Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Confused about Cloud Computing?

What is Cloud Computing? It's the internet--no wires or thumbdrives needed--that you can access anytime, anywhere, using a laptop, ipad, or phone, etc. The capability to easily access information stored in a cloud, is the latest techno-topic of interest to attorneys. Cloud storage provides the ease of consolidating, maintaining and accessing information, but the security of confidential client information is an ethical concern.  Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.6(a), governs the secure storage and transmittal of client information. MBA Ethics Opinion 12-03 addresses whether or not an attorney is violating the rule by using third party cloud storage services, risking client confidentiality. The Opinion clearly states that an attorney will not be violating professional ethics, provided that "reasonable efforts" have been made to thoroughly evaluate the service provider and the client has given prior approval for cloud storage and transmittal.  
"Clearing Up the Cloud," is an interesting read, highlighting the changes to the rule, published in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of GPSolo, having provided the inspiration for this post. A number of books on cloud computing are available through the Trial Court Law Libraries.