Tech Tips: Online Training and Webinars for Law Firms

Attorneys must keep up to date on developments in their practice area of the law, and on company or firm-specific compliance issues. As time is always a precious commodity, finding a convenient and reliable way to provide this service is important.

Providing training and webinars online is increasingly common. They can be easy to access and done at the user's convenience. So what is the best way to harness this technology? Learn more about how to best implement these programs and what considerations you should keep in mind.

Online Training

Dear IT Guy,
I am a CIO at a law firm, and I recently read an article in ComputerWorld that featured an education project that you successfully completed. In the article, you briefly mentioned the installation of a firm media server so that employees could do online training. Can you further explain how I could set this up for my firm and what some of the advantages and disadvantages there are with taking this direction for in-house training?

A: The media server has worked well for us due to the fact that the training can be completed when employees have time on their own to undertake the training. Our investment in video equipment and a video editing PC has allowed us to tape specialized instruction and edit in screen shots to make the main learning points more clear. The digitized video is then loaded onto our media server and is then accessible to all employees throughout the network. Our mandatory Core Competency policy encourages employees to access the media server and view one of the four training videos before taking a multiple choice exam based on the information. One downside is the large bandwidth needs of the video, which has led some delayed viewing problems in our remote offices.

Webinars and Security Risks

Dear IT Guy,
Lately the learning trend has been to have online "Webinars" (interactive training and presentation through an Internet browser). I have found that they are helpful and interactive, but I would like to know if there are any security risks that I should be aware of?

A: I agree that the trend to use online presentation is a welcome one, especially with the growing priority to reduce travel in light of terrorism and economic concerns. As long as your network is maintaining a respectable hardware firewall, the risks are low when logging into a Webinar. One very small risk that might exist is any application that may offer interaction with your system from the presenting computer. With any executable application, the risk of a virus is present, and granting the connecting computer remote administration does open you computer up to malicious activity. For the most part, the majority of the Webinars I have been active on are safe and offer a great learning opportunity.

Tips courtesy of Chuck Linebaugh of O'Hagan, Smith & Amundsen.

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