With online collaboration and remote work becoming the new normal most firms find themselves in, the use of a cloud storage platform has quickly become a necessity to maintain day-to-day operations. However, storing any kind of privileged information and proprietary data online is a daunting decision for any serious law firm. With that in mind, here are some important things to consider when choosing the right cloud platform for your firm.
Public and Private Cloud Services
The first step in choosing the best cloud storage platform for your firm usually starts with asking whether or not your firm should use public or private cloud services.
Public Cloud Services are platforms that are meant for use of the general public. This means that another company will be storing your firm’s data and that the actual, physical servers that contain the data aren’t located with your firm.
Private Cloud Services are simply in-house online storage platforms that are exclusively used, maintained, and managed by the firm itself.
Which kind of cloud service should your firm go for? In terms of cybersecurity, it’s easy to think that a private, exclusive cloud platform would mean safer data storage for your firm- but that’s not necessarily correct.
The truth is, no firm is going to be able to invest as many resources as a public cloud platform does in ensuring that their cloud is protected against online attacks. And while the bigger, public cloud platforms seem like juicier targets for hackers, these platforms are also incentivized to keep their technology competitive, up to date, and constantly upgraded.
How to do your Due Diligence
Doing your due diligence is a practice that comes automatic to any lawyer and law firm, but doing your due diligence when it comes to cloud storage providers might be somewhat unfamiliar territory. So, what are a few essential things that you need to be on the lookout for when doing your research?
The easiest place to start would be looking into the terms of services of potential cloud providers. Ask (and find answers to) the following questions; “Where and how is the data stored?”; “Who owns the data?”; “What happens to the data in case of fee disputes?”; “What happens to my data if the provider ceases operations?”; “How easy or difficult will it be to move off the platform?”; “Will data escrows be an option?”; “What local laws specific to where the provider is located are relevant to the storing of privileged information?”; “Will the provider notify you if the government requests for your information?”; “How does the provider deal with search warrants?”
Other things to consider would be the fact that the bigger cloud storage providers will be less likely to adjust their customer user agreement to suit your needs while a smaller one might find it easier to craft a customized user agreement to fit your firm. Finally, you should also ensure that the cloud service provider your dealing with isn’t outsourcing the service somewhere else.
Cyber Insurance- is it for you?
If you have the answers to all of your questions and obtained all the information you need in order to make an educated decision but still feel as if you need an extra degree of protection, then cyber insurance might be a worthwhile investment for your firm.
As the name suggests, cyber insurance acts like insurance protection would but is specific to digital and online issues. Most, if not all, cloud services already use cyber insurance- but this is to ensure the provider against data breaches, data loss, and other digital attacks. By getting cyber insurance for your firm, you can help fill any gaps that you feel like your contract with your chosen cloud platform may have.
There isn’t a comprehensive, one-size-fits-all solution for the topic of cloud storage, but these three factors are definitely a good jumping-off point in finding the right cloud platform for your needs.