Like many businesses, our law practice is gradually becoming paperless. Services like Dropbox or iCloud which use “cloud computing” – saving files on remote servers rather than on local machines – can greatly improve both communication and collaboration while reducing the cost of supplies and waste.
Whether information is stored on a cloud or in a file cabinet, attorneys are required by professional conduct rules to make reasonable efforts to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of client information. Some states have already issued specific ethics opinions regarding cloud computing for lawyers.
While these legal ethics rules and opinions might not specifically apply to other professions, the general principle of keeping information confidential is relevant to both attorneys and business owners.
To maximize the potential of Dropbox or similar services while maintaining the privacy of your information, consider implementing these recommendations from a variety of legal blogs:
Protect your information before sharing it with the cloud. (via Flat Fee IP)
“Lawyers should take the additional step of encrypting, or pre-encrypting, client data before we give it to Dropbox or any other cloud-based storage solution.
Use a two-step authentication when logging in. (via Attorney at Work)
“Two-factor authentication increases login security because it requires you to use something more than just your login credentials (your account name and password).”
Share files with caution. (via Small Firm Innovation)
“In order to avoid sharing other client information with [your client], you should create a separate folder that contains only the documents you want to share with them.”
Unshare files with clients or co-counsel when the case is resolved. (via Lawyerist)
“Dropbox makes it very easy to share files with co-counsel. It’s also easy to forget to kick out your co-counsel when the case is over.”