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Cloud computing incites dramatic change in law firms

It's no secret that both lawyers working for private practices and public prosecutors handle particularly sensitive information. Whether concerning a criminal or civil litigation, protecting the intelligence being discussed is a top priority for most of those practicing law. As with most other industries, attorneys are taking advantage of the benefits associated with cloud computing. In turn, their investment is motivating those developing the technology to strengthen security features.

Laying out protocols
Due to the initial myths pertaining to cloud security, many law officers are apprehensive of putting their clientele's files into cloud storage. However, it's important to remember that protection is always going to be a concern, whether it involves an on-premise data center or a public cloud deployment. Adam Cohen, a contributor to Inside Counsel, noted that attorneys need to have a basic understanding (at the least) of how Software-as-a-Service solutions work and what basic measures they should take in order to ensure document security.

As can be imagined, state and federal governments have taken note of those concerns and have implemented regulatory measures, some of which require law firms using cloud technology to:

  • Ascertain what security techniques a cloud hosting company employs and the effectiveness of those measures
  • Evaluate the vendor's protection and backup plan
  • Classify the degree of defense executed by the vendor providing the cloud

In order to satisfy these legislative demands, it's imperative that lawyers obtain some level of education regarding network bulwarking, intrusion detection systems and encryption methods. Obtaining a four-year degree isn't necessary, but law firms should strongly consider enrolling their staff members in cloud security courses.

Realizing benefits
Lawyers don't have the option of failing to migrate to cloud infrastructure. For those possessing clientele consisting primarily of large enterprises, there's a good chance that the businesses represented in court utilize cloud technology in one way or another. In order to maintain pace with the organizations they're working for, it's imperative that attorneys join the adoption trend and invest in cloud computing. Sticking with traditional, legacy systems while trying to work with companies that conduct operations via contemporary environments can be extremely time-consuming and difficult.

Venture Beat contributor Dmitry Sheynin wrote that many lawyers have recognized that outsourcing to cloud hosting providers is the best way to adapt to the changing technological sphere. Sheynin spoke with Nicole Hyland, a legal ethics and intellectual property lawyer, who discussed the incredible amount of financial capital and space required to store the average law firm's intelligence and research materials in hard copy.

"These [cloud computing] services enable many lawyers to be able to practice law in an efficient, economic way that they wouldn't otherwise be able to do," Hyland told Sheynin.

Whereas some law firms would suggest that managing security in-house is the best option, they should recognize that a demand for top-of-the-line, superior cloud security will likely motivate cloud hosting companies to further refine their services. In addition, companies specializing in data protection may compete for a place in the legal world.

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