Spending on cloud technology is reported to reach $131 billion by 2017, up 18.5 percent from 2012, with analysts at Gartner predicting that 2016 will be a ‘defining year’ for the cloud, as cutting-edge technology becomes more sophisticated over the next few years. There’s no other way about it, cloud computing is becoming more and more prevalent in both our personal and work lives. The continued integration of the cloud into the enterprise appears inevitable; yet while many industries are embracing it, some remain tentative. Two of those somewhat slow to embrace the cloud have been the financial and legal sectors. Those days, however, may be numbered. 

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With enterprises left, right, and centre integrating with the cloud, this piece will discuss the impact of the cloud now and in the future, why an increasing number of sectors are welcoming it, and why all of the financial and legal sector may soon be following suit.

The barriers between integration 

Not only does cloud integration show no signs of slowing down, it’s continually picking up speed, with Goldman Sachs forecasting the cloud infrastructure and platform market to grow at 19.62 percent CAGR from 2015 to 2018, reaching $43 billion by 2018. The incentives for enterprises moving to the cloud is constantly growing, including improved collaboration, reduced costs, virtual data rooms, greater integration and more security. Security is a hot topic for any organisation, and especially those in the legal and financial sectors. In such highly regulated industries, where data is extremely valuable, security is of the utmost importance. Some within these sectors view the cloud as a risky venture when it comes to data security, when in fact, the opposite is true.

data is extremely valuable, security is of the utmost importance

According to a survey by Verizon Enterprises that spoke with 625 IT decision makers, the respondents who had transitioned to the cloud experienced no impact on data security (34 percent) or had improved security levels (39 percent). The cloud offers enterprises more enhanced security and more solutions for keeping their data secure and free from breaches. In 2014, more than 180,000 laptops, tablets and phones were either lost or stolen in the UK alone. Having any work data stored purely on your laptop or tablet puts it at considerable risk, especially if it ends up in the wrong hands. Having your data stored on the cloud, however, means that not only can you access it from any device, but if someone was to find your own device, they would be no where closer to accessing your private information.

Not getting left behind 

Cloud providers are continually improving and enhancing their security features, aware that this is arguably the biggest barrier between them and sectors such as the legal and financial services. That isn’t to say, however, that these sectors aren’t already embracing the cloud. As we speak, an increasing number of financial and legal organisations are seeing the benefits of such a technological transition. 46 percent of surveyed firms in the European Union (EU) are already using advanced cloud services relating to financial and accounting software applications, and a new report from CipherCloud shows financial firms having an increase confidence in cloud technologies, with 100 percent of respondents saying they would put certain personally identifiable information (PII) in the cloud. 

Legal, on the other hand, have been a few steps ahead of the financial services in implementing cloud software and the sector’s integration looks only to continue. In a recent survey by HBR involving 308 in-house legal counsel from companies across 22 industries, some 44 percent reported an increase in their systems and tech budgets. This should come as no surprise, with nearly three quarters of in-house law departments reporting increased legal demands in the past year, many firms will require support from a platform capable of handling high quantities of data, while keeping it all secure. A platform such as the cloud.

nearly 3/4 in-house law departments reporting increased legal demands in the past year

In industries as highly regulated and data sensitive as the legal and financial services, hesitance to fully embrace the cloud platform is understandable. Technology adoption can often produce a domino effect however, and the more organisations that transition to this platform, the harder it will be for other businesses to resist. There was a time, not too long ago, that many companies resisted the urge of email and hardware storage, still more comfortable with post and hard copies. They had found a system that worked and wanted to stick with it. You can’t fault that. An improved system reared its head, however, and from a business and financial standpoint, it became impossible to ignore. A similar situation is now occurring with cloud integration, and going into 2016, you will find companies finding fewer and fewer reasons to ignore this movement. The technology times are continually changing and enterprises have to decide whether to change with it, or risk being left behind. A risk, it’s predicted, that the financial and legal industries won’t be willing to take. 

The future is now

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By 2019, cloud applications will account for 90 percent of worldwide mobile data traffic. Enterprises in the cloud isn’t a sign of the future, it’s a sign of the current times. The legal and financial sectors inherit many things, one of which is a highly competitive market. Organisations can’t afford to watch their competitors welcome the cloud platform, and retain a competitive advantage, while they stand idly by, still using dated technologies. Though some may be hesitant at first, as the advantages of enterprise cloud platforms continue to mount, this new technology will be embraced, and the adopters won’t look back.