Given its position as one of the prime information technology centers of the country, it is unsurprising that the State Bar of California has weighed in on the ethical use of cloud computing systems by attorneys.
California addressed the issue in the context of a larger opinion of electronic devices and communications; in Formal Opinion No. 2010-179, the Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct set forth a list of factors to consider before using any technology:
The attorney’s ability to assess the level of security afforded by the technology, specifically: (i) Consideration of hoe the particular technology differs from other media use; (ii) Whether reasonable precautions may be taken when using the technology to increase the level of security; (iii) Limitations of who is permitted to monitor the use of the technology, to what extent and on what grounds.
The legal ramifications to third parties of intercepting, accessing or exceeding authorized use of another person’s electronic information;
The degree of sensitivity of the information;
Possible impact on the client of an inadvertent disclosure of privileged or confidential information or work product
The urgency of the situation
Client instructions and circumstances
While it is clear that California attorneys using any electronic products and devices must be mindful of the risks of disclosure; they can rest assured that use of Online Legal Software mitigates some of these risks for them: bank-level security and domestic, American-based servers and backups, covered by American law, ensure data is secure and protected.