In her 6/26/19 article for Legal Tech News, “Can Cloud Providers Calm Legal’s Apprehensions,” Victoria Hudgins, observes: “As cloud computing becomes more popular, some law firms and corporate legal departments aren’t jumping fully on the bandwagon.”
Which is good, bad, and surprising because cloud computing will be the way of the world in the very near future, it being a storm whose power and speed is unstoppable. Utterly unstoppable.
So, Hudgins asks the legal profession, “Can cloud providers provide enough support and privacy to win over legal?”
And that’s always the schism, isn’t it? The place where new tech and law meet, where progress and stare decisis collide, where technological innovation threatens to leave law in the digital dust and maybe make the legal profession as currently practiced a sea of luddites.
Yet notwithstanding this, there is a side of law that sees it and gets it and embraces the technology future. “Cloud computing is becoming more widely used than ever before by corporate legal departments and law firms, mainly because of the flexibility and lower cost such technology affords,” Hudgins’ reports.
Enter encryption. Yes, encryption, which is not currently common across the spectrum of the legal profession and jurisprudence…but will soon slam the profession into reality and become essential to preclude allegations of breach, violation of fiduciary duty, even incompetence.
“Some cloud providers are already trying to meet legal’s needs by offering security controls around client data, but it may not be enough.” And with this, we fervently agree. Why would a state-of-the-art law firm not require more?
Encryption software should be mandatory.
Firewalls and access controls, routinely employed, are like the lone wolf island resident nailing boards across his tattered window in the face of a Category 5 Cape Hatteras hurricane. Sure, you’re foolish if you don’t do it, but…
Encryption “[k]eys are the 21st century equivalent of the locked door to the law office file room,” Hudgins quotes from a source. “It requires the firm’s knowledge and involvement to get to client data, which meets their stringent privacy and client confidentiality obligations.”
You must have encryption to be minimally secure, though most attorneys across America don’t use or understand it in any way, shape or form, as reported by the Washington Post.
What’s fascinating is that the demand for encryption is coming from clients, Hudgins writes. “For some law firms, such as Kelley Drye & Warren, the use of encryption keys is requested directly by clients.”
Of course, clients would request it, because they live in that world. Clients cannot afford to wait. Clients are not allowed to wait.
“To mitigate concerns over data access, some cloud providers are giving clients sole control over encryption keys. But could owning encryption keys be the answer to legal’s privacy and security apprehensions?”
Fact is, there are options out there right now for unstructured data to be protected by encryption cradle-to-grave software, with differential sharing. If unstructured data enters the cloud protected, then there’s no worry. In other words, legal’s apprehension of cloud computing, while well-placed, already has solutions.