Defense Against the Dark Arts: Security in the Cloud

When lawyers object to cloud technology, the argument is usually grounded in data security.  The claim is that, surely, a cloud-based program is not as secure as alternatives.  But, what lawyers often fail to consider is what those specific alternatives might be.

If you’ve watched Amazon’s excellent ‘The Man in the High Castle’ (or read the book it’s based on), you’ll know that an examination of alternatives will not always yield a palatable option.  The fact is, cloud security is relative.  Take the time to analyze it against the operations of a traditional law office, and accessing a remote server suddenly seems a whole heck of a lot safer.

Think about some of the obvious ways that law firms compromise their own data security.  Files are left out on desks.  Staff and clients and others walk around, with scant monitoring, while sensitive data is visible, and susceptible to theft.  There is no formal tracking system for files.  Strings of passwords are written on sticky notes, in plain view.  Devices with sensitive information saved to them can be lost, or stolen.  Dozens of emails are sent, across multitudes of servers to various parties, in order to capture revisions to one document.  Devices and drives are unencrypted.  I could go on; but, I tire of this game.

The truth of the matter is that a traditional law office operating in the modern world is far more prone to data breach than a virtual law practice, or something close to it.  An effective cloud array serves to eliminate paper, could reduce your passwords to a memorable few, removes software and files from the devices you use, promotes collaborative document management and offers feasible encryption options.

At this point, just about every one of the United States has on its books a data protection law.  The way those laws are written, the use of cloud-based technology that features encryption and security updates will pass muster, assuming a documented vetting process has taken place.  Managing a system, or systems, in the cloud is a far more practical way to secure data than attempting to close various, gaping loopholes present in traditional paper-based or hybrid paper file/electronic file office settings.

So, as it turns, managing a cloud-based technology platform makes law firms more efficient and more secure.

Who knew?  (Well, I did; but, that’s beside the point.)

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