Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Confidentiality Management in the Cloud (Ethics Opinions & Professional Rules)

Several states have acknowledged the reality of lawyer use of cloud-based software services. Another state bar joins the growing list of those who've published opinions on the matter (which includes: Alabama, Arizona, California, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania): "Mass. Joins Other States in Ruling that Cloud Computing is Ethical for Lawyers" --
  • "...the MBA’s opinion adds to the growing and unanimous list of lawyer-ethics panels that have concluded that lawyers may ethically use cloud applications and services, provided they take reasonable precautions to protect the confidentiality and security of the data."
On a related note, Nicole Black, of counsel to Fiandach and Fiandach and author of "Cloud Computing for Lawyers" wrote an excellent analysis of the past and potential future of online lawyer communication: "Will Encrypted Communications Using Cloud Computing Platforms Soon be Commonplace for Lawyers?" --
  • "Standard email is inherently unsecure and, surprisingly, many lawyers are unaware of this disconcerting fact... This is because emails are unencrypted and thus no more than mere postcards, their contents readily viewable by anyone who cares to look. This inherent security flaw in email as it now exists arguably places confidential client data at risk."
  • "As a profession, we first grappled with the issue of electronic communications in the mid-1990s... Recently, however, because of the rapidly changing technological landscape and the availability of newfound means to encrypt and protect electronic communications, the issue of an attorney’s obligations to protect confidential attorney/client communications is being revisited."

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