Managing Risk in the Cloud

One of the primary concerns expressed by lawyers and other business owners when considering moving data and processes to the Cloud is risk. Understandably, business owners are wary of outsourcing confidential information and express concerns regarding the security of their data. Another concern involves the sense of lack of control over company data and the inability to monitor the software processes used to organize the information.

Fortunately, new products are appearing that are intended to address these common concerns. Two ideas of note and worth keeping an eye on: cyber-risk insurance and cloud monitoring services.

Cyber-risk insurance generally covers damages which stem from failures arising from your use of online or internet-based technologies. For example, this type of policy can cover data loss, service interruptions resulting from server downtime, and hardware or software failures. According to the article, Cyber Insurance, Cyber Risk, and How to Protect Your Company, nearly 29% of U.S. companies utilize cyber-risk insurance. Of course, cyber-risk insurance does little to protect the confidentiality of your client’s data, but it does provide your law practice with coverage should a data loss occur.

Another way to manage risk in the Cloud is to carefully monitor the services provided by cloud computing provider. This can be accomplished by using cloud management software. As explained in this Enstratus blog post, cloud monitoring services can:

  • Make the underlying cloud easier to use
  • Extend security policies into the cloud environment
  • Protect from single cloud vendor lock-in to allow cross cloud operations and migration
  • Manage to your service level requirements
  • Provide for financial controls and tracking
  • Audit and report for compliance

One example of a cloud monitoring service is Cloudkick. As explained in this recent ReadWriteWeb blog post,

“Cloudkick provides a unified API that allows a view into the performance of the provider. For example, a customer can see all their servers in the cloud, turn them on and off at will and receive notifications through email or voice mail.”

Of course, depending on the size of your law office and your specific needs, using these types of services may be impractical. However, it’s useful to familiarize yourself with these offerings so that you can stay on top of the different options that are available.  Doing so will allow you to better assess new products that may be more suitable to your needs.

And, it’s certainly reassuring to know that innovative companies are responding to the concerns expressed by small business owners.  Likewise, this trend is simply further proof that, over time, the thorny ethical and security issues that cloud computing presents will be ironed out and cloud services will become all the more palatable to all businesses, large and small alike.

Debbie Stephenson

Debbie Stephenson is a former Content Marketing Manager at Firmex.