Choosing whether to use Macs or PCs in your law practice isn’t easy. There are benefits to both systems and it can be difficult to decide which one is the best for your law office. That’s why some lawyers choose to use both Macs and PCs in their law firms. That way they get the benefit of both worlds.
Of course, with those benefits come a new set of challenges, since law firms face a diverse computing environment when using both PCs and Macs. The good news is that the obstacles aren’t insurmountable, as long as you fully understand the issues and how to address them.
Two experts on handling diverse computing environments in law offices are Tom Lambotte and Ben Schorr, who spoke on this very topic earlier this year at ABA Techshow. During their presentation, “Managing a Diverse Computing Environment: Windows and Macs in Your Law Firm,” they shared their expertise and offered lots of great tips while Stephanie Crowley took visual notes of this session on behalf of MyCase.
Below you’ll find the visual notes from that session along with some of our favorite tips and links to sites that provide further information (click to view larger image):
1. Cloud computing makes it easy
According to the presenters, cloud computing is the game changer that makes it possible to use both Macs and PCs in your law firm. This is because cloud computing software is not platform specific. It runs on cloud servers located outside of your law firm and therefore you can access the software that your firm uses, such as law practice management software, from any Internet-enabled device regardless of the operating system being used on the device.
The presenters referred to cloud computing as “the great equalizer” and that’s because it allows lawyers to access law firm data through the cloud so both platforms are on “equal footing.” That’s just one of the many benefits offered by cloud computing. To learn more about how and why lawyers are increasingly using cloud computing software in their law offices, check out this infographic.
2. Consider virtual machines
Another tip offered by the presenters was to consider using virtual machines when managing a diverse computing environment. Virtual machines are software or applications that allow you to run all types of software on your computer, not just those specific to your computer’s operating system. Virtual machines can be hosted locally on your own servers or in the cloud. One of the benefits mentioned by the presenters is that virtual machines are centrally managed, but a downfall is that they are processor heavy.
One popular “virtual machine” application for Macs that you may already be familiar with is Parallels. If you’re interested in exploring your options when it comes to virtual machines, this post offers a list of the top 5 virtual machine applications and is a good place to start.
3. Secure your systems
Finally, the presenters emphasized the importance of securing your law firm’s computer systems and offered their advice on the most important steps to take. First, they recommended using anti-virus software regardless of the type of operating system you’re using. Suggestions included Clamxav, Windows Defender, and Sophos Cloud. The also suggested investing in anti-malware, such as Eset Nod32 or BitDefender.
And last but not least, they recommended encrypting all devices using tools such as BitLocker and FileVault and stressed how important it is to back up data offsite and ensure that the backups are encrypted as well. For more tips on securing your law firm’s systems, check out this post.