The cloud has become ubiquitous in the past decade. Just about every business taps into the cloud’s storage power. Even students, teachers and everyday individuals rely on the cloud. Yet there is one particular group that has not assimilated with the rest of society: Legal professionals. Professionals with legal backgrounds tend to question just about everything, including the safety of new technologies. Let’s take a look at why the cloud hasn’t gained sway with lawyers and their support staff.
Distrustful by Nature
Lawyers tend to massage the truth for personal gain. It’s part of the job. They tend to expect the worst from humanity as they have defended some extremely unscrupulous individuals and suffered at the hands of cutthroat attorneys who will do just about anything to win a favorable judgment. You can’t blame these professionals for begrudging the cloud. They’ve become quite cynical and distrustful due to the nature of their work.
A Control Issue
When you store information on the cloud, you relinquish control of that data. Giving up control of sensitive information is not the type of thing that a seasoned attorney does without reticence. A number of high-profile security breaches have occurred at law firms throughout the past couple of years. These successful attacks have scared plenty of attorneys away from tapping into the power of the cloud. The bottom line is that attorneys are the first and last line of defense when it comes to safeguarding client data. If an attorney were to upload sensitive data to the cloud only to have a malicious hacker steal the files, he would likely lose clients who are negatively affected. It really boils down to a trust issue. Experienced attorneys are not willing to risk their client base, their reputation or their career on a technology that has the potential to be breached by a devoted hacker. Though it might sound nihilistic, most attorneys really do not trust cloud providers or any other third party to safeguard sensitive information.
The Devil is in the Details
If you take a close look at the “birdseed” of cloud contracts, you will find that cloud providers bear just about no liability in the event that user data is pilfered or accessed by an inappropriate party. This is precisely why attorneys are hesitant to store data anywhere but the in-house server or computer hard drive.
Previous Cloud Security Breaches
Most people are familiar with the recent cloud hacks that resulted in the leak of celebrities’ naked pictures. Yet celebrities are not the only ones to suffer from cloud security breaches. The data of several law firms has been exposed to malevolent hackers in recent years. Consider the Mossack Fonseca breach in which hackers found information proving the existence of tax shelters safeguarded by the Panamanian law firm. The New York law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore also suffered a high-profile breach as well. The FBI has gone to the extent of warning law firms that their data is an easy target for cyber thieves. Hackers view law firm data as fruit ripe for the picking. There’s an excellent chance that law firm files contain valuable trade secret information and unpublicized deal information that can be easily exploited. Add in the fact that cloud apps can also be infiltrated to thieve information and it is easy to understand why more and more law firms are opting to store all important data in-house rather than on the cloud.
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