Storing Confidential Legal Information Safely In The Cloud

From manufacturing and retail companies, to law and healthcare practices, the Cloud has now been accepted and is used daily. In spite of this, attorneys often ask the question:

“Is the Cloud safe for our sensitive legal documents?”

The simple answer is this: The Cloud is as safe as you make it. Are you using easy-to-guess passwords? Or is your staff using the same passwords across various accounts?

Regardless of the technology that comes along over the next few years, the way to safely store important documents won’t change.

It requires some effort by you and your employees, and it requires a bit of common sense. The human factor is still the most significant risk factor in most equations.

If you and your employees follow a few simple steps, you can ensure that your confidential information remains safe whether it’s on your own servers or in the Cloud:

  1. Create unique, hard-to-guess passwords. A password manager is an excellent tool for this. Consumer Reports says security experts recommend them because they can create a long, complex password and store it safely. You only have to remember one password.
  2. Restrict who has access to what information. There’s no reason for a receptionist to have access to client files. There are many other employees in your law firm that simply don’t need access to certain documents, so don’t give it to them; the fewer people who can access your critical data, the lower your risks.
  3. Do you have a reliable IT services company that understands the compliance issues law firms deal with? You should. Hire an experienced IT support company that can help you meet compliance requirements.

Should We Use Encryption?

Encryption is a great way to protect data, and it should be used on emails as well. It uses an algorithm to encode information. Only authorized users hold the key to decrypt the files. Even if cyber thieves intercept your data, they won’t be able to read it.

Cloud storage encryption ensures that documents are safely stored. This can help those industries that are heavily regulated like law firms and healthcare practices. By applying encryption and practicing secure encryption key management, your IT service company can ensure that only authorized users will have access to your sensitive data.

Encryption keys can be kept by the service provider or, with blind cloud storage, the provider won’t have visibility into the data being stored.

Some security experts believe that authenticated encryption is the best method for cloud storage because it not only encrypts the files but additional metadata. Encryption authentication prevents attackers from getting your encryption key by using digital signatures.

An authority must confirm that the signature and key are authentic, providing an additional layer of security for all documents and data.

Best Practices For Key Encryption

Secure encryption key management is essential, and if you follow a few best practices for key encryption, you can rest assured that your data will be safe.

  • Encryption key backups should be kept offsite and audited regularly.
  • Store encryption keys separately from the encrypted data for added security.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication for both the master and recovery keys.
  • Periodically refresh encryption keys, especially when they are set to expire automatically.

Although there are a few challenges when it comes to encrypting data for the Cloud, it’s still the safest way for law firms to protect sensitive client information from prying eyes. In fact, industry and government regulations require that certain industries take these extra precautions.

Facts About Cybercrime

These days, it’s more important than ever to educate yourself and your employees about cybercrime. This is a growing menace, and it’s occurring all over the world. One in five law firms was hit with a cyberattack in 2017, but there are many things you can do to protect your firm.

Train your employees regularly so they’ll know how to recognize phishing attacks. You and your staff should be aware of the latest cyberattacks going around. Knowledge is still power.

Your IT services company will have a full suite of network security programs that can help you build an impenetrable fortress of security around your business.

Since so much of what you do each day involves your IT infrastructure, it’s important to have a company that’s skilled, experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to cloud services for your legal practice.

In the meantime, it’s important for you and your employees to stay up-to-date on technology. We’ve provided some articles on our Blog that you should find interesting.

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