Digital transformation is sweeping across every industry, transforming organizations of all types. As a result, the demand for secure, real-time communications, rapid response support, and constant uptime is increasing steadily. Even companies that have historically been paper-based are being challenged to operate with maximum speed and efficiency.
Most law firms are aware of the need for enhanced connectivity and are looking for easy and cost-effective ways to improve connections between offices and data centers to improve the performance of document sharing, document backup, and video conferencing for depositions and lawyer training.
For service providers, this means there’s an opportunity at hand to help bring law clients up to speed—and SD-WAN is the technology that can help make it happen.
What is SD-WAN?
Software-defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a new networking technology that has been developed over the last 5-10 years. SD-WAN works by abstracting the control of a data connection like an Internet circuit or dedicated fiber connection from the actual physical circuit itself. This means that SD-WAN allows 3rd parties like Managed Services Providers, Internet Service Providers and others to create and control an SD-WAN-based network that is an overlay on top of the actual circuits provided by the carriers.
The technology is ideal for use in large, distributed networks, and organizations with expiring MPLS contracts who are seeking alternative connectivity options.
How SD-WAN Can Help Multi-Site Law Firms
For law firms, SD-WAN helps provide a real alternative to the monopoly control and pricing that telecoms and cablecoms have exerted over networks for decades. SD-WAN gives other service providers the ability to create networks that are just as secure and as reliable as dedicated networks from carriers. In some instances, SD-WAN-based networks can be more reliable and are almost always more flexible, agile and easy to change and manage.
Some specific ways SD-WAN can help improve operations for large, multi-site law firms:
More control, flexibility and reduced cost
Businesses with multi-site branch locations in all sectors will find that SD-WAN provides better efficiency for its MPLS connections, more flexibility for deploying new services remotely and better redundancy — all with little incremental cost.
SD-WAN uses multiple transports, giving it a tremendous amount of flexibility, enabling remote endpoints that can be configured for MPLS, broadband Ethernet, 3G/4G cellular and more. This transport flexibility makes it easier for law firms to connect branches, regardless of their physical location or any carrier restrictions. Law firms are empowered with full end-to-end control and visibility over their network.
With SD-WAN, law firms can control quality of service and connectivity of business-critical applications like Voice, CRM, and Firewall from their data center, through the last mile connectivity into their LAN, all while reducing costs! Look for an SD-WAN solution that provides virtual instances that can be easily hosted in data centers and integrated with existing security solutions instead of hardware-dependent platforms or solutions that require specific security solutions to be deployed.
Improved virtual meetings
Law firms are increasingly embracing virtual consultations, to connect with clients, partners, officials, and witnesses. This means law firms need to be able to stream live video at any hour, and from any location. Streaming video can place a tremendous burden on a network, resulting in poor data transmissions and ineffective meetings.
With SD-WAN, customers can aggregate numerous connections from multiple providers—ensuring video communications always have enough network resources to operate soundly. Video and voice traffic can be prioritized easily to ensure that quality is preserved despite other network traffic. The best SD-WAN solutions use dynamic or elastic reservation as opposed to permanent bandwidth reservation for priority applications to optimize network resources.
Law firms must operate with the highest level of security at all times. Documents like client statements, evidence, and multimedia files need to be transmitted with the utmost care, in order to avoid having items fall into the wrong hands.
25% of law firms have experienced a data breach (The National Law Review, 2019). For a law firm, a data breach can lead to lost court cases, lawsuits, and tarnished reputations. Clients need to be assured they can trust their partners to handle sensitive data.
Security takes place at multiple levels. Per packet link-level balancing across multiple circuits provides physical security and security against packet sniffing techniques. Multiple encryption ciphers also give choices for security options, based on the size of a branch office. Integrating best-of-breed security platforms also provides flexibility and ease of deployment as SD-WAN can be deployed alongside existing UTM and security services.
In a large, multi-site law firm, uptime is important for a few reasons.
First, it’s necessary to always have a direct line of communication with customers open. This is critical for capturing new customers, and providing service to existing ones. If a customer can’t get through to an agent when searching for a lawyer, for instance, they’re liable to find another provider who can provide assistance.
Communication is also important throughout the duration of the customer relationship. Missed or delayed communications can send the wrong message to a client, and make them think they are being intentionally ignored. This, too, can cause a customer to look elsewhere for support—complicating or delaying a case, and resulting in lost business.
What’s more, uptime is important for ensuring internal communications. Partners, associates, opposing counsel members, contract lawyers, clerks, paralegals, assistants, secretaries and other team members all need to work together to move business along. A communications lapse can lead to missed deadlines, missed opportunities, and unwanted court issues.
Using SD-WAN, a customer can combine two or more internet circuits and combine them to create a single virtual data path, resulting in stacked bandwidth and combined availability. This way, if a local Internet or network provider experiences a network outage, a branch office can automatically and seamlessly failover traffic to the other Internet circuits. Same IP failover ensures that voice/video sessions don’t drop. And, with fixed wireless or LTE options that can be included in the virtual data path or tunnel, there’s non-terrestrial options to maintain business continuity.
How Service Providers Can Benefit from Multapplied’s SD-WAN
Managed Service Providers, Cloud Service Providers, Internet Service Providers and competitive carriers can deploy Multapplied’s white label SD-WAN platform in their networks to target multi-site law firms in need of cost-effective and reliable connectivity.
In doing so, service providers can maintain full control over all aspects of the service including markup, infrastructure, and marketing.
Multapplied’s SD-WAN software platform is deployed as a DIY solution that service providers host, manage and control from within their networks.
Multapplied SD-WAN gives service providers targeting legal firms the ability to:
- Deliver higher quality managed services that address all the needs of law firms, including reliable connectivity and business continuity.
- Build brand, acquire and retain customers by ensuring that the service provider can control the quality of the end-user experience and assist the law firm in understanding and improving their network and connectivity to managed services.
- Maximize revenue and profits by adding value to service provider managed services with a new monthly recurring revenue stream that can be packaged and bundled easily to support Service Level Agreements or Objectives.
For more information about how Multapplied aligns with service providers, click here.
This is just one example of how Multapplied SD-WAN can help specific verticals. For some more opportunities, check out the following articles: