Cloud Governance: Law Firm Information Governance Symposium Part 3

Bill Tolson

Are law firms ready to adopt cloud technology for more efficient storage, records management and increased security? The Law Firm Information Governance Symposium (LFIGS) published a 2017 report that discusses potential issues and best practices for law firms to think about when considering information cloud governance.

As noted by TechTarget, “the cloud” is a general industry term that describes the delivery of hosted computer services over the internet. These services include (but are not limited to) storage, security, access controls, records management and information governance. Usually, companies look to the cloud to avoid or minimize up-front and ongoing IT infrastructure costs as well as to speed up the migration to application updates. Cloud platforms enable organizations to focus on their core business instead of expending resources on computer infrastructure and maintenance.

Law firms have been slow to adopt cloud resources for several reasons, including questions around security, client restrictions and uncertainty of a real return on investment (ROI). However, many law firms have recently begun looking at cloud technology as a way to store huge amounts of business records, case-related content and client eDiscovery data sets. Much of the client-related content is kept for extended periods of time, for several reasons, including client retention and satisfaction. Law firms are also looking at cloud platforms for more comprehensive information governance.

One of the most obvious challenges for law firms considering a cloud platform is the governance of information. Such organizations already know that their in-house information governance processes and current technology contain many challenges.

Law firms still bear the final responsibility of providing good information governance when their data is in the cloud. However, their fear is that because the data is kept at arms-length, they may not have as much visibility or control as they would like.

For law firms to move their data to the cloud, the information must be both readily accessible and as secure as possible against breaches or other unauthorized activities. Finding the right cloud service provider that can meet (and exceed) the firm’s critical business needs can offset firm doubts about service continuity and data privacy. In fact, if the correct cloud provider is chosen, the best services package is selected and the cloud service contract terms are beneficial to the firm, fears about data security, service levels and governance can be alleviated.

In reality, law firms’ IG professionals must have a detailed understanding of cloud services and the potential implications, as well as knowledge of considerations related to records and information management and governance. Once an IG professional feels confident about the cloud’s specific benefits and has established a realistic ROI, stakeholders can be convinced to proceed.

The latest LFIGS cloud governance report examines the impact and application of information governance when utilizing cloud services. Handy pre-planning checklists are also included, which can help you take advantage of cloud governance.

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