Law Firms and Cloud Storage: Has the Time Come?

Bill Tolson

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Law firms have been slow to adopt cloud storage technology, largely because of long past security issues. But in fact, security has become one of the reasons law firms should move to the cloud.

Law firms regularly take in, review, manage and store huge amounts of client data related to eDiscovery requests. In many cases, law firms will hold on to these data sets until the case and all appeals have been exhausted, which can take years. Many law firms hold client eDiscovery data well beyond the case conclusion as a service to clients and as a retention tool. That said, law firms are finding that holding client data locally is becoming more of a liability than asset.

One risk of retaining large amounts of sensitive client data is that law firms are now major targets of hackers. Because of the sensitivity of this client data, the FBI has warned that law firms have become a high-priority target of hackers over the last several years. With the increased risk of being hacked, law firms are now realizing that many cloud storage platforms have state-of-the-art security technology far beyond what they could afford on their own.

A standard feature now offered by many cloud repositories is the ability to encrypt data before transit. This ensures that data is fully encrypted before it reaches the cloud and so is unreadable while in the cloud. This also allows the managing attorney or case manager to control access to the actual client data.

Law firms already know to ship their non-active paper records to offsite file storage facilities rather than leave them to fill up floor space in the office. But the same should hold true for the floor space taken up by terabytes of client data and IT equipment, like spinning disk and backup tape resources. Unless they’re part of an active case, client eDiscovery data sets are usually considered low-touch and could be stored in a low-cost, secure cloud repository for long periods of time.

With the reduced costs of cloud storage and much higher levels of security, law firms should consider moving low-touch, inactive client eDiscovery data sets to a cloud repository for long-term storage, reducing their vulnerability to cyberattacks while opening up valuable floor space.

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