With wireless networks becoming increasingly more common, even small businesses like law firms are beginning to implement their own wireless networks to reap the benefits that come along with them. However, a wireless network is no small investment and often requires a hefty investment to purchase the network controllers and equipment that are needed to run an enterprise-grade wireless network. Smaller businesses often can’t afford this type of investment as well as the costs of continual maintenance, and so they are turning to cloud-based networks—a cheaper alternative that provides a managed network without the normal expenses and investments associated with it.
A cloud-based network is a new type of managed network that comes with the introduction of cloud-computing and software as a service. It is a solution that allows smaller businesses, like law firms and legal offices, to have a managed, enterprise-grade wireless network without having to invest in expensive servers, equipment, and IT professionals to keep the network up and running. A cloud-based network is a service where the network servers and equipment are owned by the service provider and rented out. So those subscribing to a cloud-based network service receive all the benefits of a managed and updated wireless network without having to purchase much equipment for themselves. Aerohive is one example of a cloud-network provider. After purchasing a couple of their certified access points and booting them up, you will have a fully managed wireless network complete with cloud storage and access control. All you need to do after this is change the permissions and settings to your liking and the rest is completely managed in the cloud.
Cloud-based networks are especially useful for smaller businesses and remote deployments because it provides the benefits of having a wireless network controller and network servers without actually needing the space or the capital expenditure to purchase and install the equipment. While larger corporate structures may still want to have their own network servers and controllers for the added flexibility, smaller deployments that couldn’t normally afford such a luxury benefit greatly from cloud-based networks because they require no capital expenditure and have a low cost. Aside from the cost, cloud-based networks are also managed by IT professionals and are consistently monitored to ensure that issues are resolved quickly and the system runs reliably. Important data can also be stored in the cloud and access permissions can be controlled with the network so that only certain users can access secure and confidential files. This control is useful in law firms where client files can be stored in the cloud but access is restricted to the respective client and the professionals.
Law firms and legal offices can take advantage of these cloud-based networks and the benefits they can provide to both clients and legal workers. Using the access controls built in to the network, the wireless can be set up so that different users have different permissions for what they can access. The corporate desktop computer can be given full access to the private cloud storage containing sensitive documents while the personal mobile devices of the clients can be limited to just internet access. Even further personalization can be made where specific guests and legal workers have access to specific files and cases—so they only have access to the documents that they are working on. Another benefit of having a wireless network installed is that the devices within the office stay connected even if the WAN link fails. Although there will be no connectivity to the internet in this case, the networked devices will stay connected for access to printing and data that has been stored locally. Finally, by using the cloud service, legal workers can access the cloud storage from anywhere, allowing them to pull up critical documents and work even if it isn’t stored physically on the device.
A cloud-based network installation can help law firms take it to the next level. A cloud-based WiFi allows clients to browse the web or check their emails while waiting for consultation and can be used by legal workers to provide selective access to sensitive documents. The network is fairly simple to set-up and the cloud-based infrastructure means that the solution is fairly cheap and requires very little space to implement—making it perfect for small legal offices. A wireless network can help improve the client experience as well as improve productivity, and with solutions like Aerohive’s cloud-based wireless network, having a wireless network has never been so easily accessible.