While it’s true that many paper documents are irreplaceable because they contain client signatures, smart lawyers use digital devices to communication with customers, while creating secure archives and backups of past cases.
Whether you’re a personal injury attorney or specialize in business law, you need to use a robust, reliable, and secure cloud storage service. We’ve found the top five just for you.
There are several benefits cloud storage services can provide for lawyers. Any lawyer that’s been practicing law for several years has probably amassed archives of past cases, client information, and other documentation that is irreplaceable.
Furthermore, lawyers need to know that their data is secure; both from the NSA, as well as clients they share files with. For example, if you upload a document and share it, there need to be security measures in place, to ensure that clients can’t view other files and documents unrelated to their case.
Security features such as user and group access permissions offer great value to lawyers, and they help ensure clients don’t accidentally see unintended information. Also, most services contain an auditing system that tracks and timestamps every file operation. However, these features don’t come standard with every cloud service.
Other services fill this gap by allowing users to separate data into different “workspaces,” and ideally, a lawyer could create a different workspace for every individual client. Lastly, these types of services also include mechanisms such as expiration dates, to limit access in a given time-frame.
With that understanding, let’s take a closer look at the cloud storage services lawyers should avoid.
$ 4.08 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit Sync.comSync.com Review|
$ 8.00 per month GBStorage All Plans
|Visit EgnyteEgnyte Review|
$ 5.00 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit OpenDriveOpenDrive Review|
$ 5.00 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit SpiderOak ONESpiderOak ONE Review|
$ 5.94 per month 200 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit MEGAMEGA Review|
Cloud Services Lawyers Should Avoid
Lawyers should exercise an extreme amount of caution when selecting a cloud service. The sad truth is that certain cloud services just aren’t suitable for legal professionals because they are rife with security issues, and lack respect for privacy.
Because the legal system is so regulated, controlled, and crucial to the futures of others, legal professionals can’t afford to have their data compromised. In fact, whistle-blower Edward Snowden said the following in an interview,
“We’re talking about encryption. We’re talking about dropping programs that are hostile to privacy.”
Take Dropbox for example; it doesn’t support encryption, and it’s been compromised in the past (multiple times). Instead, we’ve selected competitors like SpiderOak, which is essentially the same service, but it sports zero-knowledge encryption compliance.
Google Drive is also off the table, since it’s been coerced by the NSA in the past, and as a result, many of their users lost data that ended up in the bowels of the NSA’s PRISM database. While these two services are perfectly serviceable for casual users who only want to store their favorite videos and music content, attorneys can’t afford to let private client information leak to third-parties.
The bottom line is, lawyers need alternative services with higher levels of professionalism when it comes to trust and security.
Sync.com is a well-rounded cloud storage provider; that offers high standard compliance, zero-knowledge security, and Canadian data standards.
Law firms don’t have to worry about becoming the next victim of a data-breech scandal, since Sync.com is based in Canada and offers unyielding security protocols.
If you’re feeling a little wary, note that Sync.com offers a free account with 5GB of storage, with which to test the waters. And they encrypt files with AES-256 and 2048-bit RSA keys, to ensure that third-parties can’t intercept the data.
Other Reasons Why We Like Sync.com
Sync.com is compliant with many data and security regulations, including HIPAA, PIPEDA, PIPA, FIPPA, ATIPPA and PHIPA.
Furthermore, they have an automatic backup feature that allows law firms to archive volumes of client data, and they even have a handy file versioning feature, which ensures data isn’t accidentally deleted or overwritten.
- Free 5GB account
- File versioning
- Automatic backup feature
- No network drive backups
- Mobile apps lack file sharing
- Encryption slows file previews
Egnyte is our second pick for law firms because of their stringent security features. It’s a service designed for companies, making it ideal for law firms, of course. Users can customize the domain name of their cloud storage link, add custom logos to the interface, and customize the message headers with a name.
Not only are they available on all the major operating system platforms, but they also have great mobile access features to give clients access to critical files on-the-go. Last but not least, the user interface is clean, smart, and easy-to-use.
Other Reasons Why We Like Egnyte
Their file sharing and collaboration features are very robust as well, allowing the easy exchange of data without compromising security. Apart from encrypting data to protect it during transportation and storage.
They also have fantastic user group policies, that make it easy for administrators to control which users have access to data. And they are one of the most customizable services for businesses.
- Great security mechanisms
- Customizable access permissions
- Great mobile access
- Smallest package requires 5 users
- 5GB limit for syncing
- Purely a business service
OpenDrive ranks third on our list of the best cloud storage for lawyers, and they have an impressive service that accommodates both individuals and businesses.
If your law firm has trouble meeting the user quota of other services, OpenDrive may very well be your best alternative.
The cloud storage service offers collaborative features via their online office suite. But, they also provide file syncing, the ability to share multiple files at the same time, and user activity tracking and auditing.
Other Reasons Why We Like OpenDrive
Not only does OpenDrive sport custom apps for all major platforms, but it also has some truly unique online features. Last but not least, they can do branding customization, by allowing administrators to change the company logo and colors, custom-brand email notifications, and the ability to customize a drive name.
Administrators can create and manage user accounts, set individual and group permissions and policies, and lock down file access with security controls.\
- Highly brand-customizable
- Takes security very seriously
- Online office software suite
- Mobile apps lack full backup features
- Lacks data center de-duplication
- Crappy customer support
SpiderOak is really more of a backup service, rather than a cloud storage service. However, they do provide users with plenty of storage space.
Because SpiderOak encrypts data on a local machine with a password controlled by the user, SpiderOak employees (as well as the NSA and other unwelcome third-parties) have absolutely no way to decrypt and read it.
The service also allows users to backup an unlimited number of computers, which is ideal for law firms with multiple attorneys, secretaries, and other types of employees. They also allow clients to select custom folders to backup, to ensure that only pertinent data is backed up.
Other Reasons Why We Like SpiderOak
SpiderOak’s greatest advantage, for lawyers, is the fact that it offers zero-knowledge security. The backup service keeps file versions to prevent critical data from being overwritten.
The basic plan only offers 30GB of storage (you’re paying for the software with this scheme) for $7.00 per month. The highest level of storage offered is a huge 5TB of storage for $25.00 per month.
- Loaded with customizable features
- Unlimited device synchronization
- Platform independent web-access
- Convoluted user interface
- Not HIPAA compliant
- Competitors offer better deals
MEGA is the best solution if free storage and excellent security are all you want. It also sports decent usability and speed, but there are minor bugs with file sharing.
Though the zero-knowledge protocol doesn’t get employed by Mega, they use AES encryption protocols to secure files before transferring them from the user’s computer. The files then remain encrypted during transit and once they get saved on Mega’s servers.
Other Reasons Why We Like MEGA
Mega is entirely a web-based app, which makes it ideal for busy users on-the-go. Plus the company offers competitive pricing tiers and boasts a user base of 15 million people.
Mega was known mainly for their 50GB of free storage space, however, what should pique the interest of lawyers is the robust security on offer.
- Strong encryption/private keys
- Totally web-based app
- Servers in New Zealand
- Collaboration is flaky
- File sharing feels restricted
- Lacks a desktop app
Lawyers should use the most secure and robust cloud storage services, so that their clients’ data doesn’t become compromised. Lost or stolen data could mean that difference between winning and losing a case, and it would hurt the reputation of the firm; not to mention the fact that lives may be at stake.
Instead of settling for cloud storage solutions that are sub-par and potentially dangerous, regarding security and privacy, individuals and companies can opt for one of the five best cloud storage options mentioned above.
Are you a lawyer with an opinion to share on the subject? Even if you’re not, feel free to let us know what you’re thinking, in the comments section below.