Support out of office and mobile working

Ideally there should be three optional methods within the bundle. A browser based access to avoid the need for locally installed software along with a traditional Windows option to provide richer navigation and more advanced functionality. Thirdly there should be the facility to download “a file” or “files” to allow completely disconnected access to selected data. The browser based option should be hardware independent, allowing the “warrior” to work from iPad, iPhone, tablet, laptop wherever they are. The Windows option, using remote desktop technology, enables access via any Windows platform e.g. notebook, laptop or tablet /iPad (via Citrix). The disconnected option may download data to Excel spreadsheet or could take the form of a consolidated PDF file. This can allow isolated perusal or enquiry and the checking out of individual documents for remote editing. There should also be the facility to upload or “synch” externally gathered information once connectivity is re-established.

The “connected” methods are increasingly viable due to the widespread availability of WiFi, however, the “warrior” still needs to anticipate circumstances where there is no internet access.

From a hardware perspective, having the three optional methods of access gives a user pretty much free range in terms of choice. It can literally boil down to personal preference. A notebook or laptop probably provides the greatest flexibility but a tablet is more portable and of course – more trendy. Smartphones are ubiquitous these days and need to be catered for but they are obviously limited in terms of display area and ease of typing. They are more suited to the checking of key performance indicators and notifications as opposed to full system access. Software, such as our own Liberate suite, supports remote working in all three modes. This provides roving access to cases, documents, emails, time recording and more.

At the centre of much of this are pieces of software that facilitate the remote connectivity. Of course it is essential that firms offering mobile working consider the security aspects of the systems they deploy and this middleware forms a key part of the “bundle”.

So, our warrior needs to hedge his or her bets and choose a system that allows multiple methods of operation. That way they can wander free as a bird yet still get some serious work done.

This article first appeared in Issue 11 of Modern Law Magazine and was written by Phil Snee, Development Director, Linetime Limited.