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Attention Lawyers: Are Your Clients' Sensitive Documents Secure?

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Cloud computing makes it easier than ever before for lawyers to take their offices on the road—to clients’ offices, courtrooms, hotel rooms and their own homes. But cloud computing places data—including client data in many instances—on remote servers, outside of the lawyer’s direct control, leading to ethical concerns related to attorney-client privilege and potential malpractice. A lawyer’s newfound mobility clearly needs to be balanced with substantial security.

Cloud Computing: Ethics Issues

The increasing use of cloud computing has led at least 14 different state bar associations to issue ethics opinions on their use and the American Bar Association to amend the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC) to address lawyers' use of technology and confidentiality requirements.

All, at this point in time, permit attorneys to use cloud services so long as they exercise “reasonable care” to select a service provider that adequately safeguards client information.

So, what kind of safeguards should lawyers look for when choosing a secure storage solution?*

Choosing A Secure VDR Over An Online Collaboration Tool

Popular cloud storage solutions, like Dropbox (which the ABA lists among the more popular cloud services for lawyers, but declines to recommend in light of security concerns), were designed as online collaboration tools; as such they offer a lower level of security than secure VDRs, which were designed specifically with security in mind.

For example, many secure VDRs—including SecureDocs—use 256-bit data encryption, the same level of data encryption certified by the U.S. government for use on top-secret documents. Encryption may be the most important factor for lawyers in establishing “reasonable care.”

Other Important Secure VDR Features:
Secure VDRs also come with a number of other features to help establish “reasonable care.”

SAS 70 Certified Data Centers
Multi-factor Authentication
Audit Logs
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) And Transport Layer Security (TLS) Encryption
24/7 System Monitoring

To learn more about how SecureDocs helps lawyers establish “reasonable care,” check out the full list of the product’s security features here.

*Lawyers are advised to review their state’s specific ruling, as well as the ABA’s amendments to the MRPC that address technology and confidentiality requirements.