The benefits of cloud computing are numerous: lower costs, increased mobility options, on-demand file access, scalability, greater computing power, etc. More and more law firms are looking to the cloud to meet their computing needs. But many are hesitant to make the leap into the cloud. Why? Security concerns. With recent security breaches making headline news, this comes as no surprise. But is this concern founded? Yes and no. In this post, I’ll address the reality of the security concerns that many firms share.

Lawyers have an inherent responsibility to keep privileged information privileged. The ABA model Rule 1.6 (a) states, “A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent.[1]” With cloud computing, confidential client data is stored in data centers thousands of miles away. Many firms feel that their data is safer when stored locally. But is it?

If your firm has a very secure IT infrastructure that has been vetted and analyzed by a respected security consultant, then maybe it’s safer in your own environment. This means that your firm and its employees have established and follow proper procedures around security such as dual authentications, encryption, mobile security software, and various other means. Most firms, however, don’t have all of these safeguards in place. For example, a lost phone or laptop could pose a great risk if the firm doesn’t have systems in place to wipe the device clean on demand. A hacker could easily extract all the information contained on the device.

What this all points to is that the current IT infrastructure at most firms is likely less secure than in a cloud-based data center. Reputable companies that specialize in cloud-based computing have their business model dependent upon data security – so they have a vested interest in upholding the latest and strongest security protocols.

Many software vendors have shifted entirely to cloud-based products, or at a minimum, offer cloud-based deployment options. With the availability of more cloud-based software options and the potential benefits of cloud computing, it is inevitable that law firms will eventually adopt this technology. Major corporations outside of the legal community with security concerns have done so already.

Is cloud computing completely safe? The answer is no – but not necessarily because of deficiencies of cloud computing. Cloud or no cloud, there is risk inherent in any type of technology.

If you’re thinking about adopting cloud technology and would like to discuss how to minimize security threats and risks, call on the Wilson Allen advisory services team. We can help you identify ways to streamline your transition to the cloud while safeguarding your digital assets.


[1] American Bar Association. “Advertisement.” Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information. American Bar Association, 2016. Web. 18 May 2016.