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Can Canadian Lawyers Use The Cloud Ethically?

Despite how many law firms you know of that have moved to the cloud, maybe you’re still unsure about it. And that’s OK – it’s better to be skeptical of a new technology instead of taking unnecessary security and ethical risks.

How Canadian Lawyers Use The Cloud Ethically

The cloud is more popular than ever, in virtually every industry – including the Canadian legal field.

However, some of the more skeptical legal minds out there are still holding out. The question is: is the cloud really secure, especially when it comes to the storage of and access to client data?

Let’s find out…

Is The Cloud Actually Secure Enough For Lawyers?

Short answer? Maybe – the cloud is as secure as you make it. The fact is that not all cloud configurations are made equal. It’s up to you to make sure you’re secure.

In “Legal Ethics in a Digital World”, The Canadian Bar Association details the three key aspects of data security in the cloud:

  • Integrity: Is the data the same as the source material, free of any accidental or malicious alteration, deletion or corruption?
  • Availability: Is the data accessible and usable upon demand by authorized parties?
  • Confidentiality: Access to data is to be restricted to authorized parties, by access control, physical security measures, passwords, encryption, etc.

The bottom line is that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada states that Canadian lawyers are required to “hold in strict confidence all information concerning the business and affairs of a client acquired in the course of the professional relationship and must not divulge any such information.” In order to do so, you have to take steps to keep your clients’ data secure.

What Is The State Of Your Cloud-Stored Data?

Your ability to protect your firm’s cloud-based data comes down to how you answer these three key questions:

  1. Do You Have A Data Inventory?
    You have to start from a place of understanding. Begin by taking stock of your data – what it is, where it is stored, etc. With that information, you can then move forward in protecting it.
  2. Do You Have A Data Backup Policy In Place?
    If not, then you’re vulnerable.

    If you have a data backup solution, then it doesn’t matter if your data has been encrypted by ransomware. You can just replace it with your backup, simple as that.

    That’s why you should make a considerable investment in a comprehensive backup data recovery solution so that you can restore your data at a moment’s notice when necessary.

    Be sure to:

    • Back up data on a regular basis (at least daily).
    • Inspect your backups to verify that they maintain their integrity.
    • Secure your backups and keep them independent from the networks and computers they are backing up.
  3. Is Your Staff Capable Of Protecting Your Data?
    A comprehensive cybersecurity training program will teach your staff how to handle a range of potential situations:

    • How to identify and address suspicious emails, phishing attempts, social engineering tactics, and more.
    • How to use business technology without exposing data and other assets to external threats by accident.
    • How to respond when you suspect that an attack is occurring or has occurred.

What Can You Do To Secure Your Law Firm’s Cloud?

The cloud has so much to offer legal firms, but only with the right security measures. When you finally decide to make your move to the cloud, consider these five keys to security:

  1. Implement Encryption as a Service
    Encryption ensures that even if data is unlawfully accessed and stolen, it will be completely unreadable and unusable to the thief, which helps to protect you, your employees and your clients.
  2. Deploy Intrusion Detection
    Monitoring of your cloud configuration to detect, prevent and report potential breaches around-the-clock is the best way to keep unwanted visitors out.
  3. Invest in a Virtual Private Network
    Implementing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a great way to keep your data safe, especially when using unfamiliar Wi-Fi networks. Whether traveling or just checking email at the local coffee shop, investing in and using a VPN ensures that no unwanted third party can get into your cloud-based data at the same time you’re accessing it.
  4. Use A Password Manager
    A password manager generates, keeps track of and retrieves complex and long passwords for you to protect your vital online information. It also remembers your PINs, credit card numbers and three-digit CVV codes if you choose this option.

    Plus, it provides answers to security questions for you. All of this is done with strong encryption that makes it difficult for hackers to decipher.

  5. Invest In Security Training For Your Legal Team
    Train your employees regularly so they’ll know how to recognize phishing attacks. You and your staff should be aware of the latest cyber attacks. As technology continues to become more sophisticated and complex than ever before, your employees may be operating on outdated knowledge, which is why it’s important to stay up to date.

The cloud has a lot to offer Canadian law firms and the lawyers that work in the industry. It’s cost-effective, secure and delivers the mobility that a modern legal team can make the most of – all without exposing your clients to unnecessary risks if you implement the right best practices. OnServe can help you do so.

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