It’s out! The 2015 International Legal Technology Associations Annual Survey is stocked with insightful legal technology industry knowledge. This is always an exciting time of the year for me as I get to compare and contrast the stories I heard during the year from law firm visits with ILTA’s survey results. One dominant theme that prevails throughout the 2015 survey is change and security. There is little question that many of the “new” ideas or concepts of several years ago have become the status quo and forced firms to adapt. Sometimes the medium law firm space embraces these new ideas and concepts before Big Law, but more often that is reversed. So what are some of the interesting trends this year?
Atop the trees and looking down, respondents focused on their Top 3 Technology Annoyances. In order they are Security/Risk Management; Change Management and Expectations; and Change, User Acceptance of Change. These three issues struck a chord for me. Many with whom I spoke with throughout the year described these consistently as top pain points for the technology departments at law firms.
Staying with the security theme, Mobile Device Management (MDM), continues to grow in popularity with nearly 50% of respondents responding that they utilize it. I assume in the coming years this will continue to rise. Secure access points where users connect to the Internet are increasingly seen as important by law firms. To this end, firms are creating policies forbidding users to connect to open WiFi at cafés or airports. As a result this year Hot Spots or Mi-Fi devices have leapt in adoption with mobile phone hot spots up 20% on the current survey.
Encryption made wide gains across the board. While there are many facets to encryption, each part of the survey referencing it, demonstrated significant gains over last year. Specifically, each of the following jumped by a minimum of 10% over 2014; Laptop Hard Drive Encryption, Automatic Email Encryption, Removable Media Encryption, and Smartphone Encryption.
Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Advanced Threat Detection, Data Loss Protection, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), are all on the rise across the various sizes of the organization. One interesting tactic that I heard about several firms doing this year is Spear-Phishing their own users. According to the survey this is on the rise and firms are indeed testing their own employees. The goal is to educate and increase awareness with cybersecurity threats and how to avoid troubled waters.
Other Interesting Technology Trends:
- The firm’s top management is viewing IT departments less as an expense, going from 44% last year to 39% of respondents this year.
- Technology spending sees a mix between a slight increase 3% and staying the same up 3% respectively by respondents.
- The two primary reasons for firms not moving to the Cloud; 44% Security and Cost 38%
- Firms that have been through audits by a client in the last three years, 33% said yes and 67% no.
- SharePoint is trending down slightly in adoption with 48% in 2015 versus 53% in 2011.
- iOS dominates with Android second, but most surprising is that Windows Mobile dropped off considerably, down 13% from last year.
- Additionally on the mobile front, support of one platform, i.e. OS or Android grew considerably last year up 11%
- Office 2010 still reigns atop at 77% compared to Office 2007 at 12% and 2013 at 8%.
- Desktop Operating System is dominated by Windows 7 (64-bit) at 73% followed by Windows 7 (32-bit) at 23% and far behind is Windows 8/8.1 at 3%.