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Cloud storage, encryption and their benefits

by Shrisha Sapkota

case management software, practice management software, legal accounting software, legaltech, technology for lawyers, case management, immigration, london, united kingdom

Cloud storage

The Cloud has been perceived as one of the most disruptive technologies over the last twenty years[1]. According to a prediction from CISCO, by 2020, one-third of all data will be stored in or transferred through the Cloud[2]. The Internet world as we know it today is transforming into an “everything-as-a-service” and Cloud services are the building blocks for this change[3]. This is in line with the predictions of the leading scientist in theoretical physics, Michio Kaku, who has stated: “Computers as we now know them will disappear; they will be everywhere and nowhere, ubiquitous yet hidden, just like electricity and running water. The Cloud will follow us silently and seamlessly, carrying out our wishes anytime, anywhere.”[4]

Cloud storage is a cloud computing model that stores data on the Internet through a cloud computing provider who manages and operates data storage as a service[5]. It’s delivered on-demand with just-in-time capacity, costs and eliminates buying and managing your own data storage infrastructure[6]. This gives you agility, global scale and durability, with “anytime, anywhere” data access[7].

These cloud storage vendors, such as Good Law Software manage capacity, security and durability to make data accessible to your applications all around the world[8]. These types of cloud storage providers are responsible for keeping the data available and accessible, and the physical environment secured, protected and running[9].

Advantages of cloud storage

Remote work

When using cloud storage services, your data is stored on cloud providers’ servers and can be accessed via the internet[10]. Since the cloud provider’s application can be installed on multiple devices, like your company computer or smartphone, you can access your data anytime, anywhere[11]. When you are working with cloud storage, every time you make changes to a file it will be synced and updated across all of your devices that you access the cloud from[12]. Thus, the function also ensures the synchronisation of your files, so team members will always have access to the latest version from the device of their choice[13]. Most all of the cloud services come with an easy-to-use user interface and provide a feature of drag and drop[14]. If you have a good internet connection, you can access your files, which is saved online somewhere in the data centres[15]. Sometimes, it comes with advanced features like file transfer on the cloud wherein you can send voluminous data that is stored in various files and folders quickly to a remote location and safeguard it from data thefts or cyber-attacks[16].

Security

The cloud storage saves your data across the redundant servers, so even if one of the data centres gets collapsed, your data will be managed by the other data centres, which make your data safe and supervised[17]. If all the data centres of the storage provider get collapse or are destroyed, then only your data could be lost, and this is an entirely impossible phenomenon because a cloud storage service is formed of thousands of data centres[18]. Some of the cloud storage vendors keep the copies of your data at the different data centres, so even if the data get lost or corrupted at the server, the backup must be there[19]. Branded cloud storage devices, which are sold by reputed companies, come with enhanced data security features[20].

Lower cost

With cloud storage, there is no hardware to purchase, storage to provision, or capital being used for “someday” scenarios[21]. You can add or remove capacity on-demand, quickly change performance and retention characteristics, and pay for storage that you use[22]. Less frequently accessed data can even be automatically moved to lower-cost tiers following auditable rules, driving economies of scale[23].

Purchasing physical storage can be expensive. Without the need for hardware, cloud storage is exceptionally cheaper per GB than using external drives[24]. In the event of a hard drive failure or other hardware malfunction, you can access your files on the cloud which acts as a backup solution for your local storage on physical drives[25]. Also, a huge plus in favour of cloud storage providers is to keep up with the latest technology, which removes the need for you to invest in expensive infrastructure[26].

By only using the cloud storage service, the business outsources the storage problem. By using online data storage, the enterprise reduces the expenses of internal resources[27]. With this technology, the company itself does not need any inner power and support to manage and store their data; the cloud storage vendor handles all[28]. There are some cloud storage services provided that give cloud storage for a lifetime at an affordable price, which is a win-win offer for small businesses and individual users[29].

Better recovery

Storing your data in the cloud comes with another great benefit: the prevention of data breaches caused by human error (unintentional data deletion, maintenance errors, device theft or loss) or natural causes (flood, fire, or earthquake)[30]. The existence of an emergency backup plan that ensures all important data is regularly copied to another geographical location might save your company’s future if a site becomes compromised or if crucial data gets deleted inadvertently[31]. Every business has a backup storage plan where they store all the copies of their data and if they encounter any collapse or loss of data problem, they can retrieve data from their backup plan, and that is why cloud storage is the best method to deal with this problem[32]. Cloud storage service provides the best platform for disaster recovery data[33].

Ease of access for multiple users

With cloud storage, multiple users can collaborate with the common file[34]. For instance, you can give access to your files to multiple users so they can access and edit your file[35]. The authorised person can access your file from any part of the world in real-time[36]. There may be more than one user using a cloud storage service, and the current responsibility of one user would not affect the task of another since it is all is managed and automated by the cloud vendor[37].

If your files are already in the cloud, you don’t need to upload them to a file transfer service or even send an email and you can just find the file in your cloud account and hit “share[38].” Usually, you’ll get a link that you can paste wherever you want, and the recipient will be able to download or view your file and you do not require any expert or technical knowledge to use the cloud storage service as all the heavy lifting is managed by the vendor itself[39].

Cloud storage allows IT to quickly deliver the exact amount of storage needed, right when it’s needed which allows IT to focus on solving complex application problems instead of having to manage storage systems[40].

Cloud encryption

Cloud encryption is the process of encoding or transforming data before it’s transferred to cloud storage[41]. Encryption uses mathematical algorithms to transform data (plaintext), may it be a text, file, code or image, to an unreadable form (ciphertext) that can conceal it from unauthorised and malicious users[42]. It is the simplest and most vital way to make sure that cloud data can’t be breached, stolen and read by someone with an anomalous motive[43]. Cloud encryption is meant to protect data as it moves to and from cloud-based applications, as well as when it is stored on the cloud network[44].

Benefits of cloud encryption

Security

The key benefit of cloud encryption is the same as in any application of encryption: encrypted data is only readable for authorised parties with access to the decryption keys[45]. Encrypting data ensures that even if that data falls into the wrong hands, it is useless as long as its keys remain secure and this is especially beneficial when data is being stored in the cloud, as it protects data contents if a provider, account, or system is compromised[46].

Typically, data is most weak and prone to vulnerabilities when being transferred from somewhere to somewhere else and encryption ensures security during this process[47]. Encryption offers end-to-end protection of sensitive information, including customer data, while it is in motion or at rest across any device or between users[48]. If your data is kept encrypted at all times, it will be of no value to hackers if they manage to get a hold of it, as they won’t be able to read it[49]. Ransomware and malware attacks can essentially be rendered harmless this way[50].

Compliance of regulations

Encryption protects sensitive data such as the personal information of individual users which enables privacy and anonymity, alleviating chances of surveillance by government agencies, criminals and cyber attackers[51]. Data privacy and protection regulations and standards such as GDPR, CCPA, FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) and HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) require organisations to encrypt all sensitive customer data[52]. Thus, to comply with these regulations you must ensure that certain types of information, like sensitive personal or business information, are protected at all times. If you encrypt this type of data, then you will be able to safeguard it from data leaks and pass your compliance audits as well[53]. The cost of breaches continues to escalate: The average cost to an organisation for a data breach was $5.5 million in 2012[54]. Therefore, deploying encryption and robust key management could save you millions of dollars or pounds in the event of a breach[55]. In select cases, organisations may be exempt from disclosing a data breach if the data was encrypted, which significantly reduces the risk of both reputational harm and lawsuits or other legal action associated with a security event[56]. Cloud encryption allows companies to be proactive in their defence against data breaches and cyberattacks and has become a necessity in today’s data-driven world[57].

Integrity of data

 While encrypted data can be altered or manipulated by malicious actors, such activity is relatively easy to detect by authorised users[58]. Hackers also benefit from altering information to commit fraud, not just from stealing data and it is possible for these hackers to change and modify encoded data[59]. However, receivers of the information can identify if it is corrupted, allowing for an immediate response and solution to the attack[60].

A competitive edge

Encryption and key management software, designed specifically for virtualized environments, can help you significantly improve your security posture, attract new customers and expand your business with existing clients[61]. This allows you to:

  • Gain competitive advantage and differentiation
  • Expand revenue potential to customers with sensitive or regulated data
  • Protect customer data against access by unauthorised users
  • Satisfy data residency and privacy requirements
  • Reduce hardware costs through cryptographic multi-tenancy
  • Assure customers that they can de-provision securely without leaving data behind[62].

Importance of cloud storage and encryption for law firms

In 2013, the FBI stated that “the vulnerability of American law firms to online attacks is a particular concern to law enforcement agencies because the firms are a rich repository of corporate secrets, business strategies and intellectual property[63].”Since clients entrust lawyers with so much of their sensitive data, law firms make prime targets for cyber crime[64]. According to the 2019 ABA Cybersecurity Tech Report, 26% of law firms experienced a form of data breach[65]. Legal professionals and law firms face regulations that require them to handle confidential data in a secure and compliant way[66]. As clients trust law firms with their most confidential information, data security should be a top priority for any practice[67]. Additionally, their clients are demanding increasing levels of security but traditional ways of sharing files over email, or accessing documents via FTP and VPN all have security flaws[68]. For law firms, in particular, cloud computing risks are a hot topic among law societies and regulatory committees[69]. Additionally, the cloud frees up the time of lawyers, so instead of spending time troubleshooting virtual private network (VPN) issues, lawyers can tackle your firm’s greater informational technology needs[70]. The main concerns are how cloud computing protects confidentiality, maintains ethics and communicates the supervision of data[71].

Thus, law firms need to use reliable software. Good Law Software provides cloud storage and encryption and assures data protection, security and ease for law firms.

case management software, practice management software, legal accounting software, legaltech, technology for lawyers, case management, immigration, london, united kingdom

References

[1] M Corrales, M Fenwick and N Forgó, New Technology, Big Data and the Law (Springer Singapore 2017) <https://books.google.nl/books?id=aBo0DwAAQBAJ>.

[2] M Corrales, M Fenwick and N Forgó, New Technology, Big Data and the Law (Springer Singapore 2017) <https://books.google.nl/books?id=aBo0DwAAQBAJ>.

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-storage/

[6] https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-storage/

[7] https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-storage/

[8] https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-storage/

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_storage

[10] https://tresorit.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[11] https://tresorit.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[12] https://www.promax.com/blog/10-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage

[13] https://tresorit.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[14] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[15] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[16] https://backupeverything.co.uk/what-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[17] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[18] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[19] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[20] https://backupeverything.co.uk/what-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[21] https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-storage/

[22] https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-storage/

[23] https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-storage/

[24] https://www.promax.com/blog/10-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage

[25] https://www.promax.com/blog/10-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage

[26] https://tresorit.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[27] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[28] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[29] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[30] https://tresorit.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[31] https://tresorit.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[32] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[33] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[34] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[35] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[36] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[37] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-cloud-storage/

[38] https://www.cloudwards.net/the-risks-and-benefits-of-cloud-storage/

[39] https://www.cloudwards.net/the-risks-and-benefits-of-cloud-storage/

[40] https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-storage/

[41] https://blog.rsisecurity.com/what-is-cloud-encryption/

[42] https://blog.rsisecurity.com/what-is-cloud-encryption/

[43] https://blog.rsisecurity.com/what-is-cloud-encryption/

[44] https://www.crowdstrike.com/cybersecurity-101/cloud-security/cloud-encryption/

[45] https://digitalguardian.com/blog/what-cloud-encryption

[46] https://digitalguardian.com/blog/what-cloud-encryption

[47] https://blog.rsisecurity.com/what-is-cloud-encryption/

[48] https://www.crowdstrike.com/cybersecurity-101/cloud-security/cloud-encryption/

[49] https://tresorit.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[50] https://tresorit.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[51] https://blog.rsisecurity.com/what-is-cloud-encryption/

[52] https://www.crowdstrike.com/cybersecurity-101/cloud-security/cloud-encryption/

[53] https://tresorit.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/

[54] https://www.networkworld.com/article/2165740/encryption-as-an-enabler–the-top-10-benefits.html

[55] Ibid

[56] https://www.crowdstrike.com/cybersecurity-101/cloud-security/cloud-encryption/

[57] https://digitalguardian.com/blog/what-cloud-encryption

[58] https://www.crowdstrike.com/cybersecurity-101/cloud-security/cloud-encryption/

[59] https://blog.rsisecurity.com/what-is-cloud-encryption/

[60] https://blog.rsisecurity.com/what-is-cloud-encryption/

[61] https://www.networkworld.com/article/2165740/encryption-as-an-enabler–the-top-10-benefits.html

[62] https://www.networkworld.com/article/2165740/encryption-as-an-enabler–the-top-10-benefits.html

[63] https://www.archive360.com/blog/is-cloud-storage-safe-enough-for-legal-data

[64] https://www.clio.com/blog/data-security-law-firms/

[65] https://www.clio.com/blog/data-security-law-firms/

[66] https://tresorit.com/business/secure-cloud-storage-for-lawyers

[67] https://www.clio.com/blog/data-security-law-firms/

[68] https://tresorit.com/business/secure-cloud-storage-for-lawyers

[69] https://nordic-backup.com/blog/cloud-computing-risks-and-benefits-for-law-firms/

[70] https://www.clio.com/blog/cloud-law-firm-it-professionals/

[71] https://nordic-backup.com/blog/cloud-computing-risks-and-benefits-for-law-firms/