Cloud technology has offered a new opportunity for users — including law firm and corporations — to take their data sharing, storage and networking responsibilities into the virtual world. But this new opportunity also brings with it questions of security, compliance and responsibility that cloud users need to resolve for themselves.
In a new White Paper published by Thomson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute, entitled Shared Responsibility: How the Cloud Can Help Shape Law Firms’ Data Security Efforts, author Alexander W. Major, an attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, discusses how law firms need to shed their reluctance to employ Cloud data storage. Instead, firms need to realize that by working closely with new Cloud technology they can achieve a cost-efficient way to enhance their data security strategy and a more secure home for valuable client information.
Data breaches, like lawyers in Washington D.C., are everywhere. Nobody is above attack — hotels, retailers, film studios, tryst-sites, even the ASPCA all have been targets. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that, according to the 2015 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, 15% of law firms have reported experiencing a data breach. I would suggest that number is, likely, extremely under-reported. Lawyers love their data and information. It is there stock-in-trade, and it is not given up without a fight. So, if it’s taken from them, stolen, it’s probably not something they would openly admit.
Law firms and the client and deal-data they hold are high value targets. This point has been underscored — and effectively marketed — by what is being called the biggest online leak in history when a reported 11 million documents (roughly 2.6 terabytes of data) were allegedly extricated from a Panama-based law firm. Notably, these headline grabbing “Panama Papers,” are said to reflect money laundering to offshore private accounts by a number of world leaders and senior government officials. Moreover, the value of law firm data is so highly regarded that a Ukrainian cyber-fence/broker named Oleras actively recruited and directed hackers to access U.S. law firm networks. The result of this effort was the systematic targeting of nearly 50 elite law firms to collect confidential client information for, assumingly, financial gain; while having the ancillary effect of rattling client confidences.