Cloud Risk Management for Law Firms

Cloud Risk Management for Law Firms

In 2016, the law firm Johnson & Bell found out the hard way what lackluster cloud management can lead to when they were sued by their own client for “potentially” exposing sensitive client data to theft.

Among a handful of infractions, the lawsuit found that Johnson & Bell had been negligent with their use of a cloud management tool attorneys used to access client files remotely.

This data negligence ended up costing the law firm in court. While the client who brought the suit did not have their information stolen, they could have due to these lacking cloud management practices.

This suit has since opened up a whole new area of concern for law firms. Many have adopted cloud-based storage solutions to cut costs and streamline work processes, and if your firm is one of them you should be asking yourself this question — are you doing everything you can to ensure your client data is properly accessed and protected?   

While helpful, cloud storage is not without its risks. Let’s take a look at how you can protect your clients and your firm from cloud-based security risks.

Benefits of the Cloud

Cloud storage allows a firm to store a vast library of documents for easy sharing and collaboration. This added mobility lets users access information from several devices anywhere in the world and backs up data frequently, ensuring sensitive information is never lost due to mechanical or software failures.

Unfortunately, the technology has been manipulated for criminal gain frequently in the past two years. From client trade secrets to attorney-client privileged information and personally identifiable information, law firms are a prime target for cyber-criminals.

Protecting your firm, as well as your clients’ data, should be a top priority for firms of all sizes.

Privacy on the Cloud

With the integration of cloud-based storage among law firms, the amount of cyber-attacks targeting them is actually increasing.

According to the 2017 Law Firm Cyber Security Scorecards by LogicForce, about 66% of firms had a breach in 2016 and 40% did not even know one occurred.

Many law firms cannot afford to hire an in-house IT security expert, so the job is often outsourced to a third-party vendor. At the point that a third-party can access your clients’ data, you need to update your confidentiality and ethics practices to alert your clients that your cloud vendor is responsible for information backups.

Because of this access, it’s important to work with a cloud backup company whom you trust.  Hire a cloud service provider who will encrypt your data end-to-end, rendering all files unreadable to anyone without an encryption key.

Remember, just because they have access to your client data doesn’t mean they should be able to read any of it.

Selecting the Right Cloud Provider

When selecting a cloud service provider to manage your sensitive firm and client data, make sure you find someone who offers rapid cloud recovery, as well as version history and a continuously synced file backup to mitigate humor error and reduce risk from cyber-attacks. Retrievability and availability of your data are paramount.

A thoroughly backed up server is your key to security. Whether you’ve been hit with a virus or a file room has been flooded, the redundancies available within cloud backups can save a lot of stress for your firm. With cloud backup, your data will always be safe, retrievable and ready to restore when you need it.

To learn more about business continuity for effective cloud migrations, download our eBook for law firms here. Written by Jim Anderson