Legal Industry IT Solutions: Is the Cloud Safer than On-Site Storage?

In the early days, many were skeptical about law firms storing important, confidential information off-site. However, reports that numerous state bar association ethics opinions have now ruled in favor of cloud usage. As a result, more and more legal technology consultants are embracing the cloud and encouraging clients to use it. Is a switch to the cloud right for your practice?

Security, a Primary Focus for the Cloud

The fact is that security is a primary focus for cloud storage providers. Law firms, especially smaller ones, simply do not have the resources to protect their systems from cyber attack. Think of the recent high-profile hacks, including JP Morgan Chase, Home Depot, the Snowden leaks, Target and the North Korean SONY attacks. None of these breaches occurred on cloud systems. All were using on-site security technology.

If you are unsure if cloud is really the best option, consider some of the security features of cloud storage and assess whether your office can reasonably provide an equivalent.

  • Does your office have 24/7 security camera monitoring?
  • Does a staff member assess vulnerabilities in your system daily?
  • Do you have an IT person that keeps up with security patches and other updates before they make news headlines?
  • In the event of a disaster, would you have access to data if your office was destroyed or under water?
  • If you lose power, how long does it take to restore it? Cloud storage sites typically have multiple utility suppliers and two weeks worth of generator capacity.
  • Do you perform daily backups, including geo-redundant backups?

Of course, we live in a world where nothing is impenetrable. However, cloud systems offer reliable and consistent data storage and security. Cloud computing by the right provider has definite security benefits. While it can be argued that on site storage can be done correctly with the right resources, ask yourself, “Was JP Morgan Chase, Home Depot, Target  or the U.S. Government lacking in security resources?” It’s likely these huge corporations and government agencies had more resources, staff and security built into their network than most law firms.

Security Concerns Not Going to Decrease

It’s critical for law firms to consider IT needs in their strategic plans. Security risks are going to continue to increase. The Global State of Information Security® Survey 2014 reported an eight percent increase in security breaches in 2013 over 2012, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reports that 31 percent of cyber attacks are on businesses with less than 250 employees. Here’s another shocking statistic, a laptop is lost every minute in the U.S. If one of your staff loses a laptop, what security measures are in place to protect confidential data? Interestingly, the head of New York’s FBI cyber division, Mary Galligan, specifically warned law firms, stating that hackers “see attorneys as a back door to the valuable data of their corporate clients.” Dell’s Global Security Survey estimates that security breaches cost U.S. organizations $25.8 billion annually, and that cost is up 18 percent. For law firms the costs could include more than just a tangible dollar amount. The loss of clients means a loss of future revenue as well.

The point is not to scare you into investing thousands in new security measures. 101 Digital specializes in legal industry IT solutions, including cloud solutions. We understand what is involved in security, including firewall monitoring, intrusion detection, encryption keys, disaster recovery and much more. We also understand law firms need to focus on their business. Let our experts assess your current security measures and implement a strategy that ensures your vital data is protected. Contact us to see how cloud technology can better protect your firm.