be available for them in real time. They can have access to the documents and other key elements without requiring everyone to use Evernote.
Cloud-based tools have undoubtedly changed the way we do business. That’s especially true for enterprise-level companies, many of which have adopted cloud-based tools to improve and enable productivity of all employees, remote or on-site.
Evernote and SharePoint have become necessary tools in a large enterprise workflow, thanks in large part to the convenience of mobile devices, and easily accessible data.
Yet that accessibility becomes much less convenient if not everyone at the company is using the same services, which is why cloudHQ is a critical addition to any collaborative environment. We’ll show you how cloudHQ can make your existing cloud tools exponentially more powerful. But first, we’ll take a quick look at why Evernote and SharePoint have become two of the top cloud computing choices for the enterprise.
Content marketing isn’t simply an industry buzzword—it’s an increasingly important way for businesses to not only tell their stories, but also to create a content-based strategy that helps achieve key business goals.
And when it comes to organizing content resources, ideas and blog posts, Evernote Business is an increasingly popular cloud solution. Because you can access it from any device, it’s easy to not only save tips and ideas when you’re on the go, you can also retrieve your information any time you need it.
Here are just a few ways you can use Evernote Business to better organize and streamline your content marketing workflow:
Research: Clip helpful articles and store it in an Evernote notebook so that you can refer to the information at a later time. You can also email posts or other resources to Evernote, depending on which method of accessibility you prefer.
Track ideas: Those of you who regularly blog know that writing isn’t usually the hardest part of the equation—it’s coming up with ideas! Create a blog post idea notebook in Evernote so that you can log ideas whenever (and wherever) inspiration strikes. Not only that, but you can also save ideas regardless of the format—blog posts, articles, social media updates, email, images, etc.—and create an all-in-one resource that you can reference at anytime.
Blog drafts: Because you can compose blog posts directly in Evernote, you can work on them whenever the mood strikes—plus, you can access your drafts from all of your devices, too, so you’re not tied to one specific computer or workstation when it’s time to finish and publish a blog. And if you prefer to collaboratively blog, your Evernote-using colleagues can also access the content in their cloud.
Part of the Microsoft family of products, SharePoint, gives enterprise companies “a secure place to store, organize, share and access information from almost any device,” according to Microsoft. It includes a number of different products including: SharePoint Online, SharePoint Designer and SharePoint Workspace.
SharePoint has been widely adopted by enterprise companies for a variety of applications, but most often as a central document library in which key company information is stored in a place that’s accessible to all employees. Another benefit of SharePoint? Because enterprise companies are more likely to work with outsourced vendors and agencies, companies can create a SharePoint site that allows for external access. Not only can they quickly and efficiently access the information they need—they can also upload documents and projects to the site, which means that productivity doesn’t suffer simply because companies aren’t under the same roof.
Of course, having access to information doesn’t mean much unless you’re going to use it. With that sort of practical application in mind, SharePoint makes it easy to search through the information included in the centralized library. Not only that, but you can discover larger patterns, trends and relationships that can help drive business decisions and strategies, giving you the data you need to help make your company more successful.
There’s no denying that Evernote Business and SharePoint are ideal enterprise cloud solutions, yet there’s one glaring problem: if people in your organization don’t use Evernote, and only use Sharepoint, it’s going to create a lack of communication for your organization.
And that’s where cloudHQ comes in. Because cloudHQ continuously synchronizes and replicates data between multiple cloud services and accounts in real time, your enterprise organization can use a variety of cloud tools and know that all of the information and resources will be accessible and protected in a secure, centralized location.
A large part of the cloud’s appeal is accessibility: you no longer have to be tied to your office computer to get the documents and projects you need to stay on task. Yet with increased accessibility, comes growing security concerns; especially for enterprises. By incorporating cloudHQ into your workflow, you’ll create a secure, constantly updated information portal that doubles as backup protection as well as a solid communication solution.
Most enterprise organizations already rely on cloud-based tools as part of the company’s workflow. Try cloudHQ’s free trial so that you can integrate your cloud apps into your workflow today, and reap the benefits of what each of them have to offer you.
Cloud security is currently one of the hottest topics and one that many people and companies are concerned about. When Evernote was recently hacked the company forced 50 million users to reset their passwords. The Evernote hack was just one in a slew of recent incidents that have included Dropbox, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. This makes it more important than ever for users that store data in the cloud to implement and maintain strict security and authentication measures.
When you look at the top 25 worst passwords of 2012, you may be surprised to find that even in this day of more advanced technological information available to users that “password” is still the most commonly used password. Obviously, you don’t want to use a password that is on this list. But this is a small list. You should also check other lists to ensure your password does not appear on them, such as the 10,000 most common password list. In a study performed by the site, they found that 91% of people use a password that is found in the top 1000 most common passwords. With computers that claim to be able to able to process 348 billion passwords per second, a password in the top 1000 will not take long to crack. There is even a list of passwords that Twitter found to be too common and banned them from being used. If you want to find out how secure your password is, you can go to http://howsecureismypassword.net/ to find out how strong your password is and also approximately how long a desktop PC would take to crack it.
If the weak passwords that are most commonly used surprise you, check out this analysis by Troy Hunt on the science of password selection. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. It’s much better to have a long password that you can remember than to have a short password that may be more easily cracked.
SplashData offers these tips to use when creating secure passwords:
Some cloud storage providers such as Google Drive http://www.google.com/landing/2step/ and Dropbox support 2-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is an approach to authentication which requires the presentation of two or more of the three authentication factors: a knowledge factor (“something the user knows”), a possession factor (“something the user has”), and an inherence factor (“something the user is”).
The basics of how it works: You enter your password as you would normally when signing in to the service. A code is then sent to your mobile phone or an app that you have preapproved. The code comes through instantly so there is no waiting. As soon as you enter your code, you have access to the account.
If a hacker gains access to your password (keylogger, sniffer, steals your laptop, etc.), he will still be unable to access your account without also having access to your mobile phone. Creating strong passwords, keeping your passwords secure and changing your password frequently (and especially at the first sign of any suspicious activity) can help prevent unauthorized access to your account. The 2-factor authentication makes it much harder for unauthorized users to access your account, thus your data remains safe.
Some instructions on how to setup Dropbox 2-factor authentication can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/help/363/en
And for Google Drive (and your Google mail and other other Google properties) you can find instructions here: http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=180744
Most unauthorized accesses happen because of weak passwords or other weak security measures. However, even with all possible protections in place, there is still the possibility that your account can be hacked. Hackers can delete your data, but even if the account is accessed, your data doesn’t have to be lost.
CloudHQ uses a secure backup to create and maintain a second copy of all of your data. The replication is automatic and it operates silently in the background. It is also continuous replication which means it automatically updates in real-time as changes are made to files.
Let’s use an example. You have an Evernote account and want to use cloudHQ to protect your Evernote data. You simply create two Evernote accounts. One is your primary Evernote account and the other is your backup account. CloudHQ provides a continuous replication of all data from the primary Evernote account to the secondary Evernote account. If a hacker gains access to your primary account and deletes your data (including from Evernote trash), the backup account will still hold a complete second copy of all of your data.
Choosing a strong, secure password and implementing strong security measures can keep your cloud data protected from hackers. But if security fails and your cloud account is hacked, cloudHQ can be a lifesaver, as it will ensure that none of your data is lost.
The cloud has provided an inexpensive opportunity for companies to store their data on servers owned by a cloud storage service provider. Many companies, both small businesses and large corporations, have already made the move to the cloud; many are in the process of moving to the cloud; and many more are considering making the move to the cloud.
By making the move, companies no longer have to worry about the escalating costs of buying and maintaining local servers. If an upgrade is needed, this can mean big expenses in new hardware purchases; whereas in the cloud, upgrades to larger data storage limits can usually be completed within a few minutes directly from a computer browser.
There are still many companies that are hesitant to move all their data to the cloud. Each cloud storage provider has their own policies for transferring and storing data and these policies are not always clear about important concerns that many companies have, such as:
As noted on Gigaom, Robert Jenkins, CTO of Cloud Sigma, was quoted as saying,
“It’s not just privacy and security. It’s also — if I change my mind or it doesn’t work out, how do I move on? This is an issue that’s prevalent in public cloud but in the era of big data it’s becoming quite an acute big problem.”
Although most cloud providers have clear policies outlining these concerns, there are those that do not clearly address the issues. The possibility of a cloud “lock-in” is real. You could potentially get your data, and your company’s data, locked into a single cloud provider without an easy way to take your data and move it to another provider. This fear of cloud lock-in has prevented many companies from making the move to the cloud.
When your data is stored in the cloud, you don’t always have complete control over your data as you would in local on-premise storage. However; the solution is a lot easier, and more inexpensive, than you might imagine- data replication and backup.
Let’s take Google Apps for example. It should be noted that Google Apps is a GREAT cloud storage provider and I am only using it as an example. If all your data is stored on Google’s servers, your IT team may not feel like they are in control of the data. The simple solution is to use a continuous replication and backup service such as cloudHQ to replicate your data to another cloud service such as Box. This way, no matter what happens to your data on Google, you will have a secure backup of ALL of your data and it will be under your control, thus preventing a cloud lock-in to Google.
The cloud offers a plethora of benefits but there can be costs as well if you’re not careful, don’t read the small print, or don’t have a replication/backup plan in place. The cloud service provider’s databases are not designed to be compatible with each other which is why it can be easy to get locked in and stuck with a single provider. It’s important that you have your plan in place and cloudHQ has the right plan for your company.
CloudHQ provides real-time, continuous replication and synchronization between various cloud services including Google Drive, Skydrive, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Basecamp, and more. This means you have a safe, secure backup of all data in case data loss on one provider’s service were to occur- and even a small amount of data loss can be disastrous for a company. Plus you get the peace of mind knowing that no matter what happens to your original cloud storage provider, you have a secondary copy that is always under your control. Peace of mind, safety, security- this can make IT admins, CTOs and other corporate managers extremely happy (and perhaps a little less stressed out).
You can take complete control over your data in the cloud. You can prevent cloud lock-in by choosing a cloudHQ plan that best suits your company’s needs.