Cloud Computing, eDiscovery, and Data Risk

Cloud computing programs are essentially a set of computer resources that are joined and powered by software and delivered over the Internet. They reside in data centers away from companies and firms – thus, “in the cloud.” Cloud computing has become quite popular in recent years, and with good reason: They are convenient and easy to use, and practically eliminate the need for storage and memory devices.

cloud resized 600Of course, there is a downside to these systems, and if you don’t manage your cloud effectively, your valuable data can end up in the wrong hands. While many experts say the risks are minimal they are still there, and you should make sure you know what they are and how to protect yourself. Some risks of doing your e-discovery in the cloud include:

  • The loss or alteration of data in the cloud

  • Violation of privacy laws by illegally disclosing the jurisdiction in which the cloud is located

  • Unintentionally waiving the attorney-client privilege by mixing data or disclosing information to unauthorized third parties

  • Failure to implement and monitor litigation holds in a correct and timely manner

These risks are not difficult to manage if you are aware of them however, and one way is by insisting on certain items from the cloud provider. Your agreement should make certain that:

  • None of your date can be stored outside of the United States

  • You know how the cloud will hand litigation holds

  • You know how your metadata will be created and stored in your cloud

By monitoring these things, you can minimize your risks drastically, and you should definitely keep on top of the cloud company you are using.

Cloud computing is not something that is going away, and will probably become more and more prevalent in the future. Of course, as with most of these types of technologies, the security will become much more advanced as well, meaning that you won’t have to worry about it nearly as much.

Until then, it is your responsibility to ensure that your data is safe, and that the methods in which the company you are using is reliable. There are many options these days for cloud computing, and there will likely only be more in the future. By doing what you can to learn exactly what the risks are now, and making sure you have taken the necessary precautions to protect yourself, you are ensuring that your private and personal data is safe and secure now and in the future.

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