The ethics and security of cloud computing

Download the PDF on the ethics and security of cloud computing (you will be asked to register your details on the next page).

The shift from desktop- and server-based software to software as a service (SaaS) or “cloud computing” is one of the most significant transitions in computing to occur in the last 20 years. While the benefits offered by cloud computing are numerous, several outstanding questions remain regarding the relative security of cloud-based systems as compared to traditional, on-premises solutions. In a law firm 
context, the use of cloud computing raises ethics issues around storing confidential client data on a system the attorney may not own or otherwise control.The discourse on the ethics of cloud computing took a significant step forward in March 2010 with the issuance of a proposed Formal Ethics Opinion (FEO) on cloud computing by the North Carolina State Bar. 

This was the first FEO in North America to explicitly deal with the use of SaaS/cloud computing in a law firm. While the proposed FEO ultimately endorses the use of cloud computing technology in a law firm provided that “reasonable care is taken effectively to minimize the risks to the confidentiality and to the security of client information and client files,” the onus of evaluating a cloud provider’s security infrastructure is placed on the law firm. 

For firms of all sizes. Cloud-based services typically eliminate large up-front licensing and server costs, offer drastically reduced consulting and installation fees, and do away with the “upgrade treadmill” usually associated with traditional desktop- and server-based 
software. Cloud-based services also offer “anywhere accessibility,” a high level of easeof-use, and compatibility with both Windows and Mac OS X.

Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is computing delivered as a service over the Internet, with less need for software on your desktop computer. Increasingly, it will matter less and less which computer you use to do your work: your documents, e-mail messages, pictures, and all 
other types of information, will be stored and securely accessed online. The shift to cloud-based services typically offers increased security and dramatically reduced overhead and IT costs as compared to onpremises servers and software. 
While much of the concept of practicing in the cloud may seem novel, most Web-savvy computer users have been using cloud-based technologies for a number of years via longstanding services such as Hotmail, Gmail, or Yahoo Mail, among others. These technologies were among the first to pioneer the idea of centralized services delivered efficiently over the Web, and they have succeeded in laying the groundwork for a software revolution that is gradually leading most applications to evolve toward a Webbased mode of delivery. 

Benefits of cloud computing
The benefits of moving traditional desktop- and server-based applications to the cloud are numerous for firms of all sizes. Cloud-based services typically eliminate large up-front licensing and server costs, offer drastically reduced consulting and installation fees, and do away with the “upgrade treadmill” usually associated with traditional desktop- and server-based software. Cloud-based services also offer “anywhere accessibility,” a high level of easeof-use, and compatibility with both Windows and Mac OS X.



Post a Comment

Add your comment