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The Florida Bar Ethics Opinion on Cloud Computing

Florida is one of the states which has formally approved cloud computing. According to the Florida Bar Opinion, attorneys can utilize cloud computing "if they take sensible safety measures to make sure that confidentiality of the customer data is perfectly maintained" and keep the track of changes in the technology and law. The attorney also needs to explore the best service provider available and needs to ensure that this company provides the required security, sufficient access to the data stored remotely, and performs backups up of the data to an offsite location.

 

The opinion also states that it is imperative to understand cloud computing, which can be simply defined as Internet-based computing wherein remote servers provide online access to various computer resources or services, centralized data storage, and the synchronized sharing of all the information-processing tasks. It can also be defined as the use of computers in which the services are stored over the internet and is provided only to the authorized users on regular basis. As it involves the use and storage of the information at a particular remote location, it can also be utilized by other people who are not from the law firm. This use of cloud computing has raised concerns of proper supervision, competence, and confidentiality for lawyers.

 

In cloud computing, the files of the lawyer are stored at the remote server of the service provider. The lawyer can access the files from any smart device or computer, at any time, and can easily share the files with others. This software is updated, purchased and maintained by the service provider. Hence, a large number of lawyers and others are using cloud computing because of potential cost saving and convenience.

 

Furthermore, the Bar also suggests that the attorney needs to consider whether they have to utilize the service of an outside third party or utilize the additional security only in particular matters in which the attorney has sensitive information or proprietary customer information. At the same time, firms who utilize cloud computing as a result have an ethical responsibility to comprehend the technology and how it will potentially impact the confidentiality of data relating to the customer. Lawyers need to take suitable steps to act in accordance with their ethical responsibilities. They lawyers also have to ensure that satisfactory security measures are taken, such as encryption and password protection to protect their data from intruders.

 

In summary, lawyers can now use the cloud computing if they ensure to take all the necessary precautions to make sure that confidentiality of customer data will be perfectly maintained.   Office network Online can serve as the security expert so attorneys can focus on their business and not cloud technology. Our Cloud Platform meets and exceeds all of their security and compliance needs.

Quick disclaimer: I am not an attorney.  You can check out the Bar's opinion here and here.

Tags: cloud, security, florida bar, ethics

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