- Legal Futures - https://www.legalfutures.co.uk -

Is your Legal Data being held to ransom?

Insight Legal [1]By Brian Welsh, CEO of Insight Legal [2]

In most industries, the process of transferring software suppliers will involve some degree of migrating data from your current system to a new system. Today’s legal sector is no different, and you would expect your new supplier to charge some sort of fee to complete the transfer.

When this occurs, some new suppliers may look at the lifetime value of you as a client and charge a set fee for the service rather than consider the actual daily rate and time taken to complete the task. Others offer an import solution, which allows the customer to import the data themselves if they wanted to. But what happens if your current supplier then also says it wants money in order to hand you back your data?

Smoke and mirrors

In the days before cloud, data lived on premise. There would be a good chance that a reputable chosen software supplier who has been in the market for some time would know how to access the databases of competitor products, pick it up and then migrate it without having to involve the incumbent supplier. However, as we increasingly operate in cloud-based software, data now typically sits in a multi-tenanted environment, making it impossible to merely pick up and provide a copy of an entire database.

It goes without saying that client retention is a very important metric for modern software companies, which can greatly impact the value of a business. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon for providers to try and find ways to keep customers in any way possible. For example, you may be offered your legal data back through reports, however this doesn’t provide you with a complete ‘data dump’ and may leave many pools of data locked up in the system. These pitfalls often leave firms stuck with suppliers even if the solution isn’t fully supporting their business.

It could even be that they aren’t actually working to give you back your data, or it is a last ditch attempt to get some money from you before you leave. Either way, this can potentially leave unsuspecting firms out of pocket or with a cache of inaccessible data – or both.

Keep control of your data

The moral of the story is that many firms are being unknowingly held to ransom by software suppliers using their legal data and anyone seeking new legal software should make sure they can get their data back for free and in full before they even sign. But what exactly can you do to ensure this?

Some vital questions to ask your potential new supplier, or check in your current contract include:

Taking these necessary precautions can ultimately be the difference between a firm retaining full control of its data or having to stomach a sizeable bill when trying to take their information out of these systems quickly and effectively. They are also the essential steps for firms to cut out the market noise and hone in on reputable and transparent legal software suppliers, instead of falling victim to the efforts some providers take to retain their business through conditionally holding their rightful legal data to ransom.