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Using the Cloud for Your Firm's Storage

In an article posted on the ABA Journal site on August 1, 2009, entitled Working in the Cloud, many benefits of using cloud computing are discussed.  Cloud computing allows you to use the Internet as a platform to run programs and store data.  This is done through worldwide data centers owned by Amazon.com, Google and others on which these Internet services run.  There are many cost effective benefits to cloud computing.  You are able to access these services through your browser or internet connection, avoiding the costs of having different programs and hardware added to your network.  These services provide the backup and the administration needed for the programs/services being used.  You are able to access your information anywhere.  In most cases, the cost for these services are a monthly fee, which is easier to budget for.  When looking for a service provider, as a law firm, be sure to investigate the provider to protect yourself and your clients' confidentiality.  For more information, please click the link above.

Comments

Peter Mullison

There has been alot of legal bloggers talking about this lately. It seems like a great idea. Super convenient. But my question is whether or not cloud computing would meet the ethical standards for keeping client information confidential and secure, particularly in light of the recent attack on Google. I wonder if remote access to a secure server isn't a better option. Same idea as cloud computing, but you control your data center.

GAL

Peter:


The issue of whether or not using ‘the cloud” raises any particular ethical issues is an interesting one. I don’t have any data, but my guess is that tens of thousands of lawyers, and perhaps many more, are already using “the cloud.” The use the cloud when they use Gmail, Yahoo mail or any other outsourced mail service. They use the cloud when they subscribe to extranet systems or large file format upload services.


Like so many other issues brought on by the advent of the internet, our ethical and other rules struggle to keep up. But let’s think of it this way.


What is more secure? A team of lawyers running around with paper files which they regularly take from their briefcases in court, conference rooms, client offices, adversary offices and so many other places or…information kept in the cloud by a company whose primary effort as part of their business model is to keep the data secure. I always found it somewhat laughable when people talk about the use of email and other devices to communicate client information as being somehow “less secure” than using the U.S. Mail. These are all relative choices. However, there is little question in my mind that computer and internet technology have drastically reduced the threat of accidental disclosure of confidential client information.


Thanks for your comment and I’d be interested in your continued thoughts.

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