Cloud Security Basics for Law Firms and Barrister’s Chambers

The legal system, traditionally seen as a sector that is slow to adapt to change, has embraced technology and the cloud, particularly in the last two years. You might be interested to find out, however, just how vulnerable a bad-cloud is to data breaches, hackers, and cybercriminal attacks.

In this article, we look at the five fundamental cloud security basics you should be following, then look at what a hybrid/private cloud service is and why more legal firms have been choosing this solution design.

1. Be certain of what information you are storing in the cloud

On the public cloud, your information is stored along with every other user’s on a rack of servers at a remote location. This may be appropriate for some data types, but not for others.  Cloud servers can come under regular attack so therefore it might be wise not to store personally sensitive information like clients’ debit or credit cards, medical records, financial details, passwords, and so on.

Take note of the geographical location of your data, once it is in the cloud service.  Are you happy with the location?  Are your clients happy?  Is the ICO happy?

2.   Take passwords seriously

According to password manager Keeper, 10% of all passwords used belong on their annual list of the 25 most common (and guessable) passwords. That means that, if your computer, network, or public cloud facility is protected by one of those 25 passwords, there’s a 10% chance that a hacker or bad actor could successfully bypass the security on your accounts within two dozen guesses.

Ideally, you and your colleagues should have different passwords for each system, program, app, or file you access. There is some debate over the benefit of regularly changing a password but you should never write them down or share them with anyone.

You may want to provide further security by programing your systems to ask an additional question to make sure that the person trying to access a system is in fact the unauthorised user.

3.   Test your cloud provider’s security

Certified ethical hackers are employed by companies and governments are on a freelance basis to test the security of their systems, whether those systems are on-site or in the cloud.

To find one, contact the EC Council UK.

4.   Make sure your cloud service uses encryption

Encryption is a way of turning information into a code which can only be turned back into the original information by another user with the correct encryption “key”. You upload a file to the cloud and, at the same time, create a password to access it – without the password, no one will be able to decipher its contents.

Encryption provides a second layer of security to your data just in case your public cloud space is hacked or if a member of staff tries to access it without the correct authorisation.

There are plenty of tools you can download from the internet which applies encryption and assigns passwords to your files. Alternatively, speak to a Sprout IT representative for more information on a company-wide solution for your firm.

5.   Back up your data locally

Whether your firm is already using the public cloud or not, it’s always been of critical importance for information-heavy organisations to regularly back up their data – ideally multiple back-ups. The interruption to your firm by not having its most current data available to it could be significant if the data has been corrupted or lost.

You can back them up using cloud storage from a different provider or replicate them back to an appliance in your own office. The best approach to take is to have many different back-ups all updated at the same time to provide extra comfort and to give you the ability to download original data to your system as quickly as possible in the event of disruption.  Particularly if your Cloud provider goes out of service or offline for an extended period of time.

What is a private cloud and is it a better choice for legal firms?

Law firms see the benefit of Hybrid Cloud models, picking the very best of the Public Cloud and architecting a network that allows seamless integration with Private Cloud services.

You have just as much control over a Private Cloud it as your internal IT system – the only difference is that it’s not based within your office. You control access to it, it’s protected by your firewall, and responsibility for the maintenance of your private cloud belongs to your IT firm.

Hybrid clouds can be designed and configured to exactly fit to your business’s needs and its processes.

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