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September 01, 2009


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I had a meeting with one of the founders of (so, clearly he's pretty computer savvy), and I expressed concerns about the cloud computing framework. "What if I don't have internet access?" I asked. He said that cloud computing is anticipating a world in which there is global internet access--free wireless, around the world. "What if the server crashes?" I asked next. "It won't. Trust me. Google's servers won't crash" was the response.

Hmmm. I'm with you. Staying out of the cloud for now (for the most part. I do love gmail.)

While I don't think cloud-computing is a panacea to every computing problems facing lawyers and law firms, I do think that the "down-time" argument is actually a winning argument for the cloud.

Obviously downtown is a bad thing for a law firm. And, speaking at someone who worked for a very large national firm for a number of years, you don't need a cloud to have downtime. Any complicated server setting, whether it be the firm's in-house servers or an "in the cloud" solution, is going to have downtime.

What is important to consider, however, is that in-house servers generally have far more downtime than Google or other cloud providers.

At present, cloud computing is being embraced primarily by smaller firms and practitioners that don't have access to their own in-house team of 24/7 tech support departments. In these situations, cloud computing (which generally includes tech support as a part of the arrangement) is a far superior choice to being responsible for maintaining your own server and having your whole firm sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for a tech support vendor to arrive.

Yes, down time sucks. But realistically, good cloud computing providers have a better record of uptime than most if not all private server systems. Add to this the data security and ubiquity advantages of cloud-based systems and it becomes easy to see why so many people believe the future of computing is "in the cloud."

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