Martin Felsky, Senior Counsel
April 18, 2020
About a month before China notified the World Health Organization about a new coronavirus, I published an article for the Ontario Bar Association encouraging lawyers to migrate their practices to the cloud entitled “If Judges Can Move to the Cloud, Why Can’t Lawyers?”
Lawyers are not exactly known for their quick uptake on technology – for many reasons, among them, valid concerns about security and confidentiality. I pointed out that some courts across Canada were moving to the cloud. They have been doing so in a methodical and careful way, following the Blueprint for the Security of Judicial information and the Guidelines for Migration of Judicial Information to a Cloud Service Provider.
Courts and law firms are now under serious pressure to maintain (or create) a virtual presence. While the cloud is not a prerequisite to a virtual practice, it is the only way to quickly deploy and ramp up communications, collaboration, and case management tools.
How quickly can we make ethical security assessments to protect client and firm data?
In my view this is not the time to cut corners. But it is the time to accelerate our plans, and mitigate risk. There are several ways we can do this, including:
- Adopt platforms that have already been approved for use by large organizations after a rigorous security assessment.
- Choose technologies that are built for business, not those aimed primarily at consumers.
- If feasible, retain an expert to assist with configuration of security controls and maintenance of the applications.
- Follow all the basics of safe computing by following one of the many available guidelines from Bar Associations and other groups.
- Adopt encryption tools and use them when handling particularly sensitive information.
Legal technology is no longer a convenient add-on to our paperwork: it is the way we must do business. For that reason, information security will be more important than ever.