Ashurst progresses its cloud agenda

Ashurst has instructed IT infrastructure and services provider Softcat and begun engaging a number of key clients on moving much of its data to the cloud as the UK top 10 firm continues to lead a working party that puts Microsoft at the centre of law firm efforts to shift their infrastructure off premises.
Softcat is advising Ashurst on a hybrid-cloud model that will look at moving to Office 365/hosted Exchange and potentially putting the firm’s document management system in the cloud. It currently uses iManage on premises.
As we revealed in July, Ashurst’s global head of IT, Bruna Pellicci earlier this year set up a Microsoft legal working group designed to put the software giant at the centre of law firm efforts to move their infrastructure to the cloud. The working group, which most recently met on 27 September and includes law firms such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, RPC, BLM, Bird & Bird and Clyde & Co has brought in representatives from Microsoft in a bid to answer recurring law firm challenges such as the security issues raised by client RFPs.
Pellicci said: “Requirements to keep information secure are growing and clients expect to see their law firms responding to this. Microsoft is working with us to understand these requirements and establish exactly how its cloud services can deliver on them.”
The firm is now engaging its clients in its plans and Pellicci said: “We are currently reaching out to some of our clients via the client relationship partners to discuss what we are proposing to do with Microsoft and taking their views on that as we want to ensure that they would be happy with us potentially moving to a hybrid cloud solution.”
Ashurst is planning to contact around half a dozen key clients in the financial services and insurance sector. Pellicci says: “Clients don’t have a blanket ban but say ‘your system must meet these requirements’. We have gone through the requirements with our risk and compliance team and we’ve gone through 150 client panel terms to understand if there are any restrictions.”
She adds: “Running an IT department should be about being innovative, not just business as usual.”
Speaking to Legal IT Insider Lucy Bassli, assistant general counsel for Microsoft, who attended the Ashurst meeting on 27 September and spoke to us on the same day, said: “What came out of today is that Ashurst is moving forward and the group is gaining momentum with more companies joining in. There is still the underlying challenge of financial services companies and it was interesting to broaden that out and really start to expose some of the challenges with their financial services clients. We want to help them join up with our financial services team so there are a lot of conversations around that and some real momentum in how we can work together.”
The collaboration comes as Taylor Wessing reaches a half-way point in shifting its infrastructure and some software into Azure. If you missed the Microsoft video that we featured on 20 October take a look here: https://
This story first appeared in the October Legal IT Insider – for your free monthly copy click here:
Don’t miss our exclusive yesterday (7 November) that Farrer is set to move its data to Azure and has instructed SystemsUp to execute a two-year transformation plan.