Using Microsoft Teams, the Law Centres Network can collaborate and work more efficiently together, easily and securely sharing case files and other important documents.
Established the early 1970s, The Law Centres Network (LCN) is the membership organisation that supports the network of Law Centres operating around the UK. Comprising over 40 members, each Law Centre works independently and operates as a registered charity, offering free legal advice to individuals and groups within their communities.
Many Law Centres were working with aging technology and unreliable networks. Internet connections were basic in most cases, sharing files and collaboration across Centres was difficult, licences were complex to manage, and IT training and ongoing strategy was almost non-existent.
Explains Julie Bishop, Director at LCN: “Our Law Centres provide high quality legal resources, dedicated to helping the most vulnerable in our local communities. Yet the quality of our IT facilities was preventing the Centres from working effectively, collaborating on service delivery and sharing best practices to support our clients.”
LCN recognised the need to deploy a cost effective, nationwide IT service to promote better use of the cloud, improve infrastructure, consolidate licencing and provide better quality, up to date devices for their members.
The solution offered by AspiraCloud allowed the Law Centres to consolidate their IT services into one central Microsoft 365 tenant. We proposed to build a directory of all identities across the Centres, standardise licenses and then migrate user email and content from aging servers and other providers into one common platform.
Phase 1 commenced in 2016, with five Law Centres and the LCN head office migrating to Microsoft 365. Phase 2 began a year later. Focussed on another five Law Centres, the licensing model was adapted to include volunteers. Phase 3 supported a further five Law Centres, including the first Google migration to Microsoft 365. Phases 4 and 5 have seen additional Centres come onboard and the introduction of Microsoft Intune for enhanced endpoint management, where many of the Centres are now using the advanced features, including AutoPilot.
With a common, centrally managed cloud network, the Law Centres Network has been able to dispose of aging hardware, servers and adopt a cloud print service via Printex, to become a true serverless organisation.
Most of the Centres are now using Microsoft Teams Telephony – a cost effective solution to replace Skype for Business and the analogue phone system that was still in use at some Centres. LCN has also adopted AspiraCloud’s Cloud First Support to manage IT across the entire network, where members can access a single point of contact to address any IT issues. AspiraCloud has also delivered security training, including anti phishing techniques to reduce the risk of potential hackers.
This major IT scheme has enabled the Law Centres to focus on what they do best: supporting the needs of the local community when they are at their most vulnerable, without having to think about managing their IT.
Working with AspiraCloud and the Microsoft Cloud has enabled the Centres to work on cases remotely or in the office, at any time, confident that all data remains secure and the regulatory requirements of the SRA in terms of GDPR and data sovereignty are met. All 600 case workers can rapidly respond and provide remote legal support to clients no matter their location.
Using Microsoft Teams, they can collaborate and work more efficiently together, easily and securely sharing case files and other important documents. In fact, several Law Centres have achieved a Cyber Essentials Plus certification – demonstrating the digital security of this cloud platform.
With the Microsoft Cloud, there is simply no longer a need for any expensive, on-premises equipment. This has delivered dramatic cost savings for this non-profit organisation.
Many Centres are now making use of Teams telephony and conference calling which has dramatically reduced call costs for the charity, whilst allowing the Centres to work remotely and still provide a good service. The Government has already announced the end of PSTN dialling from 2025, so with the adoption of Microsoft Teams, LCN and their member Law Centres are future proofed and prepared to meet this forthcoming change. A partnership with Dell has also been set up to provide the Law Centres with laptops, docking stations and monitors.
This has improved both hot desking and hybrid working, effectively supporting the development of the modern workplace for this national charity. AspiraCloud continues to work closely with LCN and help more Centres join the scheme. We continue to offer training and develop awareness of new features in Microsoft 365, including Bookings, Planner, Forms and Power BI.
The Cloud First Support IT services from AspiraCloud has proved invaluable.
Julie goes on: “With a single point of contact for all support requirements, each Centre can easily report any IT issues, which are swiftly resolved, often remotely. This keeps IT support costs down while offering complete peace of mind for the Centres. We also decided to implement a common network infrastructure across all member Centres, so AspiraCloud can remotely monitor and proactively provide support if a Centre starts to experience internet connectivity issues.”
“A key element of this national IT project is constant improvement,” concludes Julie: “AspiraCloud continues to recommend and provide solutions that fit with the way we want to work, leveraging the power of the technology that we have invested in. They remain a trusted, strategic partner for the Law Centres Network. This is an ongoing and strategic plan to make sure we help our Centres keep up to date in future as much as funds will allow.”
If you want to find out more or do the same for your organisation, simply get in touch.