April 14th, 2010 by Rian Gauvreau
In light of the North Carolina State Bar’s ongoing examination of the implications of Cloud computing, North Carolina Lawyers Weekly has published a guest article by Asheville-based attorney Sara Hanley on the importance of careful due diligence and trust when selecting any service provider to the legal industry. Having delved into the relevant legal rules and precedents, Sara offers a pragmatic argument that suggests all personnel and products used to support a practice should support the lawyer’s duty to take reasonable care in protecting client confidentiality. To this end, Sara proposes that, the State Bar, and industry as a whole, arrive at some general consensus regarding best practices and standards of care in order to guide the due diligence process. Given the value and convenience that ‘the Cloud’ has afforded her firm, Place & Hanley, Sara hopes that the N. C. State Bar review process will help to educate and advise other firms on how to realize benefits from cloud-based software in a manner that is ethical and compliant. As Sara puts it:
Cloud computing offers a way of storing and accessing case and client information in a secure manner that is convenient and valuable for lawyers and their clients. Given the appropriate level of due diligence, cloud-computing providers that adhere to a reasonable standard of care should be afforded the same trust as the wealth of other service providers and third parties we all depend upon on a day-to-day basis.
We thank Sara and all those who took the opportunity to weigh-in on this important discussion.