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Is the cloud a secure place for legal data?

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

In our recent series of posts, we’ve busted a lot of myths around the cloud — many of which relate to perceived security issues that users of cloud solutions are thought to be exposed to. We’ve shown how, with the right provider, public cloud should be far more secure than private cloud. We’ve demonstrated why it’s a misconception that taking a lift and shift approach to cloud migration is just as good as going cloud native. And we’ve laid to rest the notion that you can build modern security onto legacy technology.

However, there’s one final concern that might be a cause for concern, understandably, for law firm leaders. We’ve proved that the cloud is a secure place for businesses in general to store their data and carry out their operations — but is it really secure enough for legal data and workflows specifically? Don’t law firms have to be even more careful, given the nature of the work they do for clients; the types of confidential, sensitive, and privileged information they hold; and the regulatory requirements to which they must adhere? And are there any circumstances where putting information in the cloud does not comply with privacy and data protection laws or the rules governing the legal profession?

Let’s consider these questions in turn.

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Is the cloud really secure enough for the needs of law firms?

Yes. As we’ve seen, if law firms’ cloud solutions are hosted by best-in-class public cloud providers, are built using a cloud native approach, and have modern Zero Trust principles embedded to minimize the damage should a breach occur, then they will offer maximum, multi-layered security. They should in fact be far better protected than many on-prem solutions that law firms have traditionally hosted on their own networks.

Do law firms have to be more careful than other businesses?

Yes. Although cloud solutions do not present a greater security risk to law firms compared to other kinds of businesses, there are some other considerations that legal decision makers specifically should bear in mind.

For instance, firms should always use vendors whose services are specially designed for the legal market, to ensure they comply with all the relevant legal and regulatory data protection requirements that apply to law firms. It’s critical to verify that they have robust privacy practices in place, and to check that your law firm retains ownership and control of the data under the terms of the contract.

It’s important to also ensure that providers offer suitable archive and backup services, and that cloud-hosted solutions can support and integrate with the existing tech tools your firm is using so that seamless data transfer is assured.

Are there instances where cloud usage goes against privacy laws or legal rules?

No. It’s perfectly acceptable for law firms to store any type of data in the cloud, as long as it is securely protected in line with the applicable laws and regulatory rules. However, it’s worth taking into account that regulations can vary around the world and they are constantly evolving, so your provider must stay on top of these obligations.

Is there anything else law firms should do to evaluate cloud solutions?

Yes. You should conduct thorough due diligence on potential vendors and ask them in-depth questions before signing on the dotted line.

  1. Find out what their track record is when it comes to data breaches, and whether they have been subject to any regulatory investigations or sanctions.
  2. Ask them to explain in detail their security provisions to make sure they are sufficiently robust for your needs, including the extent to which they have embedded Zero Trust principles into their services.

Though the shift into the cloud is accelerating as more and more law firms come to realize the benefits, incorrect assumptions and false beliefs are still holding some firms back from taking the leap — and for those reasons alone, it pays to thoroughly investigate the different options to find the right one for your firm.

For many firms around the world, 3E is the cloud-based financial management solution of choice, delivering performance you can see and value clients will feel.

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