More and more businesses, including law firms, are storing their data in the cloud. Knowing the risks can help minimize the figurative storms that can result from the off-site storage and management of data.
Actually, much data has always been “in the cloud.” It’s just that we now have a new concise way of referring to the off-site storage of data that is accessible via the Internet—and that’s really what cloud computing is at its core. But while data centers, technology companies, and other industry experts extol the virtues of cloud computing, it is not without serious risks. The servers data reside on can be destroyed by fire, flood, or other perils, and may otherwise be offline or not functioning for myriad reasons. Data also can be hacked or comprised by a virus. Given the importance of electronic information—for both law firms and their clients—law firms need to be aware of the risks and take necessary precautions to protect data. Some of these major risks and ways to address them are discussed below.Superstorm Sandy is a timely reminder of vulnerability. If recent reports by climatologists are correct, we can expect more and more such reminders, with damages and destruction to people, their property, and their businesses. The consequences of such large-scale climate events may be direct—as when a business’s property is destroyed and it sustains an interruption of its business operations as a result—or indirect—as when there is damage to property and operations on which a business relies, such as damage to its suppliers, customers, or other property the operability of which the business relies on to continue operations.