Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a virtual Windows desktop and network service that recently added two-factor authentication (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a contract drafting and proofreading tool, three cloud practice management apps, software for capturing the dark data that doesn't make it into your document management system, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.
Many lawyers hesitate to store client and firm documents outside their law firm in the so-called "cloud." But the convenience is undeniable. Even more convenient is moving your applications to a virtual desktop environment, which eliminates the need to buy and manage servers. Just as significant differences exist among hardware and software products, the same is true of cloud services. Some focus more on security and client services than others.
Abacus Private Cloud … in One Sentence
Abacus Data Systems' Abacus Private Cloud is a secure, virtual Windows desktop and network service that makes your data and applications accessible from any Mac, Windows PC, iPad, smartphone, etc. using Microsoft Remote Desktop.
The Killer Feature
The "private cloud" in Abacus Private Cloud's name refers to the fact that Abacus Data Systems uses three geographically dispersed U.S.-based datacenters over which it has full control.
The company recently improved access security by offering two-factor authentication as an option at no additional cost. This requires everyone at your firm to use a second form of identity in addition to a password — namely a code sent to a free app available for Android and iOS. During my demo, Chief Solutions Architect Tomas Suros explained that delivery of the code by app is more secure than delivery by text message because of the latter's vulnerability to being hijacked as reported by Wired in June 2016.
Other Notable Features
Additional security measures include encryption of your data at rest and when transmitted, and secure tunnels to your firm's printers and scanners. Administrator tools enable you to control access to applications, documents, printers, etc. Abacus Private Cloud is capable of full HIPAA compliance, enabling you to securely store health-related documents on your virtual network.
Security can tax performance. Suros discussed various means by which Abacus Private Cloud escapes this trap to provide performance similar to local software even when using a 4G cellular connection. For example, all the servers in the three datacenters use solid state drives (SSD), which are much faster than traditional hard drives.
Abacus Private Cloud's Document Service offers virtually unlimited storage for your firm's documents. This acts like a network drive without the hassle of managing a file server. Practice management software Amicus Attorney, now owned by Abacus Data Systems, is among the many popular Windows applications you can run in Abacus Private Cloud. Others include AbacusLaw, Office 365, QuickBooks, and Adobe Acrobat.
AbacusLaw 2016, the new version of the company's other practice management software, has been optimized for Abacus Private Cloud. Many of the new features focus on practice automation, including case handling checklists, standardized workflows, and deadline tracking across your firm.
What Else Should You Know?
The company's Professional Services team sets up your private cloud and software, provides training, and can import legacy data if necessary. Regarding ongoing technical support, everyone has experienced the misery of two or more vendors pointing fingers at each other when you report a problem. Suros refers to this as a "vendor unaccountability loop." By contrast, he notes that Abacus Data Systems is your sole point of contact for any issues that arise. "It's another core advantage of our private cloud over consumer cloud services," he said. Learn more about Abacus Private Cloud.
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