NetDocuments is for the first time offering its customers the option to host documents on their own premises or with the client if they have documents that can’t be stored in the cloud.

The previously solely cloud-based document and email management provider is currently working with customers in the US to offer a private storage solution, which will also be made available to European clients at the start of next year, according to co-founder and chief technology officer Alvin Tedjamulia.

Speaking at a briefing last night (5 November) to a room with a notably high proportion of Magic Circle representatives, Tedjamulia said: “We have created private storage, which will go to your private repository and we also have the capability to have your customer host your documents. No private data will go to the cloud and if it’s hosted by the client, it won’t go to your storage.”

Referring to NetDocuments’ recent integration with Microsoft cloud technologies, Tedjamulia added: “Now for the first time we have the option of where to place the document. Not just locally or on premise or in the cloud. You can put it in the cloud in the US or the UK or Australia or worldwide. If you have an office in Beijing and the Chinese Government says all documents have to be located in China, you can store it there.”

The development will be a positive step for law firms with clients that have blanket bans on their documents being hosted in the cloud – as contradictory as that often is, given that many use cloud-based services such as Mimecast or Salesforce. Within the financial services sector banks such as HSBC do not allow their legal advisers to host their data in the cloud and without an on premises option, firms could be faced by the unusual possibility that their IT arrangements become a bar to accepting or retaining work.

While the local repository will enable firms to keep data at their own facility, the features, functionality and software of the DMS will still be maintained and managed by NetDocuments across its global data centres.

Farrer & Co, where last night’s briefing was held, rolled out NetDocuments a year ago and speaking in June to Legal IT Insider, Farrer’s IT director Neil Davison said candidly: “In some cases it may mean we can’t take the work. Every firm experiences times when they can’t accept and can’t take on the work – but it’s changing.”

With a local storage solution in the offing, change has come sooner than expected and Davison said: “NetDocuments has reacted to the client demands so now if a client requires us to store documents on premise we can now meet the requirement. That said, sophisticated clients understand that the cloud offers better security than on premise systems.”