Every Cloud has a Silver Lining
Cloud technology is not a new to the legal industry. Moving a company’s data to the cloud has become increasingly appealing over recent years because it allows organizations to reduce retention of hard copies of documents, which frees up office space and reduces document storage costs. Keeping data in the cloud also reduces duplicate information and provides employees with 24/7 remote access. While most organizations have already started migrating data to the cloud, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted these needs and propelled these efforts. Simply put, having company data in the cloud makes remote working easier because it reduces the need to physically touch a document in order to complete a project and avoids needing to send someone into an office to fix infrastructure. Since the pandemic barred many people from returning to the office, cloud offerings like Microsoft 365 help to keep operations running smoothly while navigating working remotely.
Cloud Technology Benefits
Below are a few key benefits that cloud management tools offer to organizations. Keep in mind that the cloud has many more potential perks, depending on business demands, and that these benefits remain useful even if people working remotely return to an office full time.
- Having data in the cloud will help mitigate loss if any future unforeseen events arise that could physically destroy hard copy data, like a hurricane or flood. The same is true when dealing with instances of theft or lost devices. Having a cloud backup will ensure that important data is not lost in the event of a disaster or unexpected event. Storing data in the cloud helps keeps the continuity of business up, even when people are unable to physically enter an office, like during the current pandemic.
- Cloud technology vendors are responsible for implementing all important security updates to keep data safe. By shifting this responsibility to vendors, important, time-consuming, and costly tasks are taken off the agenda and put in the hands of the cloud software experts. While communication and oversight with vendors is still necessary, organizations using cloud software will not need to worry about the intricate tasks involved with keeping the cloud secure. The most important task will be doing appropriate research to determine which vendors offer the best security options.
- The ability to remotely access data from the cloud offers flexible working hours and provides access to data from any device connected to the Internet. It also promotes better collaboration among employees since several people can access a single document from different locations, which allows for increased visibility on edits and project progress. Being able to retrieve data from home, at court, on a business trip, or essentially anywhere else means business operations flow better than ever before.
Cloud Technology in the Legal Field
As noted, legal professionals have already realized the multitude of benefits that the cloud provides. The need for a wholly remote workforce because of the COVID-19 pandemic only expedited this trend for many in the process of migrating to the cloud or who were unsure about using cloud technology. Organizations who already in the cloud or are in the process of migrating need to make sure they update their information governance programs to account for cloud considerations. Some updates could include revising policies relation to data storage, retention, security, and compliance. There should also be someone overseeing data migration and checking for redundant or stale data. All of this makes for better reporting efforts, especially when it comes to privacy law obligations. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposes responsibilities for responding to data subject access requests (DSARs) that consumers make. A DSAR is a request for personal data that can include many things, such as information about usage purpose, retention, disclosure, and data sources. Having a comprehensive information governance program that addresses the cloud will make responding to DSARs much simpler and avoid GDPR compliance roadblocks.
When Migrating to the Cloud
Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind is that cloud migration is an opportunity for organizations to go through what data they have and only put forth what they need, thus bringing important information to the forefront and cutting costs in the process. Several tools can help with this feat, like auto-classification software and near duplicate analysis. Organizations who have utilized these tools and started embracing the cloud further during the pandemic should monitor the progress and benefits resulting from this change over the next years and see how it continues when business operations revert.
For more information on how Epiq can help, please visit our eDiscovery with Microsoft 365 solution.