The Cloud for Canadian Lawyers
The cloud is a network of technologies that enables anytime, anywhere access to a range of computing resources, including storage, applications, processing power, and more. Essentially, your data is stored in data centers that are safe and secure. Instead of purchasing, implementing, and maintaining equipment on-premises, you’re accessing it all via the Internet in the cloud. Sounds great, doesn’t it? The cloud tends to be especially appealing to law firms as they tend to have multiple attorneys handling complex matters within a case. In this case, each attorney is able to access and share documents/resources with one another, whether they’re traveling to court or across the country.
How Does the Cloud Benefit Law Firms?
Canadian law firms tend to be hesitant of the cloud due to concerns about security, confidentiality, and jurisdictional issues. But the cloud can actually be incredibly beneficial (and secure) for attorneys looking for anytime, anywhere access to legal applications and documents. The cloud minimizes the stress and hassle of technology, and moreover, of hitting deadlines without delays. The benefits are clear:
- More ease of use: Attorneys can access their information and applications from any device or location via a web browser, which means they never have to wait on important signatures, case files, and other information.
- Fewer technology expenses: You don’t have to purchase and maintain a whole suite of expensive hardware and software. Instead, you can access that equipment via the cloud and pay-as-you-go for all of the maintenance and support needed.
- Easy scalability: Whenever your law firm needs access to additional storage, licenses or other resources, you simply call your cloud provider and discuss the change. Within minutes, they’ll be able to scale you up or down as needed.
- Backups and business continuity: Attorneys typically need to retain legal documents for a specified amount of time, depending on the province they’re operating in. The cloud makes this easy as backups and business continuity are handled for you.
What Are the Legalities of Canadian Lawyers Working in the Cloud?
Canada follows the legal framework known as PIPEDA (The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act), as well as the Digital Privacy Act, which amended PIPEDA in 2015 to include mandatory data breach notification requirements. Although each province may have specific privacy laws, PIPEDA and the Digital Privacy Act apply whenever data crosses provincial boundaries. Canadian lawyers should be aware of these two legal frameworks and act accordingly. What does this mean?
It’s actually quite simple…
Make sure the cloud provider you’re working with implements safeguards that are appropriate to the level of sensitivity of the data stored within the cloud. That’s it. This should include the following forms of safeguards to prevent loss and/or unauthorized access:
The good news? Most cloud providers already meet PIPEDA and the Digital Privacy Act requirements. In many cases, there are cloud providers that design products with lawyers in mind – meeting the professional, privacy, and ethical requirements of the modern law firm. Even those cloud providers that don’t have legal-specific solutions tend to be secure as they have enterprise-grade security measures built-in to keep their data centers safe, such as:
- Event logging to provide insight into actions taken on the network.
- Advanced firewalls and anti-virus software to prevent unauthorized access.
- Intrusion detection software to keep intruders out of the network.
- Encryption to keep all data stored and in transit unreadable to others.
- Physical security with monitoring, armed guards, and biometric access controls.
If You’re Worried About the Ethics of Using the Cloud, Fear Not… The Cloud is Perfectly Safe for Canadian Law Firms. Ready to Migrate to the Cloud? Call (604) 986-8170 Now.
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