As law practices continue to adopt cloud computing technologies, this is presenting unique ethical issues for lawyers who intend to store client data on external servers. In order to address these issues the North Carolina State Bar Council has released their final opinions on the subject. The council’s findings, which have been in production for almost two years, sought to address two key questions:
1. May a law firm use SaaS (Software as a Service)?
2. Are there measures that a lawyer should consider when assessing a SaaS vendor?
In an article entitled “Legal Currents: NC Bar Council issues final opinion on the cloud”, Nicole Black discussed the findings from this report. In short, the report gives lawyers its stamp of approval regarding the use of cloud computing technologies within law practices. The report detailed a number of points for lawyers to consider, including:
Lawyers should take care to protect client information and minimise the risk of inadvertent disclosure of client information.
Any lawyer who utilises new technologies, such as cloud computing, within their practices should remain aware of any changes within technology.
The council did not set out specific requirements as this may create a “false sense of security” but instead set forth a number of suggested security measures. These include: How the cloud computing vendor will handle confidential data; Lawyers should fully understand the security issues etc.